Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome: When THC is Paradoxical
Strong abdominal pain associated with nausea and vomiting: these are the unpleasant symptoms of cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. The permanent consumption of cannabis can cause this condition. Hot showers help the sufferers against the symptoms. The exact cause is not yet known, the treatment is simpler.
Up to a dozen times, affected ones have to surrender in an hour. This is the peak of the symptoms of cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). The vomiting episode has been announced by nausea and severe abdominal pain. Affected are usually long-term grass consumers – whether they took the drug for medical reasons or not, does not matter.
In 2004 the syndrome was described for the first time in an Australian study. Since then there have always been attempts and scientific tests on this subject area with different output. It is clear that in a fraction of the cannabis users, the plant active ingredient THC does not have the usual effect. In the medical field, cannabis is used, among other things, as a remedy for severe pain, nausea and an appetite .
Symptoms of cannabis hyperemesis syndrome: nausea and vomiting
Due to the rather nonspecific symptoms it may take some time before the doctors can make the diagnosis. Nausea, violent vomiting and stomach pain occur in many diseases. However, the behavior of the persons concerned is very specific: they may be under the boiling hot shower several times a day, or bathing in very warm water. The hot water alleviates the symptoms for the moment. This is not clear. It is assumed that the thermal stimulation of the skin cells influences temperature-regulating centers in the brain and thus reduces the stimulus.
The constant hot showering can lead to burns which the patient sometimes does not even notice. Moreover, the constant washing can lead to a compulsive behavior.
CHS course: disease occurs phase by phase
During an acute phase of cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, dehydration of the body may occur. Through the constant transfer, the organism loses large amounts of fluid. In addition, the appetite is lost and the person concerned loses weight. This intensive phase can last for 24 to 48 hours. Then they disappear again. This is followed by a complaining-free time, in which appetite and body weight normalize again.
Fatal is that many consumers with the onset of nausea increase their cannabis use because they think the THC can alleviate the nausea.
Therapy: medicines do not beat
Medicines that relieve nausea and vomiting do not strike in most cases – on the contrary: sometimes the symptoms worsen after taking. The only sensible measure against the CHS is the renunciation of cannabis. After several days of abstinence, the symptoms subsided, if the affected person remains clean, they do not come back.
Reagents such as lorazepam may help the affected person to exceed the episode, but not infrequently lead to a dependency and therefore can not be used in any case.
Is THC as a tablet an alternative?
If the cannabis is prescribed for medical reasons, such as cataracts or concomitant chemotherapy, and there is a cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, a different dosage form can be used. The attending physician may administer THC in tablet form. Here the active substance from the cannabis is contained, but the dosage can be reduced. So there will not be any impact on the perception and also the negative effects of smoking fall away.
Since March 2017 it is possible in Germany to get cannabis on prescription. The medicines Dronabiol, Sativex and Nabilon are made on the basis of cannabis. The cost of the treatment pays the health insurance since the law change.
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