Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) causes severe, frequent bouts of vomiting among people who are daily marijuana users. It is cannabinoid toxicity.
People develop this health condition as a result of consuming marijuana over a long-term basis. It can be due to the consumption of the drug in any way, including via eating or smoking.
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome shares many of the same symptoms of cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS). A skilled gastroenterologist will be able to distinguish the cause of the patient’s vomiting issues.
Causes of CHS
The cannabinoid THC binds to receptors in both the brain and the digestive tract, but they have opposite reactions to the drug. In the brain, THC can help to curtail nausea, especially in people who are having chemotherapy treatment. However, THC actually appears to have the opposite effect in the digestive tract, causing nausea and vomiting.
Therefore, it is believed that initial users of the drug experience the more beneficial results from the signals from the brain – controlling nausea and vomiting – but increased use and heavier doses negatively impact the digestive system. The sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach doesn’t work properly, and the stomach empties at disruptive intervals.
Stages of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome
This condition is generally dissected into three distinct stages. The prodromal phase is indicated by morning abdominal pain, nausea, and oftentimes a fear of vomiting. Many marijuana users in this phase will consume more of the drug in an attempt to allay these symptoms, but this continuation will actually worsen the symptoms.
The second stage is the hyperemetic phase. This causes persistent nausea, even more vomiting than during the prodromal phase, and weight loss. This can cause harmful dehydration, and medical treatment is often sought during this phase – at which point the patient may be motivated to follow the doctor’s advice and stop using marijuana altogether in order to stop the debilitating symptoms.
Lastly, there is the recovery phase, when the patient has stopped consuming marijuana in an effort to halt the symptoms. The body is usually able to fully recover during this phase, but the cycle begins again if the patient decides to resume the consumption of marijuana.
Stomach Relief in Greater Cleveland
CHS was only recently identified as a health condition, as was cyclic vomiting syndrome. Many doctors and other health care professionals tend to confuse the two conditions (or may not have heard of either) because they are so similar.
The way in which a physician will be able to accurately diagnose CHS is if the patient experiences an improvement after stopping their use of marijuana. Therefore, it is important to be open and honest with your doctor. The physician will likely conduct a blood test, urinalysis, endoscopy, X-ray, CT scan, or measurement of electrolyte levels in the body.
If you have gastrointestinal problems, stomach-area pain, nausea, or vomiting, contact our experienced medical team at North Shore Gastroenterology & Endoscopy Centers. Call us today at (440) 808-1212 or request an appointment online, and let us help you recover from your digestive issues once and for all!