Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is a rare and debilitating condition, but it has been making waves in the media lately. What is this mysterious illness? How can you get it? And most importantly, what should you do if you think that you might have CHS? Keep reading to find out!
Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) is a severe form of cannabinoid toxicity that may be caused by long-term, heavy use of cannabis. An unknown mechanism results in cyclic episodes of nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. People diagnosed with CHS often find that hot showers relieve the symptoms temporarily, hence the common name found in media for this condition: “scromiting.” This is a combination of the Latin root word “scream” and the Greek root word suffix “-ing,” meaning to scream.
The mechanism of CHS is not well understood. The condition is most likely caused by heavy, long-term use of cannabis. However, it is still unclear as to whether CHS can be triggered by a single session of excessive ingestion or whether a certain threshold must be reached before symptoms occur. It has been proposed that there may be a correlation between a history of allergies and CHS because antihistamines have been shown to relieve the symptoms.
In addition to an association with long-term cannabis exposure, it has been observed that the onset of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome occurs most frequently in adults 20-30 years of age. Because the syndrome only occurs in adults, it is thought that puberty may be a key factor in triggering cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.
The primary symptom of CHS is cyclic nausea and vomiting, along with abdominal pain. The frequency can last anywhere from months to years between episodes, with an average of months. Although CHS typically occurs in adults, there is the possibility that it could occur in adolescents if they are heavy cannabis users.
Another symptom associated with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is compulsive bathing behavior to relieve nausea and vomiting. Oftentimes, individuals suffering from CHS have reported relief for their symptoms after taking a hot shower or bath. The compulsion to bathe occurs with no other apparent cause.
One explanation for cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is that heavy cannabis use suppresses the endogenous cannabinoid system. When the endogenous cannabinoid system is suppressed, preventing activation of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and peripheral nervous system, gastric secretions are altered, which could create a favorable environment for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria to thrive. H. pylori infection has been shown to be a major cause of gastritis
Gastritis itself can trigger cyclic vomiting because of irritation to the stomach lining and can be caused by many factors, including allergy, infection, food poisoning, autoimmune disorders, medication use (i.e., non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), etc. When gastritis is present in CHS sufferers, stomach acid production increases which may cause stomach contents to move more slowly through the intestines. This also creates a favorable environment for H. pylori growth and infection, worsening symptoms of CHS and creating a cycle of dependence on hot showers for temporary symptom relief.
Because the exact mechanism causing cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is not entirely clear, the best prevention is abstinence from cannabis. It is important to note that cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome can occur after one instance of excessive consumption of cannabis or after years of mild symptomology.
There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, but there are some methods patients have found to be effective in relieving their symptoms. Incorporating regular periods of abstinence from cannabis use has been seen to be the most effective treatment method, along with hot baths or showers. If you need professional help, look out for Marijuana Addiction Treatment in Fort Lauderdale. Other methods used are relaxation techniques such as meditation, pain medications for abdominal pain, appetite stimulants for nausea and cramping, benzodiazepines for anxiety or insomnia due to discomfort, antibiotics if there is a stomach infection, and proton pump inhibitors to prevent gastric acid production. Many privacy rehabilitation in Vero Beach treating cannabis addiction can also be a treatment option.
While the exact cause of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is not well known, it can be debilitating for those who experience it. If you are experiencing nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or compulsive bathing associated with cannabis use, contact your physician immediately.