Diagnosis of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis

Many health problems can cause repeated vomiting. To make a diagnosis, your healthcare provider will ask you about your symptoms and your past health. He or she will also do a physical exam, including an exam of your belly.

Your healthcare provider may also need more tests to rule out other causes of the vomiting. That’s especially the case for ones that may signal a health emergency. Based on your other symptoms, these tests might include:

  • Blood tests for anemia and infection
  • Tests for electrolytes
  • Tests for pancreas and liver enzymes, to check these organs
  • Pregnancy test
  • Urine analysis, to test for infection or other urinary causes
  • Drug screen, to test for drug-related causes of vomiting
  • X-rays of the belly, to check for things such as a blockage
  • Upper endoscopy, to view the stomach and esophagus for possible causes of vomiting
  • Head CT scan, if a nervous system cause of vomiting seems likely
  • Abdominal CT scan, to check for health problems that might need surgery

CHS was only recently discovered, so some healthcare providers may not know about it. As a result, they may not spot it for many years. They often confuse CHS with cyclical vomiting disorder, which is a health problem that causes similar symptoms. A specialist trained in diseases of the digestive tract (gastroenterologist) might make the diagnosis.

You may have CHS if you have all of these: 

  • Long-term weekly and daily marijuana use
  • Belly pain
  • Severe, repeated nausea and vomiting
  • You feel better after taking a hot shower

There is no single test that confirms this diagnosis. Only improvement after quitting marijuana confirms the diagnosis.

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