Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome Causes

There are more than 400 different chemicals in the cannabis plant and almost 60 of them are cannabinoids. The pathophysiology of cannabinoids is simple but the other chemical components makes it difficult. These compounds have complex action through out the body. These chemicals show their effects in both gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system.

Increased intake of Marijuana is the main cause of cannabinoids hyperemesis syndrome. It imparts very complex effects on the body. Marijuana when effects brain, it imparts totally different effects of cannabinoids hyperemesis syndrome. It helps to treat or prevent vomiting and nausea. Marijuana is the useful drug which is used to stop nausea and vomiting and other symptoms in people having chemotherapy.

In case of digestive tract, marijuana has opposite effect. It may trigger nausea and vomiting in patients. Initially the use of marijuana Impart calming effect because the messages of Central nervous system are considered important than digestive tract messages. So marijuana Impart anti nausea effects initially. But if patient start taking drug regularly with increase in dose, then the receptors of brain cells become desensitized and stop responding to marijuana. So this is considered the main cause of severe and reapeated bouts of vomiting in people with cannabinoids hyperemesis syndrome.

There are two main theories which are proposed to understand the pathophysiology of cannabinoids hyperemesis syndrome. 1st one is cannabinoids buildup theory and 2nd one is hypothalamic theory.

Both of these therorie are based on the following concepts.

  • Buildup of cannabinoids in body due to increased dosing and toxicity. 
  • Functioning of the receptors of hypothalamus in brain regarding marijuana. 

The exact mechanism behind severe and uncontrollable vomiting is still unknown. Organic diseases are not considered as a possible cause for cannabinoids hyperemesis syndrome.

Cannabinoid Buildup Theory

The fat soluble cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol THC that can easily find it's way to store in person's fat. As THC has long elimination half life. So whenever person feels stress and low energy, these stores of tetrahydrocannabinol THC start consuming themselves to produce energy for the body. That's how the already stored tetrahydrocannabinol THC start releasing. Tetrahydrocannabinol THC can then move toward the blood stream and as a result a high concentration of this cannabinoid can be diagnosed. This mechanism is also termed as "reintoxication effect". There is another cannabinoid named cannabigerol works by antagonizing the anti emeting effects.

Hypothalamic Theory

A Cannabinoid obtained from cannabis can increase the activity and functioning of cells of hypothalamus in brain. This Cannabinoid is named as cannabidiol. Along with this, tetrahydrocannabinol THC acts on a specific receptor of brain to produce hypothermic effect. It lowers the body temperature. So hot water bath helps a lot in reducing the symptoms of Cannabinoid

Hyperemesis Syndrome

This was all about the possible causes of Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. The compounds of cannabis specially marijuana are responsible for causing this syndrome. At low dose, it feels refreshing but at high doses, it disturbs the whole system of hypothalamus and digestive tract leading to Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.


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