What is cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome?
Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome or CHS is a medical condition where the patient suffers from repeated and severe vomiting. This condition is most commonly associated with cannabis use, and is considered as one of the negative side effects of the substance.
CHS is categorized as cyclic vomiting that results from high doses of cannabis. Marijuana has a lot of chemical substances that affect the digestive tract of the user and can change the amount of time the stomach needs to empty. Long term use of cannabis or marijuana can change the way your body responds to these chemicals, and this may lead to CHS.
In a lot of cases, Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome cannot be recognized. Most of the patients are simply diagnosed with intractable nausea and vomiting. With the complicated issue of the legality of marijuana use, CHS has become harder to recognize and diagnose because patients choose to lie about their use or simply pretend they don’t use it at all. This prevents any medical practitioner from diagnosing.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the states. With a large number of users, only a small portion develops CHS. It mostly happens to people who are reliant on the drug and have been using it regularly for a few years.
Symptoms of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome
Those who suffer from CHS experience cyclic vomiting, but in between those occurrences, there aren’t any other symptoms. Through different cases, doctors have recognized 3 stages of CHS: Prodromal, Hyperemetic, and Recovery. Here is what you can expect from symptoms and how long Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome symptoms lasts.
Prodromal Phase: People going through this phase will experience nausea and vomiting early in the morning. In some cases, they also experience abdominal pain. Some people may not recognize this as a serious condition and go on with their normal eating pattern and marijuana intake. This phase may go on for several months or even years.
Hyperemetic Phase: People going through this phase still experience nausea and vomiting, but it has become more intense and persistent. At this stage, people will typically seek help from a professional and will do everything they can to seek relief.
Symptoms during this stage may include:
- Repeated vomiting
- Decreased food intake
- Weight loss
Recovery Phase: This phase can last for several months, in which the patient will start to feel better and return to their normal eating patterns.
How is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome Diagnosed?
Since there are a lot of medical problems that may cause vomiting and nausea, any healthcare worker will have to ask about your condition and past health issues. They will have to do physical exams in order to know what to diagnose you with.
Based on the symptoms you are experiencing, these are the possible tests you will undergo:
- Blood tests to check for anemia and other infections
- Pregnancy tests
- Urine analysis to test for urinary infections
- Drug tests to check for any drug-related causes
- Head CT scan, and
- Abdominal CT scan
CHS is a rare occurrence, and some medical practitioners may not spot it right away. You need to be upfront about your marijuana use in order to be provided with the right CHS treatment.
Treatment for Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome
CHS treatments are currently more focused on the repeated use of cannabis and withdrawal. Withdrawal from marijuana or cannabis can lead to increased side effects from the substance. That’s why treatments are more focused on the aftermath of the withdrawal.
Some of the treatments include:
- IV fluid replacement to aid dehydration
- Hot showers
- Medicines to minimize the amount of vomiting
- Medicines to decrease the pain
It is common to experience intense craving during withdrawal. Any patient will need critical attention and care to make sure that they do not relapse in order for them to get better.
If you want to get better and fully recover, you have to commit and invest in a CHS treatment. Consistency is important because recovery can last for several months, and you need to be patient and determined to get better.
In order to completely recover, the patient must quit using marijuana indefinitely. This may be hard for most people especially if they have grown to be reliant on the substance, but there are rehabilitation centers that focus on substance abuse and recovery.
Haven House, a recovery center near Clarksville, focuses on bringing patients back to their normal lives. Struggling with substance abuse and addiction can be a lot for anyone to experience, but we are here to help. If you know someone who is struggling with Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome or any type of drug addiction, don’t hesitate to contact us. We offer advanced and compassionate treatment for all types of addiction. We have programs to help and guide anyone going through the process of withdrawal and detox.