The truth about cannabis hyperemesis syndrome

A new small study conducted in Massachusetts in the United States, has identified an increase in cases of Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome. Their conclusion is that in the post legalization era of cannabis in Massachusetts, this notable increase makes important reading for those involved in the development of drug and health policy.

At Cultivated Zen, we believe in the power of plant medicine and its potential to guide us towards spiritual enlightenment and optimal health. However, it’s essential to understand that every plant has its unique properties, benefits, and potential side effects.

As the use of medical cannabis in the UK increases, it’s important to know – what is Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS)?

Smoking cannabis may cause cannabis hyperemesis syndrome

Understanding Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS)

CHS is a condition that can occur in long-term users of cannabis, and involves people having episodes of debilitating nausea and vomiting. It was reported for the first time in 2004, and since then, an increasing number of cases have been reported.

Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome is a paradoxical syndrome, meaning it presents symptoms that seem to go against what we might expect. For example. cannabis is often used to alleviate nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients, but with CHS, it’s the cause of nausea.

Early recognition of CHS is essential to prevent the complications that can occur when you lose lots of water throufgh vomiting.

Large cannabis plant

What did the latest study on Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) say?

The study by Tufts Medical Center on the impact of regular cannabis use on hospitalizations and costs found:

  1. Increase in CHS Cases: The study found that hospitalizations for CHS and the associated costs increased following the legalization of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts in 2016. The study analyzed all admissions to the Medical Center between 2012 and 2021, focusing on patients diagnosed with cannabis abuse or dependence who were admitted to the hospital with vomiting.
  2. Number of People Affected: Researchers identified around 10,000 patients who had a diagnosis of cannabis use or dependence. About 500 of these patients were admitted to the hospital with vomiting. However, the study only analyzed 72 of these patients to ensure that the vomiting was caused by CHS and not something else.
  3. Link to Cannabis Legalization: The study suggests that the legalization may have influenced the way people use cannabis, potentially affecting their susceptibility to CHS.
  4. Future Research and Policy Implications: The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Sushrut Jangi, plans to follow up with a statewide study and discuss the findings with regulators. He emphasizes the need for policymakers to be aware of the potential public health risks of cannabis and the associated costs to hospitals.
Cured cannabis bud

Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) Deaths

There are some very upsetting accounts of deaths, which have been attributed to the dehydration caused by constant vomiting, and deemed to have been caused by CHS.

The amount of deaths reported is low, but it’s important to remember that it is considered as a variant of cyclical vomiting syndrome (CVS), and so may not always be properly diagnosed. It’s possible that some people will just be mild cannabis users, but encounter intense vomiting for other reasons, and so understanding cause and effect is challenging.

Patients with CHS are often mislabeled as having CVS and vice versa.

Wider Research on Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS)

Recent research has been shedding light on this relatively new condition, and recognizes that patients with CHS impose a burden on the healthcare systems. To us, this is quite a callous conclusion, and the importance of this new research should be its ability to help all humanity to understand the risks of using cannabis.

The god plant has done so much for us, but we need to mindful of its use.

The exact cause of CHS is still under investigation, but it’s thought to be related to the function of the cannabinoid receptors in the body. These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating a variety of physiological processes, including pain sensation, mood, and memory.

Understanding the physiology of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) remains central in explaining the clinical features and potential drug targets for the treatment of CHS.

Research will need to uncover the frequency and prevalence of CHS change in accordance with the doses of THC and other cannabinoids in various formulations of cannabis.

Several studies have identified that patients with CHS engage in continuous hot water bathing. It’s not known if this a psychological symptom caused directly by the condition, or just learned behaviour when sufferers are seeking some kind of relief.

Cannabis farm growing

Another study performed a literature review to undertstand how CVS and CHS are linked. They asserted that the only way to really currently know if someone experiencing these symptoms has CHS, is to stop consuming cannabis. If the problems stop, then it is more likely to be CHS.

Their view was that long-term follow-up with patients to understand cause and affect is essential in order to clearly separate CHS from CVS. However, long-term follow-up of CVS and CHS cases is seldom.

The Path to Recovery from Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS)

An NCBI Study on the condition stated that he recovery phase can last for days, weeks, or months and is associated with relative wellness and normal eating patterns. Weight is regained and bathing returns to regular frequency.

Some people who suffer from CHS have reported that they find some relief by taking hot showers or baths, but the only known potential remedy for CHS is to stop using cannabis.

While this may be a challenging path for some, it’s a necessary journey towards healing.

Remember, the essence of Zen is balance. Overindulgence in any substance can lead to imbalance and disharmony in our bodies and minds.

Cannabis plant

Prevention and Mindful Use for Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS)

Prevention is always better than cure.

If you choose to use cannabis as part of your spiritual or wellness journey, do so mindfully. Pay attention to your body and its reactions. If you notice any symptoms of CHS, such as recurrent nausea and vomiting, it may be time to reassess your relationship with cannabis.

We’re also big fans of vaping cannabis at Cultivated Zen. As a legal medical user, my doctor instructs me to use a vaporiser, which definitely means I have lower doses of THC compared to a smoker.

Zen word on CHS

Understanding conditions like Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome helps us make better choices for our health and spiritual journey.

Remember, the path to enlightenment is not about excess, but about finding balance and harmony within ourselves and with the world around us.

Please remember: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. If you’re experiencing symptoms of Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome, please seek professional medical help.

Stay tuned for more insights into the world of plant medicine and spiritual enlightenment.

Until then, cultivate your Zen, and nurture your journey towards balance and wellness.


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