New Dangerous Syndrome from Marijuana

Marijuana leading to hospitalization

I am sure this will become wildly debated as proponents for marijuana legality and use are very vocal. With this in mind, we are going to explore cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome or CHS, a syndrome that manifests from marijuana use after years of regular marijuana use.

Due to marijuana’s complex effects on the body, it is hard for scientists and doctors to nail down exactly what causes the syndrome.

The syndrome surprises most who get it since it can take some time to show any symptoms. There are three phases of the syndrome known as Prodromal phase, Hypermetric phase, and Recovery phase.

Prodromal Phase

Once this phase starts to manifest, people can go weeks or years without realizing that CHS is the cause. This phase has symptoms that occur mainly during the early morning and includes abdominal pain and morning nausea. This often leads to people in this phase increasing marijuana consumption thinking it will help stop nausea.

Hypermetic Phase

This is when CHS intensifies, the main symptoms include:

  • Reoccurring vomiting spells
  • Intense stomach pain
  • Enduring nausea

These symptoms can lead to weight loss, due to lack or loss of appetite. This can easily turn into a dangerous situation with dehydration.

During this phase, people will take lots of hot showers to alleviate nausea. They do this as the vomiting occurs often and is intense and overwhelming. This phase will continue until the individual stops using marijuana. This is usually when a person first seeks medical help.

Recovery Phase

During this time, symptoms will stop or dissipate (assuming the person has stopped marijuana use). It can take days or months for the symptoms to fully cease. Though symptoms will return quickly after a person begins marijuana use again.

There have been quite a few cases of CHS and a few fatal cases so far. What causes CHS to have a fatal effect is dehydration. We didn’t have the time to go through and find every fatal case of CHS, but we did find at least two cases that CHS was credited as the cause and one in which CHS was a contributing factor.

The deaths of a 27-year-old female, a 27-year-old male, and a 31-year-old male with a history of CHS are reported.” —Journal of Forensic Sciences

There is more information out there about CHS and what to look out for. However, there is no clear scientific agreement on what the cause of the syndrome is outside of regular marijuana use. This syndrome is still being studied and hopefully, we will hear more in the near future.

As always, if someone you know is struggling with addiction contact us, we offer free assessments and referrals to help those needing addiction treatment.



Aaron has been writing drug education articles and documenting the success of the Narconon program for over two years.