Mental Health Book


Hallucinogen Use Disorders



Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Aka: Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome, Cannabinoid Hyperemesis
  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)
        1. Typically less effective in canabinoid hyperemesis
      2. Capsaicin cream (0.075%)
        1. May work on vanilloid receptors in Hypothalamus (similar to the action of a hot shower)
        2. Emergency Department Protocol
          1. Apply 0.075% Capsaicin cream as a thin film every 4 hours until symptoms resolve
          2. Apply cream to 15 x 25 cm or palm sized area periumbilical area using a gloved finger
          3. Peak effect in 20-30 minutes and lasts 3 hours
        3. References
          1. LoVecchio (2022) Crit Dec Emerg Med 36(6): 32
          2. Dezieck (2017) Clin Toxicol 55(8): 908-13 +PMID:28494183 [PubMed]
      3. Haloperidol
        1. Haloperidol 2.5 mg IV or IM
          1. Some studies have used doses as high as 0.05 to 1 mg/kg IV (higher than typical dosing)
          2. Jones (2016) Case Rep Psychiatry +PMID: 27597918 [PubMed]
          3. Ruberto (2021) Ann Emerg Med 77(6):613-619 +PMID:33160719 [PubMed]
      4. Inapsine (Droperidol)
        1. Dosing: 0.625 mg to 1.25 mg IV
        2. Lee (2019) Clin Toxicol 57(9): 773-7 [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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