Cannabinoid Hyperemesis: High on the Differential for Intractable Vomiting

July 15, 2010

By Sarah A. Buckley & Nicholas M. Mark

Faculty Peer Reviewed

An 18-year-old male presents complaining of crampy abdominal pain, nausea, and intractable vomiting for the past year. The symptoms are episodic, lasting several weeks and remitting for weeks to months. The patient states that his abdominal pain is 10 out of 10 in severity, and that he has been vomiting up to 20 times each day. He has been evaluated at multiple hospitals, and he has had numerous upper endoscopies, colonoscopies, swallowing studies, and CT and MRI imaging studies, all of which were unrevealing. He underwent a cholecystectomy, but had no improvement in his symptoms after the surgery. His pain and nausea are unresponsive to antacids and antiemetics. The patient’s only relief is with hot water bathing: he spends hours each day in the shower with the temperature set as hot as he can bear. The patient’s history is otherwise unremarkable, except that he admits to daily marijuana use beginning at the age of 14.

This patient’s story is typical of cannabinoid hyperemesis, a clinical syndrome characterized by intractable vomiting and abdominal pain associated with the unusual learned behavior of compulsive hot water bathing, occurring in the setting of long-term heavy marijuana use. Treatment consists of medication for immediate symptomatic relief and marijuana cessation for long-term relief. Symptoms usually remit within weeks of becoming abstinent.

If this disorder is so easily diagnosed and treated, why were the patient’s past doctors confused to the point of performing what might have been an unnecessary surgery? Cannabinoid hyperemesis is a new diagnosis, first described in 2004, and currently sixteen papers on the subject have been published. Therefore, it is likely that the patient’s prior doctors had never considered this disorder. Second, the pathogenesis of cannabinoid hyperemesis is poorly understood. How can marijuana, which is used in cancer clinics as an anti-emetic, cause intractable vomiting? And why would symptoms abate in response to high temperature? The connection between marijuana, vomiting, and heat is non-intuitive, and a medical team unfamiliar with this syndrome would be hard-pressed to reach the diagnosis.

The largest study of cannabinoid hyperemesis to date was the landmark report by Allen et al in 2004 in an area of Southern Australia where marijuana use is largely decriminalized.[i] The report tracked 10 patients who presented with cyclic vomiting after 3 to 27 years of cannabis abuse and no other history of drug abuse. All but one displayed compulsive hot water bathing; the remaining patient had only experienced his symptoms for 6 months, and the authors theorize that he had not yet learned to associate hot water with symptom palliation. The 9 compulsive bathers reported that this bizarre behavior occupied hours of their days and said that their symptoms were ameliorated within minutes of bathing and returned when the water cooled. All 10 patients were counseled to cease cannabis use, and 7 did so. Within weeks of cessation, the symptoms resolved for these 7 patients; the remaining 3 patients did not cease cannabis use and continued to have cyclic vomiting and abdominal pain. After several years of abstinence, 3 patients resumed cannabis use and were hospitalized again with cyclic vomiting and abdominal pain. Once again, 2 of these patients successfully stopped using cannabis, and their symptoms resolved. The remaining patient continued to use cannabis and continued to experience symptoms at the time of publication.

Following the first case report, further cases have been described on three continents. All patients presented with the classic triad of symptoms described by Allen et al: cyclic vomiting and abdominal pain, an extensive history of cannabis abuse, and palliation with hot water bathing. The fact that this unique triad is preserved in diverse patient populations suggests that there is a pathogenic mechanism that underlies this syndrome.

Several authors have speculated about the pathophysiology of cannabinoid hyperemesis, and though the specifics remain unclear, there is consensus over some of the basic principals: It appears that the high lipophilicity of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC, the active compound in marijuana) causes cumulative increases in concentration with chronic use, which may lead to toxicity in susceptible patients.  The abdominal pain and vomiting are explained by the effect of cannabinoids on CB-1 receptors in the intestinal nerve plexus, causing relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter and inhibition of gastrointestinal motility.[ii] This finding is supported by gastric emptying studies performed on one of the patients presented by Allen et al, which revealed severely delayed emptying. While cannabis appears to have anti-emetic effects that are centrally mediated,[iii] it is possible that these effects predominate at low doses whereas the gastrointestinal effects predominate at the high concentrations that occur with long-term use.

The proposed explanation for compulsive hot water bathing is based on the fact that cannabis disrupts autonomic and thermoregulatory functions of the hippocampal-hypothalamic-pituitary system. There is a high concentration of CB1 receptors within the limbic system,[iv] and the hypothalamus in particular is known to be responsible for integrating central and peripheral thermosensory input.[v] Furthermore, Δ9-THC induces hypothermia in mice in a dose-dependent manner.[vi]  While this evidence links cannabis to the hypothalamus and to thermoregulation, it does not provide a causal relationship. Two mechanisms proposed by Chang et al are that (1) cannabinoid-induced hypothermia causes the desire for hot water bathing, or (2) hot water bathing is the direct result of CB1 activation in the hypothalamus. The true mechanism underlying hot water bathing remains enigmatic, and further studies are needed to elucidate the relationship between this bizarre learned behavior and the other features of cannabinoid hyperemesis.

A timely diagnosis of cannabinoid hyperemesis is essential not only to effect proper treatment but also to prevent iatrogenic morbidity and mortality from unnecessary diagnostic procedures and surgical interventions.  There are, however, several obstacles to effective diagnosis:

First, the legal status of marijuana makes eliciting an accurate drug history challenging. Second, the bizarre hot water bathing is likely often attributed to psychological conditions such as obsessive-compulsive behavior. Third, the knowledge of the anti-emetic effects of cannabis likely disguises cases of cannabinoid hyperemesis, leading to the erroneous belief that cannabis is treating cyclic vomiting rather than causing it.  Finally, the fact that this syndrome is so recently described and relatively unknown outside an esoteric subset of the GI literature means that most clinicians are unaware of its existence.  The following diagnostic criteria adapted from Sontineni et al[vii] can be used to facilitate a diagnosis of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome: 

  History of chronic cannabis use
  Nausea and cyclic vomiting over months
  Relief with cessation of cannabis use
  Compulsive hot water bathing with transient relief of symptoms
  Colicky abdominal pain
  Exclusion of other etiologies (especially gall-bladder and pancreas)


In the case of the 18-year-old patient presented above, asking the open-ended question, “What makes you feel better?” followed by more focused questions regarding the temperature of the water and the history of marijuana use were sufficient to suggest the diagnosis of cannabinoid hyperemesis.  We propose that these questions be used as a screening tool for all patients presenting with cyclic vomiting.  Based on our experience and a review of the literature, we believe that these questions may be both sensitive and specific for detecting this unusual syndrome.

The patient presented in this case was counseled on his likely diagnosis. Though he was initially skeptical, giving him printouts of case reports on cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome and discussing the etiology of the disease were sufficient to convince him of the diagnosis. He was treated symptomatically in the hospital.  Two weeks after discharge, he remains abstinent from marijuana and reports that his symptoms are improving.

Sarah A. Buckley and Nicholas M. Mark both are 4th year medical students at NYU School of Medicine

Faculty reviewed by Robert Hoffman, MD, Director NYU  Poison Control Center,  Associate Professor Departments of Medicine and Emergency Medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center


 [i]. Allen JH, de Moore GM, Heddle R, Twartz JC. Cannabinoid hyperemesis: cyclical hyperemesis in association with chronic cannabis abuse. Gut. 2004;53(11):1566-1570.

[ii]. Izzo AA, Coutts AA. Cannabinoids and the digestive tract. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2005;(168):573-598.

[iii]. Simoneau II, Hamza MS, Mata HP, et al. The cannabinoid agonist WIN55,212-2 suppresses opioid-induced emesis in ferrets. Anesthesiology. 2001;94(5):882-887.

[iv]. Herkenham M, Lynn AB, Little MD, et al. Cannabinoid receptor localization in brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990;87(5):1932-1936.

[v]. Egan GF, Johnson J, Farrell M, et al. Cortical, thalamic, and hypothalamic responses to cooling and warming the skin in awake humans: a positron-emission tomography study. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005;102(14):5262-5267.

[vi]. Hayakawa K, Mishima K, Hazekawa M, et al. Cannabidiol potentiates pharmacological effects of Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol via CB(1) receptor-dependent mechanism. Brain Res. 2008;1188:157-164.

[vii]. Sontineni SP, Chaudhary S, Sontineni V, Lanspa SJ. Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome: clinical diagnosis of an underrecognised manifestation of chronic cannabis abuse. World J Gastroenterol. 2009;15(10):1264-1266.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

45 Responses to Cannabinoid Hyperemesis: High on the Differential for Intractable Vomiting

  1. [...] Cannabinoid Hyperemesis: High on the Differential for Intractable Vomiting By:  Sarah A. Buckley and Nicholas M. [...]

  2. Dennis Larsen on March 19, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Im glad to finally find out what is wrong with me. I’ve been in just about every hosp in the Denver Co area with the same problems as you mention. I am 50 yrs old and have been smoking pot since I was 15. I’ve been going thru this Hyperemesis for about ten years with no diagnosis, except for Unremarkable, and mentioning of everything from Pancreatitis to Cancer. I sure believe now that there is a problem with me smoking pot. Thank You.

  3. psperkins on April 13, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I was recently diagnosed with this syndrome.
    Thank god it was this and not something more complicated and difficult to remedy.

    I had been in the emergency room 11 times in 4 years until I found a doctor who had recently read about it.

    Had every test imaginable performed on me without any conclusive results – ct scan, ultrasound, xrays, blood tests, urine tests etc.

    So thankful for running into a doctor who had done his job and kept up on the journals.

  4. PandaBear on April 27, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I would like to find more research and information about this. Very interesting correlation. But is it the vomiting that caused the use of marijuana, or has the marijuana caused the vomiting? I completely agree with the study, however I started smoking regularly at the age of 15 to help with the vomiting. And why the hot water? Obviously not many patients diagnosed with cyclic vomiting feel they need the hot water, why herb smokers? I heard they are trying to find out if it has to do with brain transmitters. I was always told I had gastritis, cyclic vomiting, abdominal migraines, was treated for h-pylori. I also have had just about every blood, CT, MRI and scope tests done, results coming back “normal”. One doctor said it was anxiety and deprssion. Another a breakdown of my centrak nervous system. I have had these reccuring vomiting episodes for 8 years. And for eight years almost every doctor I saw told me smoking could not hurt at this point or suggested it v. anit-nausea meds. Very interesting, and disturbing, to find out it was probably making things worse.

  5. Mom4Life on June 9, 2011 at 6:46 am

    I too TOTALLY believe the study. Some things I have read say that it has something to do with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain (particularly in the hypothalamus) – which regulates the body temperature and digestive system. If this is true it would explain why the patients are unknowingly seeking to warm up their “core body temperature” and keep throwing up. For years my husband has been diagnosed with everything under the sun, ibs, possible parasites etc etc. The first episode I remember was ?19 years ago maybe? I personally believe there is a Gastric Emptying component to this as well. I believe that the cannabis also slows down digestive motility, which causes your supper to sit in your gut all night…rotting…which would also explain why this phenomenon occurs (at least for him) always with onset in the early morning hours. Once I convince him…we can “fix” it. :)

  6. Michele on July 1, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    YES, please spread the word. I have gone through horrendous anxiety over the past few years watching my husband repteat this cyclical vomiting cycle- and then sitting in the bathtub with his bong for hours on end. Listening to your loved one retching and suffering is heart wrenching. Until I pack him up and go to the Emergency Rooms. No conclusive diagnosis after $30,000 worth of tests. To now know that he has been causing this because of his habit/addiction is revelatory. He is in denial at the moment, using the excuse of “why don’t the doctors know about this?” or “I overate-that’s why I threw up”. Once his physician hears about this, I pray that he will listen and get help to quit.

  7. Mike Kavan on July 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    WOW….I just spent the last week in the hospital with all associated syptoms. Usually sick in the morning and HOT water was my best friend. I actually became very nasty with the hospital staff when they would not let me in the shower. Nothing else would work. They were throwing everything at me, anti-nausea, acid-reducers, anti-biotics etc….

    Thing is, I don’t smoke weed. I have been making “herbal incense” with the synthetic cannabinoids like JWH-122, 210 etc….I figured it would be no problem at all. I’ts not detectable in general uranalysis, so the doctors, even if aware of CH, would probably not even think once about it.

    All I know at this point, is that I will no longer be partaking in any “sessions”. Last week was the worst I have ever felt in my life and I am sure as heck not going to purposely hurt myself.

  8. Jason Wahl on July 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    I’ve been smoking marijuana for 14+ years and everything mentioned in this article is exactly what is happening to me. I’ve had colonosopy, CT scans, ultrasounds, endoscopy, and stomach emptying test and am now realizing that I’ve been keeping myself sick this entire time by continuing to smoke MJ. I have also become obsessed with taking hot showers for relief.

    STOP SMOKING AND YOU WILL BE AMAZED! 2-3 weeks and all your problems will be gone.

  9. TROBO on August 8, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I am very glad to hear everyone else’s story. I have been dealing with this condition on and off for about three years now. This year has by far been the worst. Since January, I have been hospitalized over 20 times, had my gallbladder removed, CT scans, xrays, blood tests, endoscopy, you name it, I’ve done it and with no real diagnosis. I was diagnosed with exclusionary IBS at the hospital, then I went to a homeopathic dr who thought I had parasites. I also had to drop out of my classes at school and miss lots of work. It was awful.
    I have been smoking weed on and off since I was about 14 and before a couple years ago I had never experienced anything like this. I am very glad that I finally found a reason for why I get sick all of the time. I always thought that smoking would make me feel better when I was nauseous, but now I found out that it was just hurting me more. I will miss smoking because I love to be high, but my health comes first and I don’t wanna be sick anymore. Thank you all who shared ur stories.

  10. ck on August 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I am a 26 year old female and have also been suffering from numerous “episodes” of nausea, vomiting, stomach pain…im not 100% on the hot showers, though i do find it helps sometimes when i first start getting flushed-hot/cold flashes… I have not been diagnosed as of yet, but am convinced this is what i am suffering from at this point. They have done ultrasounds/ct scans/xrays/bloodwork/urine..the works..heck i even just got a laparotomy done where they cut my stomach open to examine it…nothing wrong found, everything looks healthy or comes up ok… Met with a stomach specialist today and will be going for a colonscopy and endoscopy but in the meantime was advised to lay off the weed. I hope it is just as simple as quitting smoking….thanks for the article and all the best to any other sufferers of this, it sucks.

  11. Calcula7ed on August 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Just a few questions that I hope can be answered by the experts.

    Does this have anything to do with smoking before the brain is fully developed? i.e. becoming dependent on a substance before the brain is fully functioning or is able to decipher the properties of certain substances? Perhaps the hypothalamus is underdeveloped or perhaps it damaged the synchronization of the hypothalamus? Interval issues due to the use before the brains parts are fully developed?

    At what point/age is the hypothalamus acting at full capacity? On the average.

    Do alternate brain functions develop at alternate intervals with respect to functioning? i.e. parts of the brain could develop much quicker than the brain parts of others? Obviously but I would prefer your opinion and analysis.

    Since a small percentage suffer from this why doesn’t everyone else who smokes suffer from the same symptoms?

    Is this only found in those who smoke chronically?

    Is it different for those who consume the substance other than by purely smoking it? i.e eating, vaporizing, etc. This could be used as a controlled experiment eating vs smoking. Vaporizing vs smoking. Etc.

    Could this occur from an inhalation or consumption of contaminants that are easily dissolved in the body’s system while the substance that stays in the system longer is the culprit? Tainted?

    I’ve never heard of this until recently and I do acknowledge it’s importance in understanding it completely. I’m trying to gather more information for my own hypothesis. Thank you and good day. My email is

  12. Kendall on September 14, 2011 at 12:56 am

    I have been suffering from this syndrome for 4 years now. I spent a lot of time in denial that my smoking (typically about 5x/day) was the problem but over time the patterns never changed. Cyclic episodes of severe nausea and vomiting along with hours upon hours spent in the bathtub and shower to get relief. I spent weeks upon weeks in the hospital on over a dozen occasions in the time period having every test done imaginable as well as had a completely unnecessary surgery performed on me. I encourage anyone who even THINKS they or someone they know might be suffering from this condition to take a closer look at your symptoms and talk to a doctor. I am thankful to have discovered the root of the problem.

  13. SMS on October 9, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    For the past two years I’ve been suffering with gastrointestinal issues that have gotten worse and worse. I’ve had test after test (all of which were normal except for gallbladder which was removed) but still my symptoms persisted and worsened. Finally, right before my gastroenterologist was going to run a battery of more tests, he asked me if I smoked marijuana and if I took a lot of hot showers. Embarrassed, I admitted that I smoke every day, all day, and yes I’ve noticed I’ve been taking a lot of hot showers, even this summer. He told me he knew what was wrong with me and printed off info about Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. At first I didn’t want to believe it. I cried so hard in his office. I have smoked pot for 18 years because I suffer from Bipolar Disorder and pot stops my manic episodes. It also relieves my anxiety (but I have noticed in recent years that it sometimes CAUSED more anxiety). Well, since I had been suffering so much and had lost 36 lbs in 2 months because I couldn’t eat solid food, I stopped smoking pot to see if it was true. Unbelievably, within 2 weeks I was completely cured. After two years of horrible stomach pain and all these invasive tests, I can now eat whatever I want with out a problem. Like the rest of you suffering from this syndrome, I will miss pot A LOT. Since stopping it I’ve gone into a pretty serious manic episode and I’ve had to go on Lithium to even me out, but I’m so happy to not be vomiting and having excrusiating pain, so it’s worth it. Good luck to all of you who have this. I know it will be hard to let go of smoking, but you will see its way worth it in the end.

  14. Larry Quade on January 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    This is the dawning of the age of new illnesses, and shall I say, the discovery of some of them. Cannabinoid Hyperemesis seems to be very reel although there may be quite a few factors that run hand in hand with its symptoms and diagnoses.

    Long term THC consumption will definitely lead to gastrointestinal issues at some point. The trouble here for doctors is identifying this problem. Many doctors are unaware and limited in their scope. Too many things for people to have to avoid. By choice or not; like poor diet, STRESS, lack of exercise, dangerously improper food staples, chemical poisoning by doctor prescribed drugs, farm field pesticides, and general water & air pollution,,,, and now even THC!

    All things in moderation,, something a lot of us chronic users never considered when it came to getting high. I started up with MJ at 13 years old and I thought it was the best relaxing thing ever,, now almost 40yrs old, I have had a number of very serious health problems related to my long term use.

    My problems became worse than just vomiting and pain after about 15 year of chronic use. With very heavy daily use my gastro-system can become confused and began clamping off certain sections of the GI tract where many CB-1 & CB-2 receptors are concentrated. These areas of the gut may also include many immune system cells that respond (hyperactivacte) when THC is absorbed. The worse part in a modern sense is, if there are allergic components (toxic food debris) in the intestine at the time of this intestinal spasming,, that’s when the confusion begins.

    When your bodies immune system activates it uses existing sugars to charge the immune response. The intestines hold sugar/energy by means of food/waste sources and will use any means nessecary to obtain the glucose that is vital to its task.
    Stressed or unfit intestines don’t act well & normal under the persure of THC’s annonomus immune system command. Chronic use of THC means an overused exhausted and confused immune system attempting to operate with often horribly dangerous and improper energy sources.

    In a nut shell, Cannabinoid Hyperemesis is going to become a real problem and mystery to the rapidly growing number of THC users in the next several years.
    Doctors are starting to take notice of this syndrome although they will be thrown way off the mark if they don’t consider the lifestyle, whole body health, the whole person, and the THC too!

    All things must be considered, we must start on the first page in order to finish and understand the book.

    We’re on to something here!!

  15. Justin Johnson on January 17, 2012 at 1:05 am

    I have been dealing with every symptom listed for the last two years. I have smoked anywhere from 1/8 to a 1/2 ounce a week for the last 15 years. Last monday I woke in the morning, smoked a bowl and had three seizures in a row. I then was violently ill for the next day throwing up over 20 times. I have cronic abdomenal pain on my right side and serious temperature control problems. After a day of vomiting I went to the emergency room and was admitted to the hospital. I had a ct scan, ultrasound and many blood tests. My blood pressure and heart rate was completly out of wack. At first they thought I had an infection but after a day on antibiotics they found that to be wrong. Zofran was given to me for the nausua while I was there but did not help at all. They told me that for some reason my kidneys where over run with toxins which was very serious. I was given around 10 bags of fluids over the next week at which my kidneys slowly began to recover. I have never felt that sick in my life. I would find myself shaking from being cold and also I had bouts of anxiety and depression like feelings that would take me over completly. The doctors in the end speculated that the seizures had released the toxins from my muscles into my kidneys causing the illness but admitted to me there was many unanswered questions. The could find no reason for the abdomenal pain. I was urinating fine the whole time and bowl movements where normal other than they were few and far between due to me not eating for five days. I lost about 10 pounds during this time.

  16. DJ on January 19, 2012 at 1:41 am

    I still can’t believe what I’m reading. I guess it’s really that I don’t want to believe it. At the same time I’m so incredibly happy though. I’m a 29 yr old female who has smoked pot everyday, usually several times a day for 16 years now. For the last 12 years I have battled with extreme stomach pain/ upset/ discomfort everyday and until now thought that pot was the only thing that alleviated my symptoms at all. I have been to the ER and been admitted into hospitals so many times now I couldn’t even make an accurate guess. I had my gall bladder taken out 10 years ago, was diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome 8 yrs ago, and have been blaming my agonizing symptoms on this unknown “disease” ever since. To finally discover that I’ve been doing this to myself all these years is almost more than I can absorb.
    I just got done with another two week stay at the hospital with my kids and family at my bedside wondering if I was gonna pull out of this round again or not. Been in this particular hospital so many times they don’t put me through the extensive tests anymore, but don’t think I haven’t been through them all, scoped 3 times, CT scans, MRI’s, etc., etc.. I just happened to get my least favorite ER Dr again this time (this being because he has no sympathy for me when I’m there in complete agony because of my pot habit). He told me again of how they’re finding out how chronic marijuana use can actually cause the symptoms I’ve come in there with so many times. I, like every other time, just denied that I smoke much pot and acted like he didn’t know what he was talking about. After laying in the hospital for 2 weeks afterwards (after returning to the ER to have a different Dr admit me) I decided to Google “cyclic vomiting syndrome” and “marijuana” and I’ll be damned if he wasn’t right.
    Going to have a very hard time giving up my all-day, everyday habit, but if it makes me quit getting sick and feeling as crappy as I do all the time, maybe it wont be so hard. I haven’t read any comments about anyone having near as many “episodes” as I have had yet, but I know in my case, if I have to be hospitalized many more times, well, they’re running out of good veins to even be able to hydrate me through. They’re past trying to put them in my thumbs, wrists, feet, and other painful places. This last time they managed to get IV’s going in my shoulders, but did I mention, I’m 29 yrs old! And in otherwise very good health. All this rambling I guess is just in case anyone is reading this who might still be trying to be in denial like me and might

  17. Bronwyn on April 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Has any one experienced any of this but without the temperature? Have experienced many of same symptoms but not the bathing thing. In fact it is just like food poisoning when it happens. Could be same thing? And answers?

  18. Troy on July 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Hey, just reading these comments and now truly believe that I too have this. Can a person just cut back on their pot intake and cure themselves or is stopping it all together the only answer. I love coming home on a Friday after a long hard week and having a beer and a joint to unwind. It’s like my treat. Just wondered if anyone has had any luck with just cutting back?

  19. Tom M. on August 31, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I recently (less than 2 months ago) was in the ER twice in three days with this condition. I had been smoking pot every day, multiple times per day, for over 4 years. For myself, I cannot smoke pot at a decreased level; I am addicted to it, and over 12 years, my use has only increased. I was able to lower my use for small amounts of time, two weeks to a few months, but inevitably always regained my previously highest level of use, and then surpassed it. I have known I have a problem with pot for 10 years (since I was 16), and have been in rehab 11 times attempting to get clean and sober. Until I experienced hyperemesis, though, I could not bring myself to honestly see the severity of my marijuana addiction. Had it not been for the love of my family and girlfriend, I probably would have just let myself die of dehydration. I am now 38 days sober, 40 days off of pot. My stomach no longer hurts, and I no longer have the pre-episode feeling in my stomach that I came to learn would lead to hyperemesis if I ate solid food with it. Today, I can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, without fear of triggering an episode. My life is exponentially better without marijuana in it.

    I view weed as one of the truly insidious drugs on the planet, as in the rooms of recovery, most people think it benign and harmless, and non-addictive. In fact, I’ve been in the rooms of a 12-step program on and off for 10 years, with probably over a thousand meetings attended, and I’ve never met a single person who’s heard of hyperemesis, much less experienced it. Weed addiction is real! :)

  20. Mel on August 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    My son is 17 years old and has been in and out of the hospital multiple times over the past year and a half. He started out smoking pot for the first couple years but switched to spice so he could pass a drug test. (I’m 100% against drug use) He is in CHKD as I type this. He has been diagnosed with this illness. I’m here to tell you SPICE can cause this and it can kill you. My son lost soo much weight he looked like a skeleton and he cried to God because he wanted to die because he was in so much agony. He is 5’11″ and was down to 120, originally weighed 160ish. He had a ton of tests done and they found yeast in his GI track. They treated him for that and he got better. We didn’t know it was not just the yeast that made him sick. My son was living with his dad when he got sick for the first few times. He has had episodes of vomiting and not being able to keep water down let alone food. He has a pain in his stomach that center around his belly button. He has taken several hot baths in the hospital which ironically started because I recommend it to him. He does feel better after a hot bath but I have not seen him feel any relief from hot baths to the extent that some of you are talking about. However, I think HTC affects people differently and he definitely has this illness. So even if you’re not getting total relief from hot showers or baths I think you can still have this illness. After he got better the second time I took him straight home from the hospital and he lived with me for a year (and only had smoked two times a small amount). He recently went to stay at his dad’s house and picked up his spice smoking again. The week before he got sick he was smoking it every day this time. On Wednesday he vomited so hard he fell and hit his head on the toilet and blacked out. He was admitted to the CHKD 3 days later on the following Saturday at 8am and released 3 days later on Tuesday after getting the patch for nausea behind his ear and keeping down a cup of water. He was admitted back in to the hospital (after a day and half) Thursday with the same symptoms. I want to note that second endoscope test (one year apart) reviled that he now has ulcer that have developed in his esophagus (but the yeast is gone) I can only wonder if the poisons in the spice eroded parts of his esophagus. The doctors said it is definitely possible.

  21. Anthony on October 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    After searching the web for 4 weeks to figure out what was wrong with me I finally found Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome today – bingo! I am a daily pot user of 20 years – never had a problem until a month ago. I have many of symptoms described in this thread – stomach pain, burping, bloating, occasional nausea, heartburn, chest pains. I instinctively took warm showers to feel better. When I walked outside, I felt pain, most likely because it was a few degrees colder outside. Now it all makes sense.

    I suspected initially that I have H Pylori (the bacteria that causes ulcers) so I stopped smoking pot and cigarettes and ordered Matula Tea – great stuff – kills H Pylori and made me feel better immediately. Then a few days later I smoked a joint – I had slight stomach pain within 1 hour of smoking, but it went away quickly. Then I did not smoke for 2 days – felt good. Then I smoked 2 joints and had another relapse – this time I had a stomach ache for the whole day and half the night. The pot seems to have a cumulative effect, not
    necessarily immediate in my case.

    Part of my problem, and possibly your problem, is H Pylori. 2 3rds of people have this ulcer-causing bacteria, but most do not get ulcers. I suspect I have a small ulcer. If you have H Pylori, with or without ulcers, and you smoke pot, I suspect that you will be more susceptible to Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome – just my theory.

    While I am disappointed that I must give up pot, possibly forever, I am happy to have pinpointed the cause. For those sad to give up pot, as I am, perhaps this will help; I will tell myself when I am craving a pot buzz, that the best buzz is being healthy, pain free, knowledgeable, free of fear, and in control of my life again. : )

  22. Red Riding Hood on November 21, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Well, I have a 17 year old son who, six weeks ago suddenly started cyclic vomiting, lost 17 pounds and couldn’t eat until noon every day. After a battery of blood tests that came back normal, and a scope down his stomach that showed everything normal, I happened to be at the front door one evening as he walked in with bloodshot eyes. He admitted to smoking marajuana 3 times a day for the last few weeks since the symptoms started and occasionally before that. That night I googled” cyclic vomiting, smoking marajuana” and BINGO! I found this condition, which I’m pretty convinced he had. It’s now been 3 weeks of no smoking and he feels almost back to normal! I’m hoping he continues to improve so as to avoid a CT scan of lower abdomen and head.

    Prior to this discovery, I had only googled “vomiting at at the same time every morning” and I found loads and loads of people with this same problem who have no idea whats wrong. The only thing they think that helps them is smoking marajuana! This needs to be put on Facebook or something. People need to know. There are lots of people out there who, in my opinion, have the same thing! Good luck to all of you!

  23. ay on December 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    For those of you who have had success in abstaining and are cured any helpful tips/ coping mechanisms that helped you make it through the first few weeks until symptoms are relieved… my husband is currently on day 3 after receving his diagnosis. he is in agonizing pain also crying to god to end his suffering and pain. Any suggestions on how I can comfort him through this would be appreciated. Thank you and good luck to anyone else who is suffering

  24. Very Relieved on December 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    God bless all of you for fessing up to your problem and being honest about this. Had I not found the articles on this I would still be smoking and going to doctors to try and figure out why I can’t eat. I’m currently recovering from my second bout of this (the first time wasn’t enough to convince me), and there is no doubt. Just three days after quitting I’m already feeling better again. I smoked about a gram a day for two years, but was a frequent smoker for two years before that. Recently I smoked all day every day. I have vaporized and used bongs for the most part, and, no, vaporizing doesn’t keep you from developing CHS. That was my last theory, and now I’m suffering from testing it. I should have learned my lesson the first time around. I also tested another common question, as to whether cutting back can be enough. I found that taking a hit would temporarily make me feel better, but after an hour or less I would be much worse. So, it appears to be an issue of toxicity, not withdrawl, or at least that the effect of the withdrawl is minor compared to that of the toxic effect of the cannabinoids. Being high all the time will eventually lead to problems. I have friends who have mild symptoms on and off, but most are not willing to even have this conversation. One friend even accused me of spreading “propaganda.” I’m sorry, I love pot, but this is simply too airtight, and I must reach the conclusion that it’s not for me. What is it they say about the definition of insanity and expecting different results for the same actions? I guess in that regard cannabis causes a little insanity in its users. I think the main thing here to note is that cannabis is the only drug that sticks around for so long, and chronic use will essentially cause an “overdose-like” effect where the body reaches a toxic state and tries to get rid of the toxic compound. We need to realize that after the psychoactive effects are gone that it still has long-lasting secondary effects. Fittingly, cannabis resembles all compounds in that its secondary effect is the opposite of its primary effect. It makes me a little nauseous right now just to think about something hanging around in my body for that long. I’ll bet there’s resin in my tissue from months ago! Yuck! I mean, honestly, would you ever eat something if I told you it would still be in your gut three weeks later? We need to be proactive in getting this information out there. As we sit here, there are probably hundreds of people out there unwittingly smoking medical marijuana for its anti-emetic effect. Had I known these things ten years ago I never would have touched the stuff and been much better off for it. At the same time, though, we all need to count our lucky stars that chronic marijuana use is something we can recover from, which is not the case with any other drug, especially alcohol. Let’s face it, if we had abused other drugs or alcohol to the point we have abused cannabis we would all be dead ten times over, or, even worse, wishing we were… I hope this is something I can look back on as a learning experience without too much regret, though I will always lament losing so much of my youth to this addiction. I hope that in the future we can be more realistic about the effects of cannabis and stop telling lies to our children that will cause them to distrust our advice and do something harmful they might not have even thought about had we been honest with them. It won’t kill you outright, but it will have a negative impact on your life.

  25. laura c on February 2, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I am so pleased i found out about this.
    I found info on this after googling male morning sickness.As a mother of 3 the nearest illness i have experienced to this is extreme morning sickness.
    my symptons come on suddenly always at 6am. I am woken out of my sleep with the urge to be sick,then i get extreme epigastric pain like a constant pluse.
    This goes on for exactly 12 days, no food or water can stay down,no meds help.All i can do is lie still between vomiting praying for health.
    As noted by others the only relief is hot water,one time after using all the hot water in my tank i walked to my mums house with a sheet wrapped round me at 5am because i just couldent wait for my own supply to heat up thats how desperate you become.
    I have had every test known to man all say im healthy.
    Im in Scotland and the docs have prescribed amitryptaline for 6months.
    I havent told them im a smoker,its illegal here.At leasti now know im not dying.
    I find i can smoke solid (hash) with no problems. On thinking about it, its every time i smoke a bit of green(grass etc)that the symptoms begin.

    It truly is a terrible thing to suffer, for the sufferer and their families.

  26. snocker on May 24, 2013 at 4:01 am

    I probably have this disease. My first “experience” with this disorder hit me in my early twenties. I was a champion mountain biker and rock climber with extremely low body fat. I was married and smoked quite a few b’s every day. I woke up one night with indigestion and threw up and got in the shower to relieve the terrible headache that I had accompanying the nausea. I’d been sick plenty of times in my youth but the difference this time was I continued to throw up for two weeks. I was forced to go to the hospital. Iv’s saved my life because my blood had congealed and the nurses couldn’t pull any blood because it was so thick. I didn’t sleep a wink for the two weeks prior to being hospitalized. The pain was EXTREME! No amount of pain meds or anti-nausea meds worked. Even a whiff of food sent me into extreme vomiting. Seeing any pic or commercial with a food image made me gag. I begged my wife to not cook on her lunch breaks. I threw up bowl after bowl full of acid, bile, and the water I was trying to keep down. I drank gatorade some because it tasted better than bile coming back up. My pulse raced at 120 bps. It was exhausting. I became delusional with pain and sleep depravation. I talked to God to ask him what I had done to cause this – no answer. I really thought it was punishment for drinking. The cycle was something like this: throw up, break out into sweats, then chills, then b-line to the bathtub. I’d bring a big bowl to puke in with me. I’d stay in until I ran out of hot water. Then quickly I’d dry off and get into bed. The heat from the bath would make me sweat and I’d lay there for an hour or so until I could almost relax and then, boom, serious vomiting would hit me so hard that I would barely make it to the bowl, sink or toilet I was closest to. This repeated the entire two weeks until and during the hospitalization.I was hooked to the IV tubes but begged the nurses to let me shower with tubes sticking out of the shower. They let me a couple of times. I believe I was in the hospital a week. My gastroenterologist was considered to be the best in my city….he was old and mean. I had upper gi scope done and other than swelling in my stomach, there were no ulcers or serious problems. My doctor discovered I had H-pyloric stomach bacteria that can cause ulcers in the gut. He treated me with what he called a triple antibiotic therapy. I was release and I recovered and fought back into shape (I had dropped to 120 lbs. from 155). After two or so weeks I had a follow up appointment. The doc looked into my eyes and thought he saw something wrong. Of course, I was paranoid that he was seeing marijuana use but no, he dismissed it and declared me “well”. I had resumed smoking during the recovery…it worked wonders for helping me get my appetite back. Life returned to normal for two or so years and then the #2 attack hit. This time, being that I had no insurance I didn’t seek medical help. I began to learn ways of getting through with enemas, hydrotherapy (baths/showers/hot tubs). These episodes would hit every two or so years. Generally after about a week to two of vomiting I could start the process of running water in at both ends to try to meet in the middle. I could definitely tell that there was some blockage, obstruction or kinking of my small intestine. It would take drinking about a gallon of water, all at once after putting two or three big enema bags of water in my rectum. It would feel like a dam breaking in my gut and the most foul black tar and diarrhea would come out. I would have to manually push the fluid around my gut with my hands to work it out. I would cry my eyes out with joy when the bowels would exit and I would drop from ten level pain to more like a two. I could tell the substance or chemical properties of this tar like bowel were very toxic because wherever it would be in my intestines I would cramp and have pain. And not just in my intestines, my rectus abdomens muscle would cramp so hard that it would look like a scene from Alien.

    Some of the things I tried:

    My first attack was nearly 25 years ago. I became convinced it had to be a liver problem (or at least part of the problem). I did a liver flush and passed hundred of gall stones. I passed one slightly smaller than a golf ball. I led a very organic, almost pure vegetarian lifestyle for most of 90s. I had a colonic and passed a HUGE tapeworm. I took neem oil pills to kill parasites. I could always get back into my athletics and compete at the highest local levels. I went to acupuncture school. I studied Tradition Chinese Medicine and became familiar with 350 Chinese/Indian/Native American herbs. I made formulas for myself and others (until mice got into them and I stopped working with them.) I received lots of massages and acupuncture. I practiced yoga and meditation. I bought out a naturopathic doctors inventory of supplements, herbs and extracts. I could list a lot of the things I tried medicinally but that would be ridiculous. I would still have an episode of vomiting every year or so. I had to go to the er several times for IVs. They gave a Xanax on one visit that was like a gift from heaven because I could sleep for a change. The IVs saved my life several times. Other that during an episode, I continued to smoke (and even during if it was a light attack). My parents live in another state. They were perplexed and seemed to think I was doing something to myself i.e. hard drugs or heavy drinking. In truth, I cut down further and further on beer and weed. They had not seen me go through this. I went to visit and spent the night. I was sober and not high and they could see I was healthy. I then had an attack in front of their eyes. About 5 in the morning my father made me get out of the tub because he was sick of water running all night . It was a typical horrific attack with massive vomiting. They were shocked. My brother had to drive my vehicle and they had to lay me in a van and drive me home. we stopped many times on the highway to empty the gallon bowl. Anybody who has witnessed my attacks has said they have never seen anyone as sick. After that, they got behind me a lot more. Family and friends would give me very powerful meds or tranks during my attacks (i never took scripts, pills, or anything between episodes unless it was natural or herbal based partially because my stomach seemed hypersensitive to anything dissolving in my stomach and I’ve always gone natural). We were all so confused how quickly I could go from 100 to 0 so quickly. I had to dissolve all pills under my tongue because of the vomiting. I cut out all caffeine (coffee). I then cut out ALL drinking for several years. I cut smoking weed, as well. Since this was about a dozen years ago I can’t remember how long I went without both but I did. I really felt about the same as when I was using as when not (except I didn’t need as much sleep). I assumed it was the booze and probably decided to have a puff instead. It seemed to work so I though the problem was solved and then boom, another attack. So, I ruled out the booze at that point. It never occurred to me it could be something in the smoke because usually your body will have an instant reaction to a substance it rejects. I then went to a local college of medicine and the did very detailed questioning of my condition. The doctor ask me about an hours worth of questions, many about my bowel consistency. I told him the closer I got to an attack the smaller the diameter of my feces would become. It was an indicator that my heath was slowly going south. Also, brushing my teeth would cause a gag reflex if I brushed my tongue. I would try to ignore it because what could I do? Laxatives and fiber could throw me into an attack I discovered. The doctor set me up for tests. Upper and lower gi, gall bladder scan, x-rays, ultrasound, etc. I didn’t have to have my gall bladder taken out because I had done the flush (saw that one coming). I did the scopes on April 30, 2001. As I type, I have the pictures from the gi scopes in front of me. I had a normal stomach, normal duodenum, another section of normal stomach, mild esophagitis/erosion, a sessile polyp (removed), two sections of normal colon and an amebiasis ulcer. The amebiasis is a amoeba that causes dysentery. It kills 70,000 people a year. Now, this seemed like a more probable explanation of my condition. They gave me a powerful chemotherapy prescription to deal with it. After taking about 2/3 of the chemo, I was thrown into another attack (one of the huge reasons I hated taking any pills). I assume I had enough chemo run through me to kill the amoeba, Got through another one and got back to my life. Incidentally, I went to another doctor, an old bootcamp D.O. who would treat people for next to nothing (no insurance). He wanted a urine sample. I was so dehydrated I told him I couldn’t pee. He told my wife behind my back that he suspected cocaine use because I wouldn’t/couldn’t pee. Ha! I told him I could squeeze a little puss out of the tip but nothing else. He determined I had a massive staph infection, the worse he had ever seen. After moving on from his coke theory he said he thought I had Crohn’s Disease. I figured I had Irritable Bowel or some variation of it, as well. Then one day I saw a commercial for a class action suit against a pharm company for the complications being associated with taking Acutane, the drug I was prescribed as a teen for acne. I almost fell out of the chair. I quickly called my parents with news. What else could it be, right? People who took this drug had been having massive problems with their GI and had to have parts removed. It gave them Crohn’s and IBD problems and some were awarded millions in the suit. I (of course) took the Acutane so long ago that I couldn’t get in on the suit, but at least I had a plausible theory about myself. Acutane was developed as a strong chemotherapy. I didn’t know that until I did research. So, I had been on chemo twice in my life and never had cancer (you see why modern medicine and I don’t get along). The D.O. doctor died and my original gastro doc retired, I still didn’t have insurance or a doctor. I then went through an unexpected divorce. I’m sure she was getting pretty tired of witnessing over a decade of my roller coaster ride and the financial problems it caused from not being able to work. I started dating and drinking again, the old wine and dine. I looked good, was healthy and had fun dating. I went for about three years of great heath. My parents assumed it was all caused by stress associated with the marriage. I started drinking more with the ladies and smoking less (didn’t want some knowing I smoked and kissing is kinda a giveaway). I met a special lady after a couple of years and we’ve been together six. After three years I then became very very sick and had to go to the hospital once again. I broke down and went because I knew I would die if not. They asked me upon admission if I drank and I stupidly said yes. The nurse made kind of an “aha” sound and I knew I was screwed. They discovered I was in full renal kidney failure. This was very bad for me because I only have one kidney (from birth). They said my blood was the worst they had ever seen and every spec was backwards from normal. They assigned a nephrologist and he told me I would die. I said “bullshit” to myself and wanted water! He told me if I did pull through that I’d be on dialysis for the rest of my life and they scheduled me for three dialysis treatment over three days. They did one and I started producing urine and they were shocked. I was in for five days and three in ICU. The nurses were terrible because they thought I was some hobo drunk (having not shaven for weeks). I pleaded for them to listen but they scoffed and told me alcohol was going to kill me. At one point I showed my closed minded doctor a small light scar on my stomach where I had pressed so hard with a wood rod to try to get the pain to stop that it left a scratch scar. I showed her to demonstrate the main area of pain and that it was not an esophagus problem (they theorized that drinking messed it up and made me vomit). She wrote in my chart that I was self mutilating. That was a terribly frustrating experience and they based all this on NOTHING other than me saying I drank. They never even got me a gastro doctor. They did save my life but I’m sure they really screwed me on my med chart. They handed me a $35,000 bill and I went on my way. Now, after this hospital stay things have been different. I have some slight waves of numbness that go down my left arm on about a five minute cycle. My eyes have gotten so tired from sleep deprivation that it’s been hard to focus. My energy level has been down. I went from an athletic lifestyle to focusing on music. I helped start a country band as the lead guitarist and started staying up late practicing. I theorized that if my health didn’t improve that I would have to find multiple ways to make a living. I knew I might have to contend with a stage fright problem so I cut way back on smoking (was afraid of freezing up). I began to drink more because I started to have terrible problems sleeping and wanted to be loose to play for crowds. For the next year I had no attacks. Then I quit drinking and smoked more. Then came the attacks again. I actually started to drink myself to sleep because of the symptoms. My symptoms have been less severe since my hospital stay three years ago. They have been more constant, though.

    Other things:

    The pain and anxiety of the 10/10 scale attacks is horrible. The other peoples testimonies show me where their pain is in relation to mine. During a 10, I can’t sleep, see food, smell food, or get comfortable I can’t talk more than a sentence, my stomach pain is horrid, the back pain is just as bad, and I’m spending as much as 20 hours a day in the tub. My muscles cramp to the point that my hands gimp up and I have to use my opposite hand to jerk my finger straight. Any muscle can cramp at any time and constantly does. I become beaten down by charlie horses. I begin to lightly hallucinate, I set up stations on couches and beds and next to the tub with gallons of water, barf bowls and blankets. I can’t focus or text, watch tv, or keep track of time. My house plants begin to die and I can barely feed my dog and often don’t. I often ponder when other people would have thrown in the towel and killed themselves. I become highly manic and confused. After it’s over it’s a blur. At a pain level of five I’ll roll around on the floor for hours on rubber balls to push into my sore back (my back feels broken). If I arch my back and hold my breath and squeeze my diaphragm and lungs I pass out. I’ve passed out on my couch and reflexively kicked everything of my coffee table, bong included. Interestingly, this gives a minute of relief until the blood goes back to my brain. At a level three I barf every day or so but it’s mostly back pain that keeps me from working. I maybe take four or five baths a day. I can do short tasks. I take a bite or two of food a day or every other. I can maybe get in four hours sleep. As I type this, I’m at a level two and can watch tv, go to the store and talk on the phone. My level has not been over a five since my hospital visit three years ago. I can’t quench my thirst and my mouth feels like cardboard. My taste buds don’t work well and I shake making typing and touch pads difficult. I recently checked myself for diabetes and I’m ok there. Most of these symptoms are due to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and potassium deficiency. The epicenter of the problem is about two inches above my naval. It feels like there is a softball sized ball of tension and pain there radiating to both sides but nothing has shown on an x-ray. I threw up today and yesterday and a few days before. I didn’t work today.

    Even stranger things:

    Most of my attacks seem to be during cold times of the year. They seem to happen during dry spells. My feet are very important in all of this. If I step onto a cold floor I’ll start choking and gagging. I bathe so much that I often am drying towels. When I walk out into my cold garage to do so I heave. I have to keep the perfect balance of clothing on to fight these differences in temp. Heavy socks work wonders when it’s cold. Congestion seems to be a problem because of cough/gag reflex. Sinus drainage does the same, as well. Walking into any room with a temp change can cause this. If I dry heave even once or gag and squeeze my gut it is as if something is released into my blood that makes me shake and tremble. My veins disappear in my arms. My jaw completely realigns to where my front teeth start to touch and my molars wont at all making eating, even if I could, very hard and strange. The shift in my skull causes compression around my left ear that makes it feel like there is water in there and reduced hearing. My lower body feels disconnected from the top. I sometimes have cloudiness in my urine which I’m sure is staph. I’ve sat in apartment whirlpools for so long I’ve seen the seasons change before my eyes. I often practice taking hot showers and then switching to ice cold for as long as I can bear. I do this to conserve hot water, to pump blood around my body and to keep from sweating as much. Remember, it’s about keeping my body temp consistent. Sex and female touch speeds up the healing process when I finally can.

    On a positive note:

    It has led me to an extensive look into my body mind and spirit. It has helped shape my career path. I look a decade younger than my mid-forties age (so I’m told). I have never been overweight. After I recover, my senses are superb, especially smell. My ability to think improves dramatically as does my singing voice, artistic side and guitar/music as if something that has locked down opens back up. I’m happier, joyous, talkative and very emotional and thankful to be alive. My anxiety drops and I slow down. I can eat anything and almost never have problems. I feel the way I was designed to feel in my natural state and I feel like I have extra perception. Then, I slowly start going south with constipation and diarrhea alternating.

    Why write this:

    I love cannabis. I think it has wonderful properties and has and will help many people. I do not advocate quitting if it is helping with pain or other problems. I have had great luck with it in the past, even while sick. I think breeding and testing and isolating its chemical properties might be huge in the field of medicine in the future. I am not a disinformation agent. I don’t work for any agency and have been self employed for over twenty years. I am not trying to scare monger. I have nothing to gain anything by writing this but the sharing of information and the thought that it may help someone figure out there own puzzle. If you read the above, you should realize how many things I have tried. This disorder has wrecked my life. I plan to post this on forums and send it to doctors who might figure out what others are going through. That is why this information is so lengthy because I don’t want to write this over and over.

    Dispelling some notions:

    I have only just recently quit. It wasn’t until I bumped into an article like so many other have. I am going to use myself as an experiment. I hope that anybody that is curious can follow along with my progress. As you could probably guess, having known people who smoke TONS more than me and not have problems has led me to believe (in the past) that it could not be a problem. I considered smoke trapped in the stomach as a potential reason. I’m sure I have had some other theories but I can’t think of them right now.

    1.It is not a pesticide problem unless pesticides stay in your body for decades. I’ve smoked the full spectrum of weed but have not had to touch anything with a pesticide for probably 15 years and what I have had was almost all organic. When I was younger we mainly got Mexi stuff that probably did but the amount of cleansing I’ve done should have gotten rid of it by now. I’m sure veggies have the same pesticides.
    2.It’s not exclusive to men. I’ve read plenty of female posts.
    3.It’s a cumulative effect. I, for the last several years, haven’t smoked every day. Probably .5 g (two or three hits before bed if I do).
    4.It has to be a chemical that is stored a long time, maybe filtered by the liver and released when the body starts to detox.
    5.It’s not a choke till you puke situation. I’ve had attacks far removed from actual smoking.
    6.It is a morning sickness but it can be an all day for weeks problem.
    7.It’s not a poor diet problem. I had better luck at times on a bachelors diet than a whole foods diet.
    8.Stress seems to coax it out faster but some terrible attacks have hit me while not being stressed.
    9.You don’t have to smoke tons if you are susceptible to this. I used to but haven’t for years.
    10.Bathing during symptoms is not an OCD. It’s survival.
    11.I could be wrong but I don’t think it’s an allergen as much as a toxin. I’ve known/heard of people who were allergic to it and had instant reactions to it, even in it’s unsmoked state. If it’s not a toxin it still has to be a chemical that shuts down or squeezes the intestines in some people. Maybe the combination of late night binge eating coupled with a tightening of the intestines is too much for some people handle by morning.
    12.I don’t think it is strain specific. I have changed it up enough to figure this one out. It may be a chemical that lesser quantities are produced in some strains.
    13.People that are suffering with this are not kooks. It is very real. I can’t explain the way the other testimonies and case studies have paralleled mine.
    14.People are not the same. If you don’t have a problem but your friend does it shouldn’t come as a surprise. People have lots of reactions to different substances. People have been killed by eating peanuts.

    What am I going to do now:

    STOP!! I’m going to give myself plenty of time to clear my system and find out once and for all. It’s about the only thing I haven’t tried. If it doesn’t work then I guess I’ll shift back to thinking it has to be a Constant Vomiting Syndrome, Crohn’s, IBD or dysentery. I will have to keep looking. If I do have Cannabinoid Hyperemesis then I’ll be cured and be able to help others. I am sure there is someone out there that has been misdiagnosed and suffering longer than me, but I am perhaps the longest case study of anyone who has come foreword on the internet.

    In conclusion:

    I just found out that others have been suffering in a similar way. I used to think I was the only one on the planet until three days ago. I was incredibly shocked. The kicker was hot baths. I guaranty (with no way to prove) that I have thrown up more than anyone you will ever meet. I have had more attacks over the last 25 years than anyone I have read about. I am so thankful to see some hope and to know I’m not alone in this. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions.

  27. countessarcadius on June 13, 2013 at 1:32 am

    I have recently been diagnosed with possible cannabinoid hyperemesis, the ONE thing I have not seen been said in ANY of this, is the fact that, there are some very serious chemicals that marijuana are being filtered with when they are using hydroponics, etc, this has to have something to do with happening to so many people recently, as they are not filtering these chemicals out properly before cutting the marijuana, and THIS is why we are getting sick, WE’RE BEING POISONED, literally,i am sure there is also bioaccumulation of these poisons in our bodies over chronic use of pot, there are many reports of people getting sores in their mouths etc, all different symptoms because of the different people growing it, and how they do it,the only thing I have NEVER done is this compulsive bathing, I HAVE NEVER FELT THE NEED TO EVER TAKE A HOT SHOWER,i keep reading about this shower thing,there would be NO SHOWER that would ever help my symptoms, problem with me is that THERE IS NO POTASSIUM in my body, and it’s not disappearing because of vomiting? for some reason the potassium is slowly being depleted over time, my potassium depletion is NOT from the vomiting, as it’s low before, my potassium at critically low levels, the last two episodes I was give some kind of steroid for the stomach, and WOW THAT REALLY HELPED! as much as I feel like crap, I am not having the episode ONCE THEY PUT THE POTASSIUM BACK, AND GIVE THE STOMACH REMEDY, but I do take over a month to recover, when I say recover I mean,i am only 95lbs.I CAN’T GO 2 DAYS WITHOUT FOOD OR LIQUID, EVEN ONE DAY, within hours of waking like that, I am IN THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT, I can’t screw around,
    i think if they could pinpoint what chemicals are being used people could be treated for toxicity or poisoning, my body completely rejecting your muscles, it feels like you’re being electrocuted,sometimes over 18 hours,you cannot control the muscles when there is no potassium, I keep reading how some people feel sick and vomit for 3hrs? yet, I have been 2 days of being DEATHLY ill, EVEN BEING TREATED IN HOSPITAL,WITH FLUIDS, AND POTASSIUM,THEY LOAD ME UP WITH INTERVENOUS POTASSIUM, only to be DEPLETED BY MORNING?EVEN WITH NO MORE VOMITING, the wretching is the WORST, there is nothing really being thrown up, but BILE, sometimes nothing at all, just the wretching, they said I could have a heart attack with the potassium levels being so low, now I go for regular weekly blood tests, to try and keep my potassium levels at bay,i am just starting to do some reading about this,I know everyone is different, I am hoping that THIS IS ALL IT IS, I will completely quit marijuana, I guess I’ll have to wait and see if it happens again without me smoking, with me THERE IS NO STAYING HOME? JUST FEELING SICK? I HAVE TO GO TO THE EMERGENCY, I AM BOUNCING AROUND MY ARMS AND LEGS, THE MUSCLES ARE INSANE, I am not really conscious, but I am? it’s very hard to describe, there is no diarrhea, but I have to admit constipation has been a problem all my life, but I am extremely underweight, which is why I smoke in the first place, to help me have an appetite,this has literally now really started to affect my life, the episodes are happening more frequently, this last two episodes I have gone to emergency, go home after over 24hrs in, only to go right back the next day? FOR MORE POTASSIUM, AND I AM NOT STILL VOMITING? in between episodes I am not sick, I don’t feel ill at all, and there is no warning when the episode will take place, I feel extremely lucky when I hear people spending 35 000 dollars for TREATMENT? surely I would be dead if I had to PAY to get well, we get FREE HEALTHCARE, THANK GOD! I HAVE HAD fluoroscopy, and endoscopy, with biopsies, they found mild inflammation in the stomach, nothing to warrant the severity of the symptoms, I don;’t have heartburn, diarrhea, the shaking, muscle spasms, ETC, I must admit I feel terrible hearing the above comment, when at first, the emergency department thinks you’re a drug addict because of the muscle convulsions, etc, MY HUSBAND HAD TO GET ANGRY AND TELL THEM TO CHECK MY POTASSIUM, TAKE BLOOD WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO, and told them I AM NOT SOME opiate user, or serious drug user, I never EVER denied smoking pot when asked, I DON;T LIE, my potassium level was at 2.1, and they thought I was going to have a heartattack, after it’s over, you remember it like a nightmare, your subliminal mind doesn’t forget, but the conscious does, they had mercy on me and gave me an Ativan during the episode( which didn;’t even help)but once potassium given,stomach remedy,they would give me an Ativan again before I went home,all I wanted to do was sleep, and my body felt like I had been hit bya truck,I don’t have constant pain in my stomach or intestines, ONLY during the episodes,
    reading other people’s experiences I can sure see how similar it all is, and I truly believe that is has EVERYTHING to do with the chemicals being used to grow this stuff, and there is NEVER really a way of knowing unless you know personally what’s going on, and most people do not, I keep hearing propaganda, and I must admit when the doctor started talking about it, I was really just shaking my head, thinking WHAT? but then, when one takes a second to truly sit back and think, then you actually read more comments, and experiences, I think this is what’s happening to all of us, and of course because we’re all different, we all have similar but different experiences, this hot shower thing does puzzle me though? I am going to continue to check this site for more comments, I am actually intrigued, I have been smoking since I was a very young teen, and chronically smoking for over 20years,every single day, LOTS of pot, this has been happening to me for about 4 years, I have had 8 episodes, 2 in the last 3 months, this last one just last week, and it hit me really really hard, I don’t drink alcohol, or any other drugs, I drink tea, no coffee, take care everyone, I was so happy to find this, to feel that I;m not alone, if anyone has any questions please feel free to write here, I will check comments regularly to see any new comments, TAKE CARE EVERYONE, quit smoking, that’s what we have to do,

  28. Zach on October 3, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Thank you all for the very helpful information. My fiancé possibly has this disorder. She has been diagnosed 1st with Gastroparesis, which is the paralysis of your stomach. But now that we have seen a new GI physician he believes that she is and has been suffering from CHS. My question is, she is trying to quit and she was on day 3 of no cannabis and then the epigastric pain/episode began again. My fist question is; when does the sickness stop after stop smoking? Second question, how do you treat the sickness and pain (mostly pain) while not smoking cannabis? To add due to my fiancé having the diagnosis of Gastroparesis (which she might not even have b/c of CHS) how can she treat the 10/10 abdominal pain? Thank you anyone for your answers which will greatly be appreciated.

  29. Andrea on January 24, 2014 at 3:19 am

    I am 22 years old, female, not a particularly active person but not a lazy person. Student, waitress, 100% normal person. When I was 19 I had my first round of this and was sick for a month straight. Unable to eat/drink/digest medication, had to be hospitalized a few times. I went from 160lbs to 130lbs. At that point, I’d only been smoking cannabis regularly for a few months. I’d tried it a few times and smoked occasionally with friends since I was 16, but it was never routine and I could usually pass a drug test. I was in the most inexplicable pain, what you others have said to be centered in the gut. It feels empty but cold, extremely uncomfortable. I found hot showers/baths could comfort me sometimes, but in my case, they weren’t “necessary” and sometimes even induced more vomiting (I’d assume due to a temperature imbalance). There were sporadic days within this first episode where I began to feel normal and thought I’d gotten over the incident, only to eat a normal meal and vomit everything, undigested as much as eight hours later. The first round of this was accompanied by all the normal tests and junk that everyone else is saying: CT, hidascan (gallbladder), blood tests of every kind, scope, stool samples, etc., all returning normally. The symptoms lessened and I remained symptom-free (practically) for almost 6 months (during the time I was very regularly smoking cannabis, about 1/8th of an ounce per week).

    The second time the symptoms flared up, I was in much more excruciating pain and such violent vomiting that my physician admitted me immediately to a hospital where they did another round of those regular tests I mentioned, except they did a surgeon-ordered something on my hidascan which ultimately showed that my gallbladder wasn’t functioning at all. It was removed, I was discharged from the hospital the next day and remained mostly symptom-free for another round of six months. Still smoking the cannabis at the same rate, possibly a little more here and there.

    Through both of these episodes, during every hospitalization I was given Zofran, Phenergan, and narcotic pain relievers intravenously. All of these medicines seem to work way better when they’re administered through an IV. Even the dissolvable Zofran pills only work sometimes during an episode, and I can’t even take them if they are the solid pill form because my stomach immediately rejects medication during an episode.

    I’ve had less flare-ups in the past year, and I’d contribute that to a few things. First, my life is a lot less stressful than it was when my body first ever attacked me; I was in the middle of an 18 hour semester at school and I was trying to juggle a failing relationship at the same time. I was somewhat overweight. I also hid the fact that I’d started smoking weed from that guy I was dating, which put excess stress on me. Additionally, I battle with anxiety problems (as I’m sure many of you also do). I now have a job with a steady income (although it is a very stressful job), a very supportive relationship, and a more solid relationship with my family (mainly my parents) than I’ve ever had. I’ve smoked weed through all of this shit because I was under the impression that it made my poor, trembling stomach feel even a little more at ease. While I’m having an attack, weed doesn’t always “magically” make me feel better, but it usually does at least make me want to try and eat, and think less about the possibility of being sick again tomorrow. It doesn’t always make me feel better–sometimes it seems like it does nothing for my stomach–so I’m not sure if that says anything.

    In fact, within the last year, I’ve only had two major flare-ups of this. The first in August 2013 was when I moved into my own place for the first time, and I wouldn’t say I was stressed at all. I was more excited than I’d ever been in my life, which made no sense (after all this time every doctor always said stress was the trigger for my attacks). It lasted 4 days and I did have to be taken to the ER for fluids. The most recent time, I just got over (as in three days ago I stopped throwing up). It lasted a week (longer than they have lasted since my gallbladder was removed), same symptoms and everything. No ER, but an urgent care clinic visit set me up with an IV and I felt better almost right away.

    I’m not exactly sure why or if all of these specific things even matter to my case, but at this point, I cannot lose any more weight and I really must do whatever possible to prevent these flare-ups from now on. I’m not totally convinced that quitting smoking will do it for me because my brain wants to assume my body will continue the pattern of episodes, but if it is what will stop them from occurring, I am willing to quit. I fucking love smoking weed. It’s made me feel better so many thousands of times, and I’m really sad that I have to take a trial period away from it to see if it’s the culprit. If it is, I’m extremely glad to know it’s something as simple as not smoking to keep me from feeling so terribly. If it isn’t, then I’ll be pretty disappointed, because almost every other disease/syndrome that shares symptoms with CHS is way more difficult to treat, if it’s treatable at all.

    I don’t even know if this is a current thread. I hope all of you the very best in your endeavors and struggles with whatever GI problem you all may have. I feel very connected to all of the testimonies shared here because we all share that common train of thought: “why the fuck is this only happening to me?”At least, in this, we are not alone.

  30. Derek on March 8, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I’ve also recently been diagnosed with cannabinoid hyperemesis. A lot of people don’t believe it exists and think it’s some sort of made up syndrome, but I can tell you it is very real. I suffered from all these symptoms for the last 7 years and was in and out of several hospitals for everything from pancreatitis to severe dehydration. I started smoking marijuana at age 18 and smoked until I was 27 (my current age). The hot showers were the only thing that would take the horrible sick feeling away and it’s hard to explain how awful you feel when the sickness hits in the morning. I was sleeping maybe 3-4 hours a night, lost 25lbs and my kidneys were in horrible shape because I couldn’t keep liquid down and was constantly in the hospital for dehydration. The doctors took out my gallbladder and appendix thinking that was the cause, and I still was waking up with horrible nauseau and abdominal pain. They then diagnosed me with Cyclic Vomitting Syndrome which is so close to Cannabinoid Hyperemisis that it is hard to tell the two apart. I was told there was no cure for that and I would just have to put up with being sick.. My health was deteoriating and during my last hospital stay a young doctor brought up Cannabinoid Hyperemisis and said “Lay off the Pot”. Like a lot of other people I thought he was crazy and thought to myself “doesn’t marijuana help nauseau”? All this time up until that point I was smoking to try and get rid of the nauseau because I thought it would help it and give me the munchies so I could try to gain weight back. I decided to stop smoking and after about 2 weeks I was not waking up sick and I was at the doctors last week and am up to 175 lbs (my original weight). I gained over 20 lbs just in 2 1/2 months and I cannot believe how much better I feel. I’ve never felt healthier, don’t wake up sick, am getting sleep, and am back to my old self. I’m not saying marijuana is a devil drug or anything, it’s just for some reason my body couldn’t handle it. Marijuana isn’t addicting like alcohol, cigarettes, or other hard drugs. I was able to stop smoking right away with no signs of withdrawl or any urges to smoke or anything. It’s just amazing that I could have saved all that money on hospital bills, surgeries, water/electric bills from all the hot showers I needed to take, and all the other expenses just by not smoking weed. I’d still have my gallbladder and appendix too, so I just wanted to type this little message to let everyone know it is legitimate and does unfortunately exist. Like I said, most people can smoke and be fine, but for some odd reason there is a select population of people who it makes deathly sick after chronic use. Hopefully someone who has these symptoms will come across this page and it will save them the time, money, and life by being able to diagnose what is wrong with them because it is a really unknown syndrome to a lot of people and doctors. I was missing work, lost my girlfriend because she was sick of me being sick, and lost 7 years of the best years of my life to this and it sucks, but I’m so glad to finally know what was causing it and to be feeling 1,000,000 x’s better than I was. If you experience these symptoms, smoke a lot of pot, or can relate to anything I wrote, you probably are suffering from Cannabinoid Hyperemisis and luckily all you have to do is quit smoking weed to feel better!

  31. Derek on March 8, 2014 at 1:42 pm


    It sounds like you definitely might be suffering from CH. I think you will notice stopping smoking will help. I was also prescribed Zofran and Phenergan and can relate to it mostly helping only in the ER when it was through IV’s. I think if you stopped smoking you will feel so much better and get back to your normal weight. Don’t worry about ‘feeling fat’ or your image or what the hell else people say, your health is most important. You will feel so much more productive if you don’t already (since you wrote it in January). and once you realize how good you feel it makes you want to live your life to the fullest after feeling deathly sick and like a zombie for so long. I loved smoking weed too and smoked ‘all day errr-day’ it was fun, relaxing, and made my me feel very open minded and my imagination ran wild. I had some fun times smoking but trust me once you stop and feel better you won’t want to smoke just by knowing how sick you felt before. From what my doctor said if you stop for a few months it might not make you sick by smoking maybe once or twice a year on special occasions, but it’s up to you if you want to risk that. I stopped for 4 months and did smoke once the other week (when I was drunk), I didn’t wake up sick or anything (just hungover), but I don’t even want to risk it and regret smoking that night. It really sucked the first week not smoking but once your body is clean you feel so much better and look back and realize you could have avoided a lot of bad times if you just didn’t smoke. I really hope it’s only Cannabinoid Hyperemsis and I promise if it is you’ll feel so much better by just not smoking. Like I said, I love mary-jane just as much as you, but unfortunately our bodies can’t handle it, but luckily there is an easy cure. I was depressed from all the stress, friends passing away, and other shit in my life so maybe you are also suffering from depression and used marijuana as a crutch like I did to forget about all your problems and to just to feel better. If you were having relationship, image, and other stressful problems, then you might want to go see a psychiatrist. Don’t feel crazy by doing it, so many people go see them and you’d be surprised at the people you see in the waiting room. It’s normal professionals who just either have a lot of stress or had some bad things happen in their life. I always thought bad things about anti-depressants and medication like that, and still do about a few of them, but I was prescribed to Effexor and it has me thinking so positively and you feel like your old self. Maybe you don’t need any medication at all and that’d be awesome, but we seem to share a lot of very common similarities and symptoms so it might be worth looking into. Just know you aren’t alone and I really hope stopping smoking improved your health and life!!

  32. Dan on May 1, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Hey everyone! My name is Dan and I have been suffering with these symptoms for over 20 years. I finally found this diagnosis and it fits me to a T! The hot water,the cyclic vomiting, up to 36 to 48 hours is the longest I have ever been able to go without being hospitalized. By luck I was in the emergency room and after three shots of morphine three shots of promethazine and a shot of something the doctors thought would help my physician was on call and come down to help for the first time. After all the emergency room could do he gave me a shot of medicine called nubain. His intention was to put me to sleep. After the shot within minutes it went away. After that every time I got sick with these symptoms he would administer me with a shot of this medicine. I’m here to say that it works every time. I want everyone to know who is suffering with this that it is a effective medicine against this condition but!!! There’s a catch. The medicine is extremely addictive!! Your body can become dependent on of this medicine. Prolonged use or daily use is not suggested, you have to quit smoking, in order to fully avoid the symptoms or sickness. I have been in ICU 3 times since January just to try and get me off this medicine. Usually takes 2 to 3 days using lorazepam, Seroquel, and thorazine,and benadryl in an attempt to snowball me to sleep. Usually this works!! I just want everyone to know that this is a possible medicine to help stop the attacks but is not a cure all it causes other issues as well if abused. Please use caution. Nubain or nalbuphine is its clinical term and there is a national shortage of this medicine it can be hard to get, my hospital doesn’t have it my physician has to order it. It is an opioid!! If anyone has questions I would be glad to chat although what I have previously wrote sums it up pretty much. Next attack ask your physician if its possible to try but please be aware that this medicine does and will cause other issues and is not a cure at all it can take over your life if you are willing to keep going down that road!!! Good Luck it has been a long battle just don’t want to see anyone suffer from this. Please let me know if you attempt this and it works I’m the only one who seems to have tried this and we found it by luck. Again good luck in your journey I am just starting mine and I believe that the key is you need to stop or it will not change and please don’t wait as long as I have!!! Dan:)

  33. SAM on May 12, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    As IAy in the tub right now soaking in a hot bath..this is my 22nd bath in 48 hrs. This is my 2nd time going thru CHS and it is unbearable. All the hospital has done is given me some fluids and sent me on my way. Doctor was very cold towards me. I am in such bad shape. My whole family expressed extreme concern when they saw me yesterday… I’ve been extremely stressed as of late so I know that’s been detrimental as well…I feel like admitting myself to a rehab. This is along the same line as detox from hard drugs if you ask me and no one seems to wanna help me!!! :(

  34. SAM on May 12, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Good to know I’m not the only one out there

  35. Dan on May 20, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    talk to your doctor about a shot of nubain during your episode you will be amazed by the results! the medicine feels like your stoned anyway but kicks the hell out of the symptoms I mean stops them in there tracks. it may be hard to find though they claim that there is a national shortage and the hospitals don’t use it anymore. I found that the bigger pharmacies can still get it. just don’t get used to it. its addictive! work with your doctor on this I can almost guarantee it will help.

  36. Jeanette Gastelum on June 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Crazy me and my husband looked up if hot showers were bad for him while he was having shivers and cold sweats and vomiting due to gastritis which is what he was diagnosed with this is what came up and wow were we shocked this answers so many questions we had. It all makes sense now I want to go show this to all the emergency room doctor s we ever visited.

  37. Anon on July 24, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Wife and I have been smoking pot for years without symptoms. But in the last three days she’s been vomiting continuously – so this AM I took her to emerg. Maybe the Doc was a pot head because he came up with this diagnosis within the first few minutes of talking to her. It’s interesting that one of the other posters mentioned stress as a factor, as she’s definitely been suffering from that.

  38. Ryan on August 1, 2014 at 5:22 am

    Another CHS victim here: male, early 30’s, smoked marijuana since I was 13 on and off. I actually gave it up for a few years in my late teens/early twenties, but started again in 2005 and haven’t had a day off since. My intake has increased tremendously, especially with the recent widespread availability of more concentrated forms (wax, budder, oil, shatter, etc.).

    At my peak about a month ago, I was dabbing a total of 10 grams of BHO in addition to around a quarter ounce of flowers (bud) on a weekly basis. Since I made the oil myself for a while, I know what it took to produce “X” amount. On average, we would get about 20% recovery from good material. That would mean that it would take about 50 grams of premium bud to get 10 grams of concentrated oil, but this could vary quite drastically – with as little as 8% recovery or as high as 32% on one occurrence. In standard measurable terms, this would equate to approximately 2 ounces/week for me at my peak, give or take. I have read about users online in forums using this amount or more without any reported problems, although I’ve noticed that online testimonials can tend to inflate the truth. The strange thing is, I have 3 friends that have used as much as me and have been using for several years with absolutely no CHS issues. I have seen with my own eyes that they dab as much or more than me in one sitting, which is why I never directly associated the marijuana use with my CVS-like symptoms. One thing to point out – they each have attested to taking a week off every year or so, which might allow the body to “reset” itself + not reach a toxic level. Or possibly some people are susceptible and others not – more research to be done.

    I was hospitalized for 7 days (finally) after more than 3 years of going through CVS-like symptoms on and off. The vomiting has actually been happening for 7 years or so, but it was very random and not super invasive at first. It would usually occur if I had an empty stomach, but more often in the middle of a meal. I would have to run to the bathroom to vomit, but feel back to normal immediately after and return to finish the rest of the food. It got extremely debilitating starting in January of this year – just in the last 7 months I have lost more than 40 pounds of body weight due to the constant vomiting. Today is day 21 clean for me (yay!) and I vow never to touch the stuff again now that I am convinced that it was the source of my problems. My urine was still showing positive for cannabinoids at day 16 – not to my surprise – as I expect it to be in my system for a while.

    I had identical symptoms to everyone else in this thread. It would start unexpectedly with a cramping/gassy feeling like I couldn’t get a burp out. Then nausea would almost always ensue minutes later, followed by several vomiting episodes per hour with extreme sweating, rapid heartbeat and a sharp stabbing/burning stomach pain. The vomit would initially be food/water, then a orangish thick substance or sometimes greenish bile-like fluid. Many times I could get it under control with hot showers, meditation, sipping water, etc. but the problem continued to worsen where I had no options at home or at work for relief and was getting pain attacks several times daily. Unfortunately, I had to succumb to the Emergency Room for help – on more than 30 instances over the last 3 years. The ER is there to treat the immediate problem and send you home. The Catch 22 here is that my MediCal health insurance was so bad that getting an appointment with a primary doctor has been nearly impossible, as they are booked for months. When I did get an appointment, they refused to do the proper tests even after I asked for a colonoscopy 2 years ago. Finally, after 4 ER visits within 3 days and Dilaudid (hydromorphone) 2-3mg + Zofran 4mg being the only temporary fix, my family and I convinced the doctor to admit me for GI testing.

    They did find severe colitis, gastritis, something called C-Diff (highly contagious bacteria in GI tract) and removed a colon polyp after performing an endoscopy and colonoscopy. I have been through a gamut of tests prior, including ultrasounds, x-rays, ct-scans, blood tests, etc while in the ER, all coming back as non-extraordinary. They actually removed my appendix about 1 month ago when I was in for my normal pain. The doctors thought it was slightly enlarged and detected an elevated white blood count. They actually admitted fault later – it was an unnecessary surgery but they usually err on the side of caution. I’m presently taking medications to hopefully combat the inflammation, but it is unclear at this point if I will make a full recovery. I am, however, staying super positive and doing everything I can to facilitate the return to normal health. I will meet with my GI doctor in a couple weeks to get more conclusive results on my biopsies – expecting the symptoms to subside by then based on other testimonials here (fingers crossed).

    The most upsetting part (which infuriates me actually), is that the general consensus worldwide is that marijuana is totally safe, will not cause long-term problems, offers relief for many different chronic conditions, etc. I remember reading a statistic that nobody has died from cannabis in any reports in the history of mankind. I was under the assumption that there would be no danger with daily usage – even in the highest amounts. I am finding out that this is NOT true. I have been to hell and back and it is not fun! I actually found out about CHS while in the ER when a friend found this article and made the connection. Interestingly, I asked every nurse/doctor who treated me during my stay and on average, 1 in 10 had even heard of CHS or acknowledged that it could be possible (of >25 I spoke with).

    Another frustrating thing was when nurses/docs would assume I was there for drug-seeking behavior since my ER visits were so frequent and there was no explanation for my overly extreme symptoms. My worst “pain attack” episode occurred about 3 weeks ago, when the hospital was backed up and couldn’t intake me for nearly 2 hours (not including the hour I struggled with it at home). I honestly didn’t think I could make it through the experience – I remember praying that I die rather than go through another agonizing minute.

    I am quite alarmed that the entire medical community is still mostly unaware of CHS, even ~8 years after its discovery. I will do my best to distribute info to various hospitals – if it could help just one person it would be worthwhile. I fear that this will become more widespread over the next several years, with easy access to more potent concentrates, ease of getting a “medical card”, legalization in some states in the USA, general ignorance of CHS, etc. I was in denial at first (as expected with any drug), but at this stage obviously willing to do anything to get better. It is unclear if the CHS caused my colitis/gastritis/c-diff but I am pretty sure it contributed. My diet was pretty wretched as well, with many fast food visits weekly, several sodas/energy drinks daily and not enough water intake. I found a small connection between dehydration and the worsening of symptoms – staying hydrated would mean I had a better chance of not suffering a pain attack or the severity might not be as extreme (or in some cases would help me to burp, giving mild relief).

    Anyone else suffering this, I feel for you! I’m a big, strong guy and not afraid to admit that this put me down to the point of screaming and crying in pain on some instances. I am still getting pain attacks every 6-8 hours or so, but they are resolving sooner and not reaching the intensity like before. I was prescribed heavy-duty pain meds to manage the symptoms which aren’t like getting the nearly instant relief intravenously but I am not complaining! What has improved is the nausea and vomiting (10 days without vomiting, knock on wood!) – It now leads to straight pain now bypassing the first two stages. I’m also able consume solid food with little irritation and noticing signs of improvement each day. I have since made a complete lifestyle change – NO drugs whatsoever (unless needed temporarily while I get through this), complete diet revamp and exercise/physical activity several times weekly – no exceptions!

    By the way, I’m still suffering from withdrawal effects after abstaining from cannabis cold-turkey. The most noticeable symptom is a non-stop surge of energy. I have slept an average of ~2 hours per night for the last couple weeks, but do not feel tired. Even potent sleeping pills, bedtime tea with natural herbs for sleep, binaural beats, tea lights/oil burner and anything I can do to induce sleep do not seem to help much. When I do manage to fall asleep I awake in pain and a puddle of sweat shortly after, but those symptoms have drastically improved over the last few days.

    Also, as others have probably noticed with a higher tolerance, I wasn’t getting “stoned” anymore. I just smoked it to feel “normal” again. I would get extremely moody when I didn’t have my drug, and regret verbally attacking my friends and family in the process. So far I have a totally new outlook on life – I am actually happy now! I find myself singing to myself, smiling at strangers and engaging in positive activities now that I am clear from cannabis. What a fog I was in! A total proponent/advocate/defender of cannabis here has completely changed course, although I still think it is useful for people who actually need it – cancer/chemo patients, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, pain relief/insomnia from surgery, etc.

    I find myself doing things I put off for years and trying to focus all this extra energy on doing productive activities. I am looking forward to a whole new life – what a rut I was in before and didn’t want to acknowledge the truth. Cannabis held me back in so many ways, but I can only look toward the future with no regrets – this possibly happened for a reason and I can’t wait to see what life actually has in store for me!

    I apologize for the lengthy post but wanted to be as thorough as possible. Good luck everyone!

  39. Ryan on August 1, 2014 at 7:53 am

    A few more points:

    I don’t know why I didn’t mention this, but another aspect for me during my pain attacks was an almost involuntary, jittery, twitching type motion throughout my body – mostly evident in the legs. It was basically almost impossible to sit still when the attack came on and reached a level 9 or 10 on the pain scale (I tried to reserve my 10’s for only the most extreme attacks, as they would not accept a higher number). When the nurse or doc tells you to hold still and refuses to treat you until they get a proper blood pressure reading, it is quite a sinking feeling when the cuff keeps failing to register a proper reading. One of my docs even threatened not to treat me unless I held still – waiving off the Dilaudid shot and telling me “hold still or I will discharge you right now!” It is hard to describe the feeling when being threatened by your doctor as it was something largely out of my control. After passing his tests, proving that I was listening the whole time to his explanation of the medication, held still enough for a physical examination along with whatever else I could do to satisfy him, I was finally able to get some pain relief. I considered this doctor/patient relationship quite inhumane and uncompassionate, but “you can’t win ‘em all!”

    I read in a couple prior posts that people were trying to find a link between this condition and pesticides in the cannabis. Without going into too much detail, I would say I am 100% sure this is not the case, as I used to cultivate it myself. I methodically used only the finest ingredients as well as incorporated a complete 1-2 week water flush at the end (overkill compared to the grower’s standard of just a few days). I even checked the TDS in the water runoff, being sure that the total dissolved solids were under 100 PPM (from >1000 originally) and did the most thorough cure possible to ensure only the finest end product. This was both using standard soil as well as hydroponic methods – and I can tell you that the Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome symptoms were happening all along, only reaching their peak when my usage reached its peak. I’ve had a trusted source for many years straight, only reverting to the cannabis collectives on a few rare occasions to “fill in” for a day when I couldn’t even discipline myself enough to not go through several ounces at a time like it was nothing.

    I noticed that the more you have access to marijuana, the more likely it has potential for abuse. I had a system in place insuring I would never “run out” – with this type of framework, I would think that falling victim to CHS would be a natural progression; it’s just a matter of time. My past behavior only shows that I am not always the most disciplined person so limiting my use was nearly impossible. I know of only 1 friend who smokes cannabis on a regular basis my age whom I would consider successful in life and truly on his way to full potential. He has a system in place where he only smokes on special occasions with friends which is actually quite rare for a cannabis user. A few of my other cannabis smoking friends you might at first see as successful, but after digging a little deeper, I truly think that each one of them could go WAY farther in life – these people are not dummies! If you are still living at home into your 20’s and 30’s, I would say that is a tell-tale sign that your priorities are not straight and the drug is taking priority. Every other one of my typical “pothead” friends can’t seem to hold a decent job down, are constantly neglecting important life activities, not there when you need them, are totally jumbled with priorities and generally not clear headed, as well as “snappy” and moody, as I used to be. It’s this type of addictive personality that can fall prey easily, as proven in my case and others I have witnessed first-hand.

    The important thing is not to blame yourself, hold judgments or go into denial as it is so easy to do. If anything I’ve covered rings a bell, then you might want to consider that you have an addiction. Even if CHS was not a real life epidemic, I can tell you that being cannabis free is WAY better and I am finally able to think clearly for the first time in so many years.

  40. Jennifer Carter on August 7, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I am so glad I found this site! I am a licensed nurse, and I believe my boyfriend suffers from CH. What makes his case unusually difficult is thathe is a type 1 diabetic with documented gastrointestinal nerve damage (gastroparesis with rapid emptying, aggravated by Flux aging blood sugar levels) that causes almost identical symptoms, but at the same time, he suffers “unusual” or “atypical” symptoms that have all of his specialists grasping at straws over treatment. All of the doctors though, have brought up CH as a potential culprit, or at least contributor to his cycles of GI distress and vomiting.
    He refuses to accept this, stating he had no relief after stopping cannabis for 3 months. I don’t know if this is true, as it was before our relationship, but I have my doubts.
    This is the first time I have read sufferers from CH relate having attacks specifically upon waking waking, and this is just one more matching piece of the puzzle. The other symptoms:10/10 cholicky epigastric pain, uncontrolled vomiting, severe anxiety/panic and depression (although severe pain and mood disorders are closely related no matter the cause), relief achieved with IV dilaudid and I Zofran (drastically more effective than PO version of either), heavy pot smoking (a good 1/8 daily), dysthermia (more on this below), intolerance to rapid temperature changes (stepping outside into suddenly colder air or into a hot shower from ambient room temperature), predictable epigastric pain upon waking, and finally- he sits in front of a small space heater when the pain is bad, for hours at a time- all night most nights- blowing the hot air directly onto his face or belly, regardless of how warm or cold the air temperature is. He says this relaxes him and eases the pain.
    Anyone with any medical training will know that most these symptoms can be explained in relation to complications from the Diabetic neuropathy. However, having lived with him for the better part of a year, I am convinced that most of his suffering is CH.
    Given that the “usual” treatments for gastroparesis have been mostly ineffective, and many of his symptoms do not fit the typical profile for gastric neuropathy, AND the fact that a week-long hospital stay will “fix him up” for a few weeks-even though nothing different happens there except that he receives his Zofran and dilaudid IV instead of PO as at home, AND he is not SMOKING POT.
    For those that want to instantly dismiss my opinion as anti-weed propagand, nothing could be further from the truth. As a nurse, and an occasional smoker myself, I am an advocate of compassionate use. Personally, it is the most effective treatment for PMS and menstrual cramping I’ve found :-) , and I would recommend trying it first before man-made chemicals for all the GI conditions and pain it is known to help with. I do believe in its potential for abuse, especially in relation to mental health / social disorders, but that’s an issue for others to work out!
    I don’t know how to convince my boyfriend to at least attempt abstinence, as he is bull-headed, won’t ever admit to being wrong, AND he has the diabetes and neuropathy diagnoses to hide behind. I can’t continue in this rationship, as his frequent ER trips and hospital stays have cost me my job, my relationships withave my children and friends, and have become too stressful on my life. If I could find a scientific causal effect, I think I could convince him, maybe. Any NEW or CURRENT research out there?? Thank you everyone for sharing your stories, I wish you all a long, healthy life.

  41. J,K on August 9, 2014 at 12:50 am

    I feel everyone’s pain, literally! History: I have smoked for 2 decades every single day! I started having the symptoms shortly after I received my Medical Marijuana card 4 years ago. It started out as a random experience happening maybe once or twice a month in the morning. I did not really associate this with the use of pot until about a year ago when I was hospitalized for severe issues. I underwent colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures and the gastro doctor came up no conclusion. They suggested that maybe I had allergies to certain foods. I had be tested for celiac and lactose intolerance and in both cases it came back negative. I had all the allergy tests performed on my back and the doctor said I was allergic to rag weed and thistle. I was finally asked by a doctor if I had any other habits that he was not aware of. I responded that I smoke medical marijuana chronically. He replied that since Medical marijuana has become legal, he has seen an influx of patients experiencing similar symptoms and described this condition as a gastro paralysis. He believed it was because of the potency’s of today marijuana plays a big part in this condition. Though I was in denial then, I am convinced now that I have developed this syndrome as my symptom’s fit Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome to a T. In the past two weeks my condition worsened and started happening every single day! I stopped for two days and felt a little better experiencing some of the symptoms with less nausea and no vomiting. I smoked for three day consecutively and was extremely sick every day and even into the mornings the next day. Compulsive showering is understatement, as I would stay in the hot shower until the hot water ran out each time. This always seemed to temporarily stop the extreme stomach pains and nausea, though I would then repeat this over and over. It was not uncommon for me to take 10 -20 showers before my symptoms could become bearable to finally pass out and sleep as it made me severely fatigue. These episodes also would last anywhere from 4hrs to 12hrs. I have now decided to quit for one month to clean my system. It has been five days since I smoked and I feel my symptoms are improving, though I have had massive diarrhea (liquid) smelling like raw sewage usually triggered shortly after I eat something. I haven’t eaten well for the past month and have lost 10-15lbs. I am really underweight now weighing only 150lbs, when I should weigh 175lbs +. My father in law is a doctor and suggested that I quit for awhile and combat the diarrhea with Pepto. I just got done taking Pepto so I really have no more further information at this time. Not smoking really sucks and it has been somewhat difficult to quit at this point in my life. It is amazing that what made me feel good and motivated in the past is now making me feel terrible and sick. I hope that in time I can smoke again, though I don’t believe my intake will be as it was in the past. I believe doctors and universities should be studying this syndrome extensively as marijuana is becoming legal everywhere in the US. and likely become more apparent. Medical marijuana doctors should also be making patients aware of the possible side affects of using marijuana chronically. Hopefully someone will develope a possible remedy pill or something to combat this disorder because “I love smoking pot”. Its frustrating and somewhat depressing to not be able to smoke when everyone I know, does! Good luck to everyone else experiencing and combatting this disorder!

  42. Ryan on September 19, 2014 at 4:35 am

    Hello there. I just wanted to share a brief update since I posted last on 8/1/14. It has been 70 days since I last used cannabis and I am extremely happy to report that all my symptoms no longer appear. I no longer vomit, no longer have “pain attacks,” no longer have trouble with stomach gas after eating and all my withdrawal symptoms have completely vanished (insomnia, depression, irritability, night sweats, etc.).

    My last pain attack was on August 10th, approximately 1 month after abstaining from marijuana. I actually had to make a final ER visit that night after making a bad choice and trying some new restaurant food (greasy Brazilian BBQ). Vomiting ensued and wouldn’t cease, even after several Hydromorphone 4mg and Morphine 15mg pills.

    I continued to get indigestion-like symptoms for another week or two after that, with trapped stomach gas after eating anything more than small snacks. Gas-X (Simethicone) pills actually helped quite a bit during this period, but eventually these issues no longer became a problem. Night sweats also went away around this time and I began to get more than just 2-3 hours of scattered sleep. I am now on a totally normal sleep schedule (7-9 hours nightly) as well as a new healthier diet and NO drugs.

    Interestingly enough, I am still testing positive for cannabinoids in the urine using 50 ng/ML at home kits. Two weeks ago a very faint test line appeared, so I am under the impression that the drug is on its way out of my system. I have been doing as many things as possible to eradicate the drug from my body. This includes going to the gym 4 days a week (with 15 minute sauna sessions at least twice weekly), drinking 15 or more glasses of water daily, niacin pills (which I have had to discontinue due to a flushing reaction) and vitamin C pills. I fear that it will take a long time to completely eliminate – a good friend reported to me that his buddy tested positive for as long as 180 days after quitting (a daily oil/wax user).

    One important thing to note: I have developed 6 cavities in just the past 6 months. The dentist informed me that my tooth enamel is extremely thin, which is undeniably from the hundreds of vomiting episodes I experienced. In hindsight, I wish I had rinsed my mouth out with mouthwash after each experience, but at the time I was living in such a nightmare that this was the least of my concerns.

    In brighter news, I have returned to school full-time for engineering and finally decided to do something with my life. This also included quitting my dead-end sales job to pursue more important arenas. I KNOW that this never would have happened if I continued to smoke daily, so I consider this horrible experience a blessing in disguise. My stoner friends, in contrast, have continued to do nothing with their lives and their unreliable and lackadaisical nature have become even more apparent to me now that I am clean.

    I am convinced that cannabis is a dangerous drug, just as bad as anything else – if not worse! Anyone reading this should consider that there are much better things in life than getting high all the time. Smoking/dabbing was fun, but being a success is immeasurable!

  43. J,K on September 22, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    The doctor I saw may have been right to a certain point, though he ma have overlooked the pesticide part of mast production of marijuana get rich quick growers. I was sick for two weeks after I stopped smoking pot. I started smoking again with some but little relief. I switch dispensaries and started smoking all organic marijuana from and all organic marijuana dispensary. t has been three weeks and I haven’t been sick once since except when I smoked the pot I had left from the other dispensary. I was sick the entire next day with major episodes as I had described before. I believe the dispensary I was consuming pot from for the past three to four years was using some chemical in the growing operations which was poisoning me. I’ll keep you posted as I am still experimenting with this solution.

  44. James on January 14, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    First of all, thank you to everyone for posting your responses. This seems to be one of the more commented on posts about the topic I can find. Its comforting knowing others are going through the same things and finding answers and getting better. I notice many similarities between my situation and many others on here, but with a few differences and a few other learned behaviors that help it. I tend to be overly verbose but will try to keep it short and sweet. (I just finished writing this and see I failed at that… 120wpm and a deep interest in this topic will do that)

    I am currently 24, started smoking at 16 and was a daily user almost immediately. Marijuana initially helped my anxiety, helped with back pain and I enjoyed being high. For many years it acted on me like it acted on almost anyone, increasing appetite while letting me eat almost anything, helped me sleep and gave a mild euphoria.

    How it started
    When I was 18 I moved into my own apartment and went from smoking 1 or 2 bowls a night to smoking 6-10 bowls a day. I loved it, and weed for me makes me productive and helps me focus. My diet went to hell and I remember one day I ate almost an entire bag of candy and threw up the next day. What I threw up was not at all like what I put in… I mostly ate “Payday” bars – peanuts in caramel – and what came out was more like a black sludge. This was terrifying and I went to the doctor who diagnosed H Pylori and gave me antibiotics to treat it. I felt a little better and my diet flipped overnight – from junk food, fast food and sweets to home-cooked meals made of healthy and organic food. I felt great for 3-4 months, beyond the diet change I had a total lifestyle change where I was exercising (I’d smoke a bowl and go biking about 1-2 hours every day) and just staying active overall. Then my girlfriend was in town and when she was there I was biking less, going outside less, and smoking a lot more.

    First time it happened – 2009
    I woke up one morning in terrible pain. I used to get this piercing pain in my lower abdomen and thought it was just that. Usually after 5-10 minutes it goes away. So I tried to stay calm, not think about it, and go back to sleep. I think I managed to fall back asleep for maybe 20 minutes before being woken up with such pain and severe nausea that I woke up, jumped out of bed, and ran into the bathroom all in one swift motion. I immediately (almost before I got to the bathroom…) started vomiting and I threw up what seemed like the full contents of my stomach and upper intestine. There was some green and some dark almost black sludge coming up (this has not occurred in subsequent experiences except green once, but thought it might be worth noting). Eventually I emptied my entire stomach contents and started dry heaving for a very long period of time.

    I must have been in the bathroom 2-3 hours at the least before my concerned girlfriend really started to push to see what was wrong. I told her I must have just ate some bad food but I knew better and she quickly realized this was something out of the ordinary. I told her I’d go to the hospital as soon as I was ok to get out of the bathroom. But then a second wave came over me of more dry heaving. Uncomfortably perched over the toilet I decided this bile that was coming up would be fine to go down the shower drain and by happenstance the first time I had a problem I discovered the hot shower helped the symptoms. Things calmed down, I started to feel almost completely fine, and so I brushed my teeth, showered and got out to get ready to go.

    I ate a little before we went to get something in my stomach – some toast and I think an egg. I started to feel sick again before even leaving the apartment but I told my girlfriend I’d go to the hospital so I didn’t tell her and tried to drive there. She came with and about 5 minutes into the drive a bout of nauseau came over me unlike any I had experienced before. While driving I got so lightheaded I almost passed out – I think the only reason I didn’t was because in a brief brief moment of consciousness I realized and consciously thought “I’m about to pass out… and I’m driving with my girlfriend” and snapped back. I got off on the next highway exit, pulled into the first parking lot I could, stumbled out of my truck as soon as I could and fell on my hands and knees and vomitted everything I just ate. I don’t know why I didn’t go to the hospital, guess because I had never had a reason to go before and thought maybe it was just a stomach bug. Girlfriend drove me home to my parents and she walked home (for clarification, she was going to school out of town, but our parents both lived in the same neighborhood), I took a long hot shower at my parent’s house, dry heaved a bit, but things got better by the evening. I made a doctor appointment and doctor diagnosed as H Pylori, I took the medication for it and it did help. I looked up my symptoms at this time, found Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome, but dismissed it as bogus. I continued smoking way too much but the nausea was not present for a long time.

    Then it continues…
    Early 2011 I had my second “attack” so to speak. I was driving to California with a friend as I was buying a car over there. Smoked some pot along the way (I don’t endorse it) and was having a good time. Got a hotel ready to leave the next morning to get the car and head home. I woke up at like 3 in the morning, ran to the bathroom and vomitted profusely. My friend heard, and asked if I was okay – I asked if he could get me some Pepto Bismal which he did. It didn’t help at all (made things worse if anything, as eating/drinking often does), but it made my vomit a lot more colorful. Thankfully hotels have a lot of hot water… checkout was 11 am, but I was so sick I ended up paying for another night just so I could stay in my little comfort zone in the shower. We ended up leaving at 3pm that day. Overall the pain in this experience was not that bad but the nausea was tremendous and debilitating.

    In 2012 I had a few various experiences with nausea but I didn’t link it to the CHS I already knew about or my smoking. Its easy to not see the correlation since you can smoke every day for years and not have problems but then just overnight its like a switch gets flipped and you get sick.

    2013 I started to suspect CHS a little more but wanted to look at other avenues first. At this time I was smoking 1-3 bowls a night, usually small bowls, on average I’d say I smoked one “full bowl” a night, split into two small bowls. It didn’t necessarily get me high but it got rid of that “boring” feeling you get when you are used to being high and find yourself sober. Took the edge off I guess. I couldn’t sleep one night because I was short of breath and couldn’t take a deep breath, this was accompanied with mild nausea. It always felt to me that after getting high, its like I ate so much that my stomach and intestines were pushing against my lungs keeping me from breathing easily. I tried to sleep from 1am-4am. At 4am I gave up and was looking up stuff online but not thinking about CHS, due to the nausea being minor compared to the breathing problems. By 5:30 I had had enough and went to the hospital. They diagnosed it as two things. First was GERD, saying my troubles breathing were related to the acid from my stomach coming up my esophagus when I slept, which would burn and scar the delicate tissue in the throat, which is designed to clean and moisturize the air coming into the lungs.

    For those with breathing problems (may or may not accompany the nausea)
    The second condition that was diagnosed in this timeframe (hospital recommended I see an ENT specialist who discovered this) was my sinus cavities would collapse so when I breathed in through my nose, my nose would get pulled shut so to speak. This meant all night I would breathe through my mouth, which would further exacerbate my dry throat problems. The sinus problem is problematic because your nose, with its mucus and fine hairs, cleanses and moisturizes the air going into the lungs even more effectively than the lining in your throat. The sinus problem I do believe I have, but I am started to second guess if I have GERD. I can often eat things that shouldn’t be allowed in a GERD diet and I’m fine. I think, based largely on what I’ve learned just today reading these posts here and elsewhere, that what may really be happening is the marijuana for some reason is preventing food from moving through my digestive system as intended. So when I sleep my body tries to digest all this food and pumps all this acid into my stomach to digest the food but the food goes nowhere – so 4 hours later (on average) I wake up after all this acid has built up in my stomach. The food may have found it’s way into the upper intestines by now so won’t be expelled but the excess bile will be.

    Just FWIW, I will be having a surgery to remove some of the turbinates in my nose (I think thats their name… mine are too big) and to put in a plastic strip in the bridge of my nose to keep it from closing. I now wear “Breatheright” strips at night, as they help keep the nose passageway open. These helped a LOT. If when you close your mouth and inhale really quickly from your nose, it snaps shut, you may find help with these. The reason I mention this is because this exacerbated my problems a lot. Honestly I may never have looked farther into this problem were it not for the breathing problems that sometimes accompanied the nausea. Living in Arizona my problems in this regard were bad off the bat because we already have dry air here, couple that with acid hurting my esophagus the dry air I was breathing 8 hours a night just made things worse and made me feel worse overall.

    Back on topic…!
    Shortly after I went to the hospital for GERD I got my wisdom teeth pulled and didn’t smoke for 2 months. Things were great. I felt healthy, I was exercising and feeling better than ever, I no longer felt tired all the time and I could wake up at 7am bright eyed and chipper and go eat a huge breakfast. But I had to watch my parents house for a bit and since I can be bored there a bit I started smoking again and though I didn’t want it to, it became a regular habit again. But this experience gave me the knowledge that without weed, I would be healthier. And maybe more importantly it proved to me that this CHS thing was maybe real.

    2014 I had a few sporadic cases of it (usually just nausea in the morning, waking up at maybe 10am… better by noon…). These cases seemed to be isolated to eating certain foods and eating right before bed so I figured it was a diet problem. I stopped eating 3 hours before bed (hard when ya got the munchies…) and I cut out certain foods from my diet and symptoms improved. I was following a GERD diet which is based around foods that are easy to digest and not overly acidic. However, I gradually started waning in more and more items that would not be appropriate for someone suffering from GERD.

    2015… we are now two weeks in and I’ve had two “attacks” already
    So, I’m self-employed, and my business was doing pretty good last year. So I was smoking a bit more than normal. After the break I took after getting my wisdom teeth out, I went to 1 bowl a day. Then a little while later… 2… then 3, then like 6 bowls in a 5 hour period (I don’t smoke during the day). For a long while things were good despite this excessive consumption. I could eat almost anything and feel fine.

    But after a month or so (late 2014) of this heavy use I gradually felt the… veil (for lack of a better term)… of marijuana use was falling over me. That cloudiness you get in your day to day life even if not high all day. Weirdly, I would be productive while high, but when sober I’d want to smoke before doing anything because smoking made things fun… or so I said, it never really did. The laziness came back and following soon after were the stomach pains, which despite being completely COMPLETELY gone after a month of stopping marijuana consumption, were now back in full force. I managed my diet and things got better without smoking less, by now I knew I was essentially battling CHS and wanted to find a way to continue to get high without sacrificing my health. But one day I had a chili cheese dog from Sonic (fast food chain). The next morning I felt like dieing. I blamed the fast food thinking it was some preservatives or something in it that did this. So I decided that this was it, I couldn’t take anymore. I either had CHS and was going to address it or it was my admittedly lacking diet causing this. I got the best ingredients I could, healthy organic stuff, and replicated a few fast food meals that made me sick. Things were certainly a bit better with the food I made, but I still got sick the next day.

    That little experiment was three days ago. Two days ago I gave all my weed and paraphenilia away. I’m going to have to quit at least for a lengthy time. I do plan on smoking a few times a year, maybe once a month… maybe eventually on just weekends (I HATE drinking, marijuana is really my only vice). But I think its important to smoke irregularly enough that your body can get rid of enough of it.

    Strictly theorizing here – the problem, as I see it, and as others have mentioned, is the build up of the components of marijuana in our cells. This buildup is why I think I also get that “cloudy” feeling when I’m sober but have been smoking every day. Its hard to say for sure exactly whats going on. Part of me thinks marijuana “jumpstarts” your digestive system, giving you the munchies, moving things through the intestines… but then when you have a lot of marijuana, excessive amounts of the compounds build up in the cells, so the intestines are always being overworked, until eventually things grind to a halt. May be potassium related as someone mentioned, where your body runs out of the fuel it needs to make your intestines function well. Marijuana no longer gives me the munchies. Maybe in the future that will be the red flag saying “You need to smoke less…”

    I’m going to take at least 4 months off before smoking even once more. I hope I can find the self control to not be a daily smoker anymore, because I know now without a shadow of a doubt it is negatively affecting my health. I truly believe marijuana is a medicine, but that was a shortsighted justification for smoking it when I was younger. Now, I realize that even if it is a relatively healthy and banine drug, when used in excess it has it’s problems like anything else.

    Other factors that may or may not be related (I’m sharing for the sake of thoroughness and knowledge)
    - I had severe abdominal pangs as a kid, right below my bellybutton, which were infrequent and never diagnosed. I also have or had ashtma.
    - When I was 17 I was arrested and during probation I smoked spice. After that, my tolerance was never the same, the effects of real marijuana were never the same (imagine feeling like you took 1/2 a hit after smoking a whole bowl, and that feeling is your ceiling) and the effects of real marijuana started to change. I smoked spice for only maybe a few months and was sober for the last month of my probation, giving my body time to get close to a “base” tolerance level. I am unsure how directly spice affected everything, but I think ultimately the dangers of spice came more from it making real weed not getting me as high, causing me to smoke more. Spice is a full agonist to the receptors marijuana acts on as a partial agonist. I wish I had never smoked spice. Its not worth 3 months of getting “high” during probation to ruin getting high on real weed for the rest of your life. I will say that eventually my tolerance got down to reasonable levels, but its still like… every time I really get high, I’m thankful (and surprised)

    What can you do to mitigate symptoms of CHS?

    I think the one thing that seperates me from many people here is, I’ve known about CHS for years. I’ve always been aware of it and tried to treat the symptoms so I didn’t have to change the underlying cause. So here are a few things…

    Hot showers
    These helped me a LOT at first. Almost completely remedied the problem. However, in time they no longer helped as much, and now, I still feel nauseous in the showers but the hot shower can be JUST enough to keep me from vomitting (when its bad enough I still vomit in the shower). When I wake up feeling sick now, I go straight to the bathroom, run the water on cold (just to get pipes up to temp), and I’ll get a magazine or read stuff on my phone/watch vids on my phone. I’ll just sit on the toilet or on the ground and wait for the nausea to get unbearable. Then I crank it to hot, jump in, once I’m feeling better I’ll hop back out and turn water off. I’ll stay in the bathroom until I feel better – usually noon to 1pm though the nausea sometimes lingers all day. I’ve also tried to use heating pads. I don’t know why (there must be some odd biochemistry going on…) but it never seems to help as much. When I’m nauseous but out of my “shower phase” as I call it – aka its bearable, vomitting is no longer imminent – I’ll sit at my computer with a heating pad on my back.

    Varying temperature in the shower
    This might muddle the understanding of CHS but I want to mention it. One thing I found really helped me when hot showers alone didn’t help was varying the temperature in the shower. It started when I was so sick I couldn’t wait for the water to heat up (as I had learned from my first experience that hot showers helped) so I jumped in the shower cold. At first it made everything worse… but then by the time the water had warmed up, I started to like the cold water (I normally hate cold showers and still today only take cold showers when sick). So I started to vary the temperature, keeping it cold until I felt really nauseous then going to hot until I felt too hot. I didn’t put it on a warm setting and left it there. I varied it from full scalding burning hot to freezing cold, I wanted to make my body work, to either vomit and feel better, or digest and feel better. There were times when I would go in feeling really nauseous, the heat would help the discomfort but then I’d end up staying in it on cold for minutes at a time. On more than one occasion the cold temperature seemed to actually cure the physical ailment. I thought it was weird at first, but it worked so I kept doing it. I still do it up to today (I started reading this thread in the shower… with one hand out of the shower holding my phone, one hand changing the temp dial…).I think the cold helps start your body’s metabolic process. I’m not a scientist but as I see it, your body is working harder to maintain body temperature when you use colder water. Working harder = burning more calories = needing to digest more. So while hot water may alleviate symptoms, cold water may actually help the underlying problem (which appears to be insufficient digestion)

    Keeping and sleeping upright
    I found that laying down flat made things worse. I can’t sleep out of a bed but if you can find a way to sleep upright, to let gravity help you digest, I really recommend it. Helping to manage GERD includes putting cinderblocks under one side of your bed as to elevate it, to help gravity pull food through your system, otherwise on a flat surface, gravity is fighting your stomach. Test this before doing something more serious by putting a pillow or two under your upper torso, so your stomach is at a much lower position than your mouth.

    Exercise and diet…
    I don’t want to touch too much on this because it’s obvious. Exercise and a good diet make even healthy people feel better, so taking care of your body when you have an illness is definitely a good idea. I’d recommend eating a “GERD” diet for a short period if you are constantly vomiting bile (that means too much acid, GERD diets are designed to help facilitate a low acid environment). If you are vomiting full meals, I’d recommend cardio or just general exercise. Go be active, give your body something to use all the food for. Simply put – your body is not going to digest what it doesn’t need.

    Be prepared to make a change
    I, like many other “stoners” dont necessarily like change. This is the hardest thing for me, because 1/3 of my life now I’ve been a smoker. If you guys are anything like me, you have your little habits and your rituals… you may not even realize it but, you load your bowls the same way or roll your joints the same way, smoke in the same spot or maybe with the same people and smoke the same way and generally do similar things when high. The biggest thing to me was to be willing to let go of my nightly smoking ritual, to be willing to deal with the boredom for a couple weeks. I’m a creature of habit so it wasn’t a matter of necessarily removing my ritual but replacing it with something else.

    …but not too much of a change
    This may sound odd but the times I was able to succesfully quit was the time I was willing to make the least changes. If you say “I’m going to quit smoking, eat healthy, exercise every day, go back to school, get a new job and move to a new city!” then thats a LOT to do at once! Start small. Quit smoking. Then, change the diet. Then exercise and do whatever else you want. Take baby steps, every day you don’t smoke you’ll feel better and eventually you won’t think about it. If you try to change everything at once, you will fail at one and then you’ll justify to yourself failing at the other things you committed to. “I didn’t exercise today and had McDonalds for lunch… may as well have ONE joint”

    I am thankful I was never in as bad shape as some of the other posters here. Sure, during the 10/10 “attacks” I was really suffering (they did get REALLY bad… almost “call an ambulance even though I dont have medical insurance” bad) but these are isolated incidents and in between I’m usually fine or with a uneasy stomach at the most. I only ever noticed physical pain during dry heaving or particularly violent vomiting attacks. I hope everyone suffering from CHS can find help and feel better. Unfortunately for those of us who enjoy smoking and even worse for those who need it medicinally, the only way to really stop CHS seems to be quitting smoking entirely. I have no personal experience but

    I personally believe the following are factors in CHS:
    Marijuana that is too strong – too much THC (>15%) vs. the stuff in nature we know is safe (<5%) thus potentially accumulating too fast in our bodies, potentially causing toxicity
    Pesticides or other chemicals used in the marijuana building up in our systems
    Overworking or fatiguing of the systems marijuana affects

    Just one last thing… my biggest problem quitting (because I've known it was making me sick for awhile) was because by the time I was ready to smoke for the night my stomach felt better. I would wake up feeling sick, sometimes lasting through the day… but at night I'd smoke. It helps things for maybe 30 minutes before things get worse. I quit by finding a new hobby to do at night to replace my smoking time. I hope anyone looking to quit and struggling like I was can find a way to quit. Marijuana is a good drug but needs to be used in moderation.

  45. tablenyc on January 20, 2015 at 11:31 am

    im in complete shock I’ve finally found this. Ive been in and out of hospital, doctors, ers, urgent cares since my early 20′s. 32 years old now. insane stomach cramps, twists, non stop vomitting, pains, the only cure, HOT WATER.
    and yes ive beem smoking pot on a daily basics from 15/16 years of age. finally a result, i love my pot and this is going to be very hard for me but no more sickness and my love of food back. yes please!!! thank you to everyone for sharing there stories, each one i read it reminds me of my suitation. thanks again!!!!

    heres to feeling and looking heather. thanks again.

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