Pediatric Cannabinoid Hyperemesis: A Single Institution 10-Year Case Series

Hannah Lonsdale, Kathryn M. Kimsey, Jerry M. Brown, Aditi Dey, Jacquelin Peck, Sorany Son, Michael Wilsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Cannabis hyperemesis (CH) is an under-recognized condition in patients with chronic or cyclic vomiting and who regularly use cannabis. Once thought to be rare, it is now increasingly recognized in both adults and children. We report a case series of adolescent patients with CH who presented at a single institution over 10 years. Methods: Patients were included if they had a diagnosis code of cannabis-related or cyclic vomiting, experienced the onset of regular vomiting after starting to regularly use cannabis, and if no other diagnosis was found to better explain the presentation. Thirty-four patients aged 13–20 years (median 17 years) met the inclusion criteria. Results: The presenting clinical features were broadly similar to adult CH: cyclic nausea and emesis after at least 3 months of regular cannabis use, abdominal pain, change in bowel habit, and symptomatic relief from hot showers or baths. No antiemetic was found to be of particular benefit. Follow-up was recorded in under half of the patients; documentation of drug history was also frequently incomplete. Clinicians should consider CH when assessing any adolescent with cyclic or chronic vomiting. Conclusions: A detailed drug history, preferably taken in the absence of parents or other involved adults and corroborated by urine drug screening, is helpful in substantiating the diagnosis. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm the incidence, prevalence, presenting features, and the effectiveness of treatments, including drug counseling and cessation. Based on our findings, we propose pragmatic criteria to aid in the diagnosis of pediatric CH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-261
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Adolescents
  • Cannabis
  • Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome
  • Cyclic vomiting
  • Marijuana

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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