Similar to other medications, Delta-8 products and cannabis may have side effects despite being promoted as a remedy for various illnesses. Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS), a rare condition characterized by severe vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain, can occur. It is crucial to understand CHS, its causes, and how to alleviate and prevent symptoms.
What Is Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome
Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome, a newly discovered disorder in the mid-2000s, is characterized by intense, recurrent episodes of severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. The symptoms can be so severe that they require emergency room visits. One perplexing aspect of CHS is that taking hot showers or baths can alleviate the symptoms, and they disappear when cannabis use is stopped but reappear upon resuming its use.
How Common Is Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome
Although considered a rare condition, the exact prevalence of Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome is unknown and varies across different studies. While some estimate it affects around 2-3% of regular cannabis users, others suggest the number could be as high as 10-15% among heavy, chronic cannabis users. Despite ongoing research, the specific cause of CHS remains unknown.
What Causes Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome
While the exact cause of CHS remains unknown, it is believed to be linked to chronic and heavy cannabis use. However, only a small fraction of users develop the condition, leading experts to suspect that genetics may play a role. The overactivation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by cannabinoids is considered a potential cause of CHS. This excessive stimulation of the ECS can lead to its dysfunction, resulting in an inability to regulate nausea and vomiting.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome
Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) symptoms consist of recurring episodes of severe nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, alongside decreased appetite, weight loss, dehydration, and restlessness or anxiety. Hot showers or baths can sometimes relieve the symptoms, but they typically return when the individual resumes cannabis use. CHS is believed to have three stages: the Prodromal, Hyperemetic, and Recovery phases.
The Prodromal Phase of CHS can last anywhere from weeks to years, during which some individuals may use more cannabis to alleviate their symptoms. Symptoms of this phase include morning nausea, fear of vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and a lack of compulsive bathing. Eating patterns remain normal during this stage.
During the Hyperemetic Phase of CHS, symptoms tend to worsen, and medical attention is often sought. These symptoms include intense and persistent nausea, uncontrollable retching and vomiting, food and fluid aversion leading to dehydration, increased abdominal pain, weight loss, and compulsive bathing with hot water.
Following the discontinuation of cannabis use, the Recovery Phase of CHS usually begins and can last for several days to several months. During this phase, individuals typically experience weight gain, an increase in appetite and thirst, and the disappearance of compulsive bathing. However, it’s important to note that the return of CHS symptoms can occur quickly upon resuming cannabis use.
Why Does Heat Seem To Relieve Symptoms
People with CHS often take multiple hot showers and baths daily, as the high temperature provides relief for their symptoms of nausea and vomiting. However, this behavior can quickly become compulsive once established. The therapeutic effect of hot showers on CHS symptoms may be related to changes in the brain caused by THC. Heat can enhance the brain’s ability to regulate nausea and vomiting triggered by hypothermia, which may explain why it alleviates symptoms in individuals with CHS.
Can CBD Treat Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome
Individuals with CHS are warned against using CBD as it may worsen symptoms, as demonstrated in a study. Non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, and CBN are also believed to intensify symptoms.
Can Delta-8 Cause Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome
Delta-8 THC has gained popularity among cannabis enthusiasts due to its ability to produce a psychoactive effect similar to Delta-9 THC (commonly referred to as THC). However, Delta-8 THC is known to produce a milder and cleaner euphoria when compared to Delta-9 THC. While Delta-8 THC is generally considered safe for consumption, its potential to trigger CHS is uncertain but possible. Since Delta-8 THC is derived from THC and interacts with the same receptors as THC, it is plausible that this compound could contribute to the development of CHS. Further research is needed to fully understand the potential risks associated with Delta-8 THC use.
How To Tell If You Have Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome
A prominent symptom of CHS is the inclination to take prolonged hot showers, which can alleviate nausea and vomiting.
If you suspect you may have CHS, it is recommended to consult a physician who may ask further questions to aid in diagnosis. Some of these questions may include the following:
- How long and often do you use cannabis?
- How long have you had symptoms?
- Are symptoms related to specific foods or drinks?
- Are you taking any medications that could be causing the symptoms?
- Are you using illicit drugs?
- Have you noticed unintentional weight loss?
- Are you taking more hot showers or baths than usual?
- Do hot showers and baths relieve symptoms?
Your doctor may also run other tests to rule out any other illnesses.
When To Go To The Emergency Room
The hallmark symptoms of Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome include severe and persistent nausea and vomiting. If you experience any of the following symptoms in addition to vomiting, seek immediate medical attention at your nearest emergency room:
- Rapid breathing and pulse
- Sudden fatigue
- Unexplained drowsiness
- Sudden confusion
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Severe dehydration
- Dark urine or decreased urination
How To Treat Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome
Despite the ineffectiveness of antiemetic medications, some remedies may alleviate CHS symptoms, including capsaicin creams, analgesics for pain control, and intravenous solutions for dehydration. However, complete recovery from CHS requires abstinence from cannabis use. CHS is a chronic health issue, and cannabis consumption can quickly trigger its symptoms, as advised by experts.
Are There Any Lifelong Effects Of CHS
Chronic vomiting, a common symptom of conditions such as cyclic vomiting syndrome and cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, can lead to several health issues. These include tooth decay resulting from stomach acid eroding enamel, dehydration due to decreased fluid intake, and Mallory-Weiss tears from violent coughing, retching, and vomiting. The esophagus can also become inflamed or swollen from stomach acid irritation. Malnutrition is a further risk, as reduced food intake can lead to a lack of essential nutrients. Seeking medical attention for chronic vomiting or related symptoms is essential to address and manage these potential health consequences properly.
Use Cannabis Responsibly
Just like with any medication, cannabis can have adverse side effects. It is essential to listen to your body and seek medical help if you experience symptoms of Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome.