Health Information Marijuana

What is Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome?

It’s not very often you hear about many negative effects of marijuana, unless it’s from those few diehards that are still adamantly anti-pot. There are however, some unexpected consequences that can result from heavy cannabis consumption. One of these is something known as cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS).

Understanding Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome

While a fairly new discovery without a lot of research to back it up, cannabis hyperemesis syndrome is believed to be caused by long-term, heavy cannabis use. It’s distinguished by extreme gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and compulsive bathing.

It was back in 2004 that the first study showed there could be a relationship between heavy cannabis use and the symptoms of CHS. Australian researchers first noticed something about patients experiencing recurring vomiting and gastrointestinal issues. They were heavy cannabis consumers. Out of 10 patients in the study, all 7 who stopped using cannabis experienced their symptoms disappear. The 3 patients who did not stop using cannabis saw no changes in the way they felt.

Other studies that followed showed similar results. Three cases studies in 2009 showed that once people with cannabis hyperemesis syndrome symptoms quit smoking weed, their symptoms disappeared. In 2014, a case study in the UK highlighted a 42-year-old chronic cannabis using male who was CHS symptom-free after 3 months after quitting.

While there aren’t many case reports highlighting CHS, there are a few. And as cannabis consumption becomes more prominent, more people are coming out of the woodworks with similar stories.

Causes and Symptoms of Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome

CHS is only found to occur amongst heavy cannabis smokers who have been using for years. “Heavy cannabis” use in this case would amount to using 3-5 times a day or more. Those who experience CHS will typically experience abdominal pain, morning sickness, and nausea months or years before cyclical vomiting occurs.

As the condition worsens, so do the symptoms. A person with CHS may experience continual vomiting, severe abdominal pain, regular gagging, weight loss, and habitual taking of baths or showers. This is thought to occur because the hot water offsets the nausea and vomiting a person feels.

When people with CHS symptoms stop cannabis consumption, the symptoms disappear. This can happen in a matter of days, but could take weeks or months. The connection remains the same. No weed, no symptoms of CHS.

Not Everyone Believes Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome is a Real Thing

There are those however, that doubt CHS even exists. The same people that did the first study of the condition in 2004, actually criticized what they originally reported just two years later in a 2006 review. They said the study was poorly designed, and the authors also noted the following:

“Cannabis has been consumed for many centuries and is currently used by millions of people in many countries. It is hard to believe that a distinctive syndrome caused by cannabis has never been noted before by users or clinicians.”

Some people believe it could be a reaction to certain chemicals that the plants were grown with. Whatever the case may be, there are people that are puking from consuming too much pot. Whether chemicals or something present in certain individuals, there is undoubtedly more research that needs to be done.

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