First described in 2004, CHS typically affects long term consumers of cannabis more so than casual users.
By Andrew Ward
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is a rare condition that is believed to lead to intractable nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain in cannabis consumers. The condition can last days or weeks, returning for months. CHS’s origins remain uncertain.
Awareness of the condition has grown in recent years, first mentioned in a lab study in 2004. Still, some continue to push back on CHS as a condition, questioning its severity or sometimes considering it a misdiagnosis. Advocates for the legitimacy of the condition cite support from leading hospitals, including Cedars Sinai and studies from The Mayo Clinic.
An Austin, Texas-based study released on Tuesday analyzes underlying genetic mutations in heavy cannabis flower and concentrates consumers in an attempt to better understand and identify the genetic markers of the condition.
Using “the largest contemporaneous database,” the study compared CHS diagnoses and symptoms of heavy-cannabis consumers.
The analysis adds to an incrementally growing pool of studies. “CHS is remarkably stereotyped in its presentation,” the study notes, pointing out that nearly 75% of CHS patients are consumers for at least one year and all suffer from recurring severe nausea, vomiting and other possible adverse effects over several months.
Key Findings And Breakthroughs
Analysts concluded that their research is the first “to note associated mutations in genes affecting neurotransmitters, the endocannabinoid system, and the cytochrome P450 complex associated with cannabinoid metabolism.”
In a press release, CReDO Science CEO and study co-lead, Dr. Ethan Russo, stated that “These important preliminary findings contribute to the growing body of knowledge, stimulate additional investigation, help elucidate the pathophysiology of CHS and, ultimately, direct future treatment.”
Len May, CEO of Endocanna Health, also co-led the study.
The results came from a pool of 585 heavy cannabis-consuming respondents through an online survey. Of the subjects, 28 patients and 12 controls finished genomic testing.
While the final pool was smaller than anticipated, researchers believe more results will come through ongoing questionnaire submissions and testing, said CReDO Science COO Nishi Whiteley.
Next Steps: CHS Treatment
Whiteley added that the company is assessing its next steps, with the current high priority focused on “coming up with treatments that are affordable and sensible for the patient that will help provide them immediate relief.”
Relief options arose from the study but did not appear consistent at this time.
Whiteley added that the results revealed that one consistent remedy did not work in the study. Instead, various options showed promise depending on the individual and the side effects they experienced.