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Let’s Talk about Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

OPINION: The more I reveal my situation to other cannabis consumers, the more I realize most stoners have the same thing.
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The more I reveal my situation to other cannabis consumers, the more I realize most stoners have the same thing

The heave of a sore stomach and the splat of foamy, green sludge is how I start most of my days.

Throughout the last year, morning puking became an unwanted habit I couldn’t avoid. I dismissed nausea and vomiting as another anxiety symptom, but I soon discovered the near-daily episodes I had were caused by something unsuspecting.

Chances are if you’re a consistent consumer of cannabis, you’ve developed an intolerance to the drug that so many claim heals all.

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is a condition that entails constant vomiting brought on by long-term cannabis use. There are multiple phases of CHS in which symptoms may intensify, if preventative measures aren’t taken.

The first phase is called the prodromal phase, which can last from months to years depending on the frequency of your cannabis use. In this first, neutral phase people with CHS experience nausea and occasional vomiting.

Before discovering what CHS was I thought I could remedy my nausea by self-medicating with marijuana, but doing so undoubtedly increased my intolerance to the drug.

“I stopped eating breakfast because I could never keep anything down and lunches disappeared as I was too busy with classes to have time to eat.”

The second phase is called the hyperemetic phase. It’s reached when users continue to treat their symptoms with more marijuana use. Some people with CHS often find relief from their symptoms by taking hot showers.

In my experience with this phase, my morning nausea trailed throughout the day which led me to alter my eating habits to avoid the chance of puking.

Due to my new eating schedule, I noticed changes in my weight. I stopped eating breakfast because I could never keep anything down and lunches disappeared as I was too busy with classes to have time to eat. However, I felt ravenous by dinnertime. Which, understandably, is not the best way to maintain a healthy body.

Within the second phase of CHS, symptoms do not dissipate if actions aren’t taken. This phase can last years if one doesn’t decrease cannabis use or completely drop the drug. According to a report on cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome by Ceadars-Sinai, only after a CHS sufferer ends their use of cannabis will they experience relief from all symptoms.

This isn’t a plea for those who smoke to stop, nor am I advocating for the use of marijuana. I want to warn you that a plant that seems beneficial to numerous health issues can still cause damage to your body, especially if used daily for years.

CHS and its symptoms aside, you can definitely be allergic to cannabis, and you can get sick from it depending on its quality. No matter the quality of your cannabis or if you think you aren’t allergic, CHS can still be in your near future if you aren’t mindful of your habits.

The more I reveal my situation to other cannabis consumers, the more I realize most self-labeled stoners are dealing with CHS too.

While nausea and vomiting can be symptoms of several other conditions, CHS can be diagnosed through the process of elimination of other conditions and through testings suggested by your physician.

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6 Comments

  1. Emily Emily Thursday, September 5, 2019

    Quite an nformative article and very well written.

  2. WilliamsRDan WilliamsRDan Wednesday, September 11, 2019

    Yeah, I end up hacking or vomiting most mornings. I was thinking it was more related to alcohol in addition to the cannabis. I have non-epileptic seizures that cause major convulsions, and even partial paralysis. Cannabis has been the only thing that has helped my seizures. I’m trying to find non-smoked ways to use it, but many oils are coconut-based, which I’m allergic to…. And CBD alone doesn’t stop my seizures. It’s definitely a challenge to keep a steady variety of strains that are beneficial.

    • dave dave Tuesday, September 17, 2019

      You should consult a doctor ASAP, and try to stop using alcohol and all forms of marijuana products. Seizures, convulsions and paralysis are very serious symptoms that require immediate medical evaluation. Stop all self-medicating and report to a real doctor ASAP. Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome goes away completely when people stop using all marijuana products. Hacking and vomiting every day is not normal. Get professional help.

  3. Delphine Musqua-Keller Delphine Musqua-Keller Thursday, October 28, 2021

    That doesn’t sound like CHS at all…..my mom has it and the phases happen much faster and more intense…there is no way my mom can function in her hyperemetic phase. It is uncontrollable vomiting like non stop for days usually ending in a hospital stay then in recovery she always starts smoking again and she’ll be fine for months at a time still smoking weed no nausea at all ect. Then something idk what triggers it and bam full on exorcist vomiting for days. There’s no way she could ever go to school or work in that condition. And the frequent hot baths and showers you barley touched on that huge almost sounds like it’s not CHS you had

  4. Gabby Gabby Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    If anyone who has had this reads this, I’d love to talk to them. I’m currently in the recovery and middle stage still and would really like some more information. I have yet to be able to eat from vomiting so much, 2 er visits, and my smell has increased to where I can smell certain foods.

    • Jessica Jessica Tuesday, February 1, 2022

      Hi, Gabby! I’ve been diagnosed with CHS and am currently in the recovery stage (although I just accidentally ate a trigger food and set myself back). I’ve been dealing with it for about three months now and I’ve learned sooooo much in that time, I’ve got tons of resources I could share. I’d love to talk about it with you! Feel email me at jessicawut@gmail.com

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