Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is an illness that was completely unknown to me until a close friend of mine was diagnosed with it a few months back. My initial reaction was incredulous: “What? Really? No way!” Since then I have seen an increasing prevalence of this illness among regular pot smokers, but what is it?
Let’s break it down:
Inside these long multisyllabic medical terms is a pretty straightforward condition. Cannabinoid hyperemesis translates in everyday human language to weed makes you vomit lots.
The understanding at the moment is that it is a sort of cannabinoid toxicity resulting from heavy cannabis use. It’s a type of cannabinoid toxicity which affects the body’s homeostatic and thermoregulatory functions, causing continuing nausea and cyclic vomiting.
It’s a strange concept to wrap your head around, especially considering cannabis is known for its anti-emetic properties. With this in mind, CHS is thought to affect certain individuals more than others, suggesting that there is a hereditary cause for the condition that is triggered as a result of heavy cannabis use.
Doctors are still unsure which cannabinoids are responsible for the condition. There are a few bits of information floating around claiming that THC is responsible for instances of CHS, but at this stage there’s no proof that’s true. And until there’s more hard research around it, there’s no way of telling.
It’s one thing knowing about the existence of this illness, but what’s it like living with it?