Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome

Posted by anncgrl @anncgrl, Aug 13, 2021

My 15 year old grandson was given a diagnosis of possible cannabinol hyperemesis syndrome after three trips to the emergency room with strong abdominal pain and throwing up. He had to have fluids, etc. He felt better but continued with symptoms for about a week? Several weeks later the same process happened.

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I know this is very difficult to hear about a person you love, especially a teen. The diagnosis occurs in some long term users of marijuana, and can recur any time they begin using again. Have he and his parents addressed this issue? To me, it would be especially critical to address, because he has a brain and body that are not fully matured, and issues related to chemical use can inhibit full development.

Here is what Cedars-Sinai has to say about this issue: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/c/cannabinoid-hyperemesis-syndrome.html

Are you able to bring up this issue with him or his paretns?
Sue

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Hi @anncgrl I can definitely see how this can be concerning. This diagnosis usually comes after years of daily usage of cannabis according to https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/c/cannabinoid-hyperemesis-syndrome.html
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is a condition that leads to repeated and severe bouts of vomiting. It is rare and only occurs in daily long-term users of marijuana.

Marijuana has several active substances. These include THC and related chemicals. These substances bind to molecules found in the brain. That causes the drug “high” and other effects that users feel.

Your digestive tract also has a number of molecules that bind to THC and related substances. So marijuana also affects the digestive tract. For example, the drug can change the time it takes the stomach to empty. It also affects the esophageal sphincter. That’s the tight band of muscle that opens and closes to let food from the esophagus into the stomach. Long-term marijuana use can change the way the affected molecules respond and lead to the symptoms of CHS.

@anncgrl Does your grandson regularly us cannabis either recreationally or for a medical diagnosis?

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My grandson has been experiencing discomfort in his digestive tract for a year or so. Because of the tension between his parents, who are divorced, no one took Micah to a doctor. Recently, the nausea, vomiting and pain accompanied with dehydration began. This has happened three times requiring ER visits, fluids and some other IV that provides electrolytes.My grandson said it was food poisoning but we know now that it was not. One event involved a gummy with a very high thc content. Not sure wexactly the same. Required recovery time has been several d, ays. Worse in the mornings, frequent hot showers…fits all the criteria?

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@anncgrl

My grandson has been experiencing discomfort in his digestive tract for a year or so. Because of the tension between his parents, who are divorced, no one took Micah to a doctor. Recently, the nausea, vomiting and pain accompanied with dehydration began. This has happened three times requiring ER visits, fluids and some other IV that provides electrolytes.My grandson said it was food poisoning but we know now that it was not. One event involved a gummy with a very high thc content. Not sure wexactly the same. Required recovery time has been several d, ays. Worse in the mornings, frequent hot showers…fits all the criteria?

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Oh gosh, Ann. I'm just catching up on this discussion. How worrisome for you. The content of THC in edibles can be very hard to gage. It sounds like Micah might benefit from some counselling. Poor kid to be dealing with tension between parents along with all the stresses of being a teen these days. Is he continuing to use edibles?

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I have no idea what he is doing as regards edibles or any other form of marijuana. As a recovering alcoholic/drug addict 35 plus years my guess would be he will use again if he has not already. I thought he believed the diagnosis but he doesn’t. Both his parents are casual pot smokers who will argue all day about the virtues of pot. They were, however, shocked into temporary sanity at the diagnosis. He will be going to a therapist who also specializes as a substance abuse counselor and his mom is taking him to a gastroenterologist. Even if the diagnosis changes his use of drugs is substantiated. I am brushing off my Al-Anon skills. If he ends up in the ER again with the exact same set of circumstances his options will narrow. Pot is illegal in North Carolina and he is a minor. As is always the case when drugs are involved nothing is easy or simple.

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@anncgrl

I have no idea what he is doing as regards edibles or any other form of marijuana. As a recovering alcoholic/drug addict 35 plus years my guess would be he will use again if he has not already. I thought he believed the diagnosis but he doesn’t. Both his parents are casual pot smokers who will argue all day about the virtues of pot. They were, however, shocked into temporary sanity at the diagnosis. He will be going to a therapist who also specializes as a substance abuse counselor and his mom is taking him to a gastroenterologist. Even if the diagnosis changes his use of drugs is substantiated. I am brushing off my Al-Anon skills. If he ends up in the ER again with the exact same set of circumstances his options will narrow. Pot is illegal in North Carolina and he is a minor. As is always the case when drugs are involved nothing is easy or simple.

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Hello @anncgl

I just noticed that you posted about your grandson and was wondering how he is doing. Did he get in to see a GI specialist yet?

I hope that he is feeling better.

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Predictably the diagnosis lost any validity to my grandson and his mom and dad. They redefined and found other reasons so the answer is no. No follow-up at all. No further episodes to this point in time. I have no power in making choices in the life of my grandson. I love him and remain committed to his mental health. Throw in COVID, serious disconnects in home life and the challenges mount up. I will update in the near future. I believe he will get high if he has not already. I hate drugs and alcohol with a passion.

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@anncgrl

Predictably the diagnosis lost any validity to my grandson and his mom and dad. They redefined and found other reasons so the answer is no. No follow-up at all. No further episodes to this point in time. I have no power in making choices in the life of my grandson. I love him and remain committed to his mental health. Throw in COVID, serious disconnects in home life and the challenges mount up. I will update in the near future. I believe he will get high if he has not already. I hate drugs and alcohol with a passion.

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@anncgrl

I can certainly understand your frustration. In spite of the love you have for your grandson, you must feel like your hands are tied. Denial is very powerful when people suffer from addiction.

I certainly wish you patience and endurance as you wait to see how your grandson does over the next few months. I look forward to your next update.

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I almost started a new post on this topic because things in our home have ramped up dramatically as regards the cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. First and importantly, my son recently stopped smoking pot as a personal decision to make changes in his life. Until recently he radically opposed any inference that marijuana could be bad for anyone. Now he says he cannot believe how clear headed he feels and how many things are improving for him across the board. This is huge in light of the fact that my 15 year old grandson has continued the use of marijuana since the last emergency room visit with all the same gastric symptoms each time and each time with a high thc content in his system. He had mood swings that were difficult to explain without suspecting drugs but until his dad changed there were no adults in my grandson's life who were willing to take a serious look at the truth.
My grandson was just taken by ambulance to the hospital. He was in the ER two days ago with all the same symptoms of throwing up, feeling very sick in his stomach, etc. All vitals looked good. Tested high for use of marijuana. BUT, this time his dad listened and he is alarmed as am I at the impact on my grandson's body. We have been giving him pedialyte and phenegran and, with the exception of small bits of time, he is still throwing up. Dry heaving throwing up.
It turns out he was not simply smoking pot but he was using a vape pin called "cake" which has extremely high THC content and God only knows what else in it.
So, I know not all people will have these symptoms but I cannot help but wonder how many people in the United States have no idea what is causing them severe vomiting, etc. The information on cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is right on as regards my grandson's symptoms but is rarely diagnosed. I also suspect, with legalization and the introduction of the vape pens, high popularity of cbd, etc. that many people are mixing and matching having no idea there may be physical consequences and they may be suffering a great deal. Sorry, I am on my soapbox, but I have been uneducated regarding the high dosage of thc in some products. The vape my grandson did has extremely high dosages, comes from China and apparently there are warnings on the internet and maybe even on the product regarding the danger of the product.
I urge anyone with loved ones or even yourself who is smoking dope or dope vapes or whatever the heck is out there to get to an ER if you are throwing up and cannot seem to stop and if all other vital signs are o.k. for now. Read up on cannabinoid hypermesis syndrome with an open mind.. Oh yeah. they said people with the syndrome will take frequent hot showers because it soothes them for a time. Guess what? My grandson has been showering far more frequently than normal and saying it makes him feel better.
I am signing off and heading for the hospital. I cannot go in but I can be in the parking lot should they need me. I am over 30 years clean and sober and I hate drugs with every fiber in my being..

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Thank you for sharing this and your own sobriety plus your son getting on the right track. I was unaware of this syndrome and it is well that parents be aware of it. Makes me sad to see young healthy bodies be abused when we at the other end of the life spectrum work so hard to practice good health habits. Prayers for your family.

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I recently started working to get off cannabis edibles for sleep after learning about this syndrome. It's honestly not very well known yet. The dehydration and stress on the kidneys can be life threatening. I would really suggest you try to get that message home to your grandson somehow. There are groups out there that can help him get off cannabis and stay off. One thing I would also suggest is seeing a doctor about the medication gabapentin. There are studies that show it helps people who are quitting a variety of addictive substances, from alcohol to pot.

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@anncgrl

I almost started a new post on this topic because things in our home have ramped up dramatically as regards the cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. First and importantly, my son recently stopped smoking pot as a personal decision to make changes in his life. Until recently he radically opposed any inference that marijuana could be bad for anyone. Now he says he cannot believe how clear headed he feels and how many things are improving for him across the board. This is huge in light of the fact that my 15 year old grandson has continued the use of marijuana since the last emergency room visit with all the same gastric symptoms each time and each time with a high thc content in his system. He had mood swings that were difficult to explain without suspecting drugs but until his dad changed there were no adults in my grandson's life who were willing to take a serious look at the truth.
My grandson was just taken by ambulance to the hospital. He was in the ER two days ago with all the same symptoms of throwing up, feeling very sick in his stomach, etc. All vitals looked good. Tested high for use of marijuana. BUT, this time his dad listened and he is alarmed as am I at the impact on my grandson's body. We have been giving him pedialyte and phenegran and, with the exception of small bits of time, he is still throwing up. Dry heaving throwing up.
It turns out he was not simply smoking pot but he was using a vape pin called "cake" which has extremely high THC content and God only knows what else in it.
So, I know not all people will have these symptoms but I cannot help but wonder how many people in the United States have no idea what is causing them severe vomiting, etc. The information on cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is right on as regards my grandson's symptoms but is rarely diagnosed. I also suspect, with legalization and the introduction of the vape pens, high popularity of cbd, etc. that many people are mixing and matching having no idea there may be physical consequences and they may be suffering a great deal. Sorry, I am on my soapbox, but I have been uneducated regarding the high dosage of thc in some products. The vape my grandson did has extremely high dosages, comes from China and apparently there are warnings on the internet and maybe even on the product regarding the danger of the product.
I urge anyone with loved ones or even yourself who is smoking dope or dope vapes or whatever the heck is out there to get to an ER if you are throwing up and cannot seem to stop and if all other vital signs are o.k. for now. Read up on cannabinoid hypermesis syndrome with an open mind.. Oh yeah. they said people with the syndrome will take frequent hot showers because it soothes them for a time. Guess what? My grandson has been showering far more frequently than normal and saying it makes him feel better.
I am signing off and heading for the hospital. I cannot go in but I can be in the parking lot should they need me. I am over 30 years clean and sober and I hate drugs with every fiber in my being..

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Hello @anncgrl

I appreciate your update and I'm sorry to hear that your grandson is still using and is still suffering from the effects. As you have been sober for over 30 years, you must be especially concerned about his well-being.

If there is good news to be found, it would be that your son is now free from the effects of marijuana. He can at least set the tone in his family and perhaps he can eventually influence your grandson.

Will you post again and let me know how your grandson is doing after this most recent hospitalization?

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