Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome in North America: evaluation of health burden and treatment prevalence

Link to article at PubMed

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2022 Oct 28. doi: 10.1111/apt.17265. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is a poorly understood vomiting disorder associated with chronic cannabis use.

AIMS: To characterise patients experiencing CHS in North America and to obtain a population-based estimate of CHS treatment prevalence in Canada before and during the Covid-19 pandemic METHODS: Internet survey of 157 CHS sufferers in Canada and the United States. Administrative health databases for the province of Alberta (population 5 million) were accessed to measure emergency department (ED) visits for vomiting, with a concurrent diagnostic code for cannabis use. Three time periods of 1 year were assessed: prior to recreational cannabis legalisation (2017-2018), after recreational legalisation (2018-2019) and during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic (2020-2021).

RESULTS: Problematic cannabis use (defined as a CUDIT-R score ≥8) was universal among the survey cohort, and 59% and 68% screening for moderate or worse anxiety or depression, respectively. The overall treatment prevalence of CHS across all ages increased from 15 ED visits per 100,000 population (95% CI, 14-17) prior to legalisation, to 21 (95% CI, 20-23) after legalisation, to 32 (95% CI, 31-35) during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic (p < 0.001). Treatment prevalence amongst chronic cannabis users was as high as 6 per 1000 in the 16-24 age group.

CONCLUSION: Survey data suggest patients with CHS almost universally suffer from a cannabis use disorder, which has significant treatment implications. Treatment prevalence in the ED has increased substantially over a very short time period, with the highest rates seen during the Covid-19 pandemic.

PMID:36307209 | DOI:10.1111/apt.17265

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