Cannabis-hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), also known as a chronic form of “Greening Out,” is a newly recognized syndrome that can occur in frequent heavy cannabis users.
It is characterized by severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, and can lead to dehydration and weight loss. It is not well understood by the medical community, but is becoming more recognized as states legalize cannabis for recreational and medicinal use.
The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) has recognized CHS as a real syndrome and has published guidelines for physicians to diagnose and manage it. But there is still a lot of confusion and misunderstanding surrounding CHS, and it is important to be aware of the syndrome and its symptoms in case you or someone you know is experiencing it.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what CHS is, the symptoms and potential causes, and how it can be managed.
What does “Greening Out” mean?
To “green out” in relation to cannabis is a colloquial term that refers to the negative effects that some people experience after consuming too much cannabis.
The term “green out” can be kind of a way to say someone’s body is checking out from smoking too much green!
The term also is associated with people turning a pale green while they’re sick, but… that might be an exaggeration.
When it come to the effects of greening out, however, this usually comes in the form of feeling ill or uncomfortable due to excessive cannabis consumption.
The symptoms of a “green out” can include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and a feeling of being overwhelmed or disoriented. These symptoms are usually temporary and will resolve on their own, but it is important to remember to use cannabis responsibly and to avoid consuming more than your body can handle.
You definitely don’t want to green out, man.
What is Cannabis-Hyperemesis Syndrome?
While daunting to many, Cannabis-hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is a fairly rare condition that occurs primarily in chronic cannabis users.
Think of CHS as a long term version of greening out. Instead of just feeling sick for a couple hours, greening out becomes a regular issue that impacts your everyday life. Doesn’t sound fun!
Much like greening out, CHS is characterized by frequent episodes of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Interesting enough, these symptoms are also usually accompanied by compulsive bathing, which is thought to be a coping mechanism to relieve the abdominal discomfort caused by the syndrome.
What Causes Cannabis-Hyperemesis Syndrome?
CHS typically occurs in individuals who have used cannabis daily for more than one year.
It is not completely understood why some people develop CHS, but some proposed biological causes of CHS include changes in the endocannabinoid system, alterations in the gut microbiome, and genetic factors.
More research is needed to fully understand the underlying biological mechanisms of CHS.
Can I Get CHS from Delta-8?
While you can definitely green out from cannabinoids like Delta-8 THC, among other minor ‘noids, the research behind developing CHS from these alt cannabinoids is scarce.
Due to the similarity of effects between Delta-8 Flower and regular cannabis, we can presume it’s not a far fetched idea that you can develop CHS from Delta-8.
Symptoms of Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome
While more research needs to be done, the symptoms of Cannabis-hyperemesis syndrome are typically characterized by repeated episodes of nausea and vomiting in chronic cannabis users. The most common symptoms are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and loss of appetite.
However, these are only part of the complications that arise when experiencing CHS.
Over long periods of time, these symptoms can cause dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and kidney damage if left untreated. Other symptoms can include fever, chills, and sweating.
In some cases, the symptoms can be so severe that hospitalization is required to provide supportive care and treatment.
Is there anyway to minimize risk?
As you can imagine, living with CHS can be tolling. Who wants to green out on a regular basis?
We’re sure no one does.
However, as we all love cannabinoids here, prevention is going to be the best measure when it comes to mitigating the risk of developing CHS.
Again, as the cause is still largely unknown, the key thing that we know is the correlation to cannabis use.
That said, your best bet to minimize risk is to always consider the following:
- The type of Cannabis/Cannabinoids you smoke/consume
- The frequency of use
- The amount of cannabis consumed
For example, the most potent strains of cannabis are likely to create a higher risk for developing this condition, considering you’re introducing more cannabinoids to your ECS.
Additionally, people who are frequent cannabis users, or consume large quantities of cannabis in one sitting, are also at a higher risk of experiencing this syndrome.
Just try to moderate how much of any particular cannabinoid you’re forcing your body to metabolize.
When it comes to prevention outside of cannabis moderation, individuals should stay hydrated, avoid consuming cannabis on an empty stomach, and increase their intake of fiber-rich foods.
Best Ways to Treat CHS
Treatment for cannabis-hyperemesis syndrome typically involves the use of medications such as antiemetics, antispasmodics, and antidiarrheal agents.
However, in severe cases, patients may require intravenous fluids and even hospitalization.
It is important to note, also, that the only known effective treatment is complete stoppage of cannabis use. Patients should also be sure to contact a healthcare provider if they experience any of the symptoms of cannabis-hyperemesis syndrome, and look into slowing their cannabis consumption immediately.
In conclusion, cannabis-hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is a rare condition that causes regular users of marijuana to experience episodes of extreme nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The condition is thought to be caused by the over-stimulation of the endocannabinoid system in the body. While the condition is rare and treatable, it’s important to recognize the potential signs of CHS and seek medical attention as soon as possible if symptoms arise. By being aware of the potential risks associated with over-using cannabis, users can better protect their health and safety.