Cannabinoid hyperemesis: what is it and what are its symptoms?

Excessive use of marijuana or cannabis causes multiple systemic conditions in people. Unfortunately there are little known repercussions, such as cannabinoid hyperemesis, which are very uncomfortable for those who suffer from it.

Cannabinoid hyperemesis is a syndrome observed in chronic marijuana users. Some professionals They define it as recurrent episodes of vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain that are relieved by hot water baths. Furthermore, the symptoms are characterized by disappearance when consumption ceases.

Stages of cannabinoid hyperemesis

Experts say that the syndrome in question is divided into 3 main stages, which have very marked differences between them. They are the prodromal, hyperemesis and recovery phases.

1. Prodromal phase

This is the initial stage of the condition, therefore clinical manifestations are mild and do not limit daily activities. The prodromal phase is characterized by the presence of morning sickness and abdominal pain.

The patient can remain in this stage for many months or years without receiving an accurate diagnosis. The delay is due to the fact that people do not admit to using marijuana and the symptoms are associated with other conditions.

On the other hand, one of the best known medical applications of marijuana is the reduction of nausea and vomitingas well as chronic pain relief. This fact causes people to increase the use of cannabis to improve symptoms, which accelerates the progress of the disorder.

2. Phase of hyperemesis

This phase is characterized by the presence of clear clinical symptoms. Vomiting and abdominal pain suddenly worsenand can even incapacitate people. Symptoms are cyclical and last between 24 and 48 hours.

The syndrome improves after taking baths with warm water. In this sense, people feel a strong need to take constant showers.

Warm water bath for cannabinoid hyperemesis.
Hot showers improve symptoms, so patients use them frequently.

3. Recovery phase

The main feature of this stage is the disappearance of symptoms. Those affected greatly reduce the frequency of daily baths, returning to regular showers. Moreover, vomiting and abdominal discomfort disappear completely.

The duration of this phase is highly variable, from months to years. However, it must be emphasized that people can relapse if they use cannabis again.

Symptoms of cannabinoid hyperemesis

The main symptoms of cannabinoid hyperemesis are vomiting and abdominal discomfort.. The intensity of the signs will depend on what stage the disease is in.

On the other hand, people may also exhibit the following:

  • Constant and intense nausea.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Unintentional weight loss.
  • increased heart rate.

Most of these symptoms last the same time as the hyperemesis phase, i.e. between 1 and 2 days. However, the duration may be longer if consistent marijuana use continues.

Possible complications

The main complication of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is dehydration. Constant vomiting causes a significant loss of fluids and electrolyteswhich causes various systemic manifestations.

The loss of water and electrolytes causes the body to be out of natural balance. Thus, the following complications can occur:

  • Involuntary muscle contractions.
  • Convulsions.
  • general weakness
  • shock.
  • severe arrhythmias.
  • Kidney failure.

Causes of cannabinoid hyperemesis

Unfortunately, the precise cause of cannabinoid hyperemesis has not yet been established. It’s important to note that this is a syndrome discovered in 2004, so more research is needed.

Some Education They establish several theories that may explain why the disease occurs. All of these theories involve the interaction of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other active ingredients with receptors in the gastrointestinal system.

One of the most accepted theories states that THC interacts with the CB1 receptor. The constant interaction generates changes in the digestive tract and causes the appearance of the syndrome. However, genetics must play a major role, as not all consumers develop the disease.


Diagnosing cannabinoid hyperemesis is a real challenge for specialists. People often hide that they use marijuana on a recurring basiswhich makes an accurate and timely approximation impossible.

Lab tests aren’t helpful in identifying the condition, so doctors usually rely on the clinic and a history of use. Nowadays, criteria have been established that facilitate the identification of the alteration, among which the following stand out:

  • Frequent use of marijuana for more than 1 year.
  • Cyclic nausea and vomiting after consumption.
  • Compulsive hot baths that relieve vomiting.
  • Disappearance of symptoms when cannabis is not used.

Young people under 50 are most affected by this condition.Therefore, age must also be taken into consideration. Cannabinoid hyperemesis can be confused with cyclic vomiting syndrome and other similar disorders. In this way, the history of marijuana use allows for the differential diagnosis.

Cannabis for consumption.
The use of cannabis is the indicative data that can guide the diagnosis in case of doubt.

Treatment and prevention of cannabinoid hyperemesis

Treatment of cannabinoid hyperemesis during the vomiting phase consists of relieve symptoms and prevent dehydration. People should consume plenty of fluids to avoid complications. Additionally, the use of antiemetics can decrease the intensity.

Hospitalization will be necessary in severe cases or when there are multiple complications. However, the definitive treatment is to stop using marijuana. Symptoms disappear after 1 or 2 days after ceasing consumption.

The real problem is that marijuana is addictive, so it can be very difficult to give up the substance. This way people tend to consume again, so the symptoms reappear immediately.

Prevention of cannabinoid hyperemesis is similar to definitive treatment. People need to stop using marijuana to avoid relapse. However, symptoms can return abruptly when you come into contact with the substance.

A recent and underdiagnosed disease

Cannabinoid hyperemesis is a characteristic condition of many chronic marijuana users. The active ingredients of this plant alter the functioning of the digestive systemgenerating the appearance of vomiting and intense abdominal pain.

Unfortunately, it is a poorly understood syndrome with very general symptoms, so it can be confused with other conditions. Therefore, the disease is underdiagnosed in most cases. The ideal is to go to the doctor in the presence of characteristic symptoms and not withhold information from healthcare personnel.

Post Cannabinoid Hyperemesis: what is it and what are its symptoms? first appeared on research-school



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