Mental Health Book

Hallucinogen Use Disorders




Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Aka: Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome
  1. Pathophysiology
    1. Associated with chronic Marijuana use
    2. Proposed Mechanisms
      1. Cerebral fat deposition of lipophilic Marijuana metabolites with frequent Marijuana use
      2. THC binding to vanilloid receptors in the Hypothalamus (transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor, TRPV1)
        1. Low THC concentrations and warmer Temperatures (>109.4 F or 43 C) are Anti-emetic
        2. High THC concentrations are pro-emetic
  2. Diagnosis
    1. Essential criteria
      1. Chronic Marijuana use
    2. Major criteria
      1. Severe cyclical Nausea or Vomiting
      2. Abdominal Pain
      3. Weekly Marijuana use
      4. Resolves with Marijuana cessation
      5. Hot showers or baths help to relieve Nausea
    3. Supportive criteria
      1. Age under 50 years
      2. Weight loss over 5 kg
      3. Symptoms predominant in morning
      4. Normal bowel habits
      5. Negative diagnostic evaluation
  3. Management
    1. Home
      1. Marijuana cessation
      2. Symptomatic relief with hot showers or bath
    2. Emergency Department
      1. Antiemetics (e.g. Ondansetron, Prochlorperazine, Promethazine, metoclopramide)
      2. Capsaicin cream (0.075 to 0.25%)
        1. Applied thinly with gloved finger over a palm sized area of the Abdomen
        2. Peak effect in 20-30 minutes and lasts 3 hours
        3. May work on vanilloid receptors in Hypothalamus (similar to the action of a hot shower)
        4. Dezieck (2017) Clin Toxicol 55(8): 908-13 +PMID:28494183 [PubMed]
      3. Haloperidol
        1. Haloperidol 2 mg IM
        2. Jones (2016) Case Rep Psychiatry +PMID: 27597918 [PubMed]
  4. References
    1. Orman and Zodda in Herbert (2018) EM:Rap 18(2): 10
    2. Oxentenko (2011) Mayo Internal Medicine Review

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