Does Stopping Cannabis Improve Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome?

Cannabis use has been linked to hyperemesis. However, a recent cross-sectional study (T Venkatesan et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020; 18: 1082-90) that stopping cannabis rarely results in improvement in cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS).

This study enrolled 140 patients who had CVS with a mean age of 37 years, all seen at a specialized clinic; 41% were current cannabis users and were classified as regular users (≥4/wk, n=30) or occasional users (<4/wk, n=26).

Key findings:

  • Only 1 of 56 (2%) reported that cannabis abstinence (for a month) resolved their CVS symptoms and 1 of 56 (2%) noted improvement with cannabis abstinence.
  • 27 of 56 (56%) reported that cannabis abstinence worsened their CVS symptoms; 19 (40%) reported no change with cannabis abstinence
  • Only 1 patient taking cannabis met Rome IV criteria for cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). This patient subsequently resumed cannabis with a higher proportion of CBD (less THC) without recurrence of CVS symptoms.  This provides some support to the idea that THC in cannabis is responsible for CHS.

My take: (borrowed from authors) “If a patient with CVS and chronic regular cannabis use is refractory to standard therapy, we recommend a period of abstinence of at least 6 months or a duration of time that exceeds at least 3 consecutive cycles.”

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