Symptoms of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Symptoms of CHS appear differently per person and usually occur 24 – 48 hours after cannabis consumption. People with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) experience a variety of symptoms including but not limited to: acid reflux, sweating, chills, burping, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, and persistent nausea, that can lead to frequent and repetitive vomiting and weight loss. Repetitive vomiting can lead to severe dehydration, which can lead to organ failure.

Those living with CHS may go weeks, months, or even years in-between experiencing symptoms.

Healthcare providers often divide these symptoms into 3 stages: the prodromal phase, the hyperemetic phase, and the recovery phase.

Prodromal phase. During this phase, the main symptoms are often early morning nausea and belly (abdominal) pain. Some people also develop a fear of vomiting. Most people keep normal eating patterns during this time. Some people use more marijuana because they think it will help stop the nausea. This phase may last for months or years.

Hyperemetic phase. Symptoms during this time may include:

  • Ongoing nausea
  • Repeated episodes of vomiting
  • Belly pain
  • Decreased food intake and weight loss
  • Symptoms of fluid loss (dehydration)

During this phase, vomiting is often intense and overwhelming. Many people take a lot of hot showers during the day. They find that doing so eases their nausea. (That may be because of how the hot temperature affects a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. This part of the brain effects both temperature regulation and vomiting.) People often first seek medical care during this phase. The hyperemetic phase may continue until the person completely stops using marijuana. Then the recovery phrase starts. 

Recovery phase. During this time, symptoms go away. Normal eating is possible again. This phase can last days or months. Symptoms often come back if the person tries marijuana again.

*Information from Cedars Sinai

How long do symptoms of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis last?

Once a person ceases cannabis use, symptoms can continue for days, weeks, or even months. It is important to avoid CBD, THC, and alcohol while in recovery. Symptoms may reappear due to stress, cannabis consumption, consumption of foods that have cannabinoids (black pepper, coffee, chocolate, etc).

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