Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome: Incidence and treatment with topical capsaicin

Med Clin (Barc). 2022 Aug 26;159(4):183-186. doi: 10.1016/j.medcli.2021.07.028. Epub 2021 Oct 28.
[Article in English, Spanish]


There are few studies in Spain on cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), as well as on the use of topical capsaicin as a treatment.

Methods: Retrospective study of patients over 14 years of age seen in a hospital emergency department during 2018 and 2019 with a diagnosis of CHS based on the following criteria: compatible clinical picture, cannabis use less than 48h and positive urine cannabis test. Epidemiological and clinical variables, attendance times and treatment (including use of topical capsaicin 0.075%) were collected.

Results: Fifty-nine attendances were studied, from 29 patients (4.4 cases/10,000 visits, 95% CI 2.8-4.7). Fifty per cent returned for CHS, differing only in more tobacco (P=.01) and cocaine (P=.031) use. Capsaicin was used in 74.6% of visits. The mean time to resolution of vomiting after application was 17.87min.

Conclusions: Although probably underdiagnosed, CHS has a low incidence in the emergency department in Spain, with high patient recurrence. The use of capsaicin ointment is efficient and safe.

Keywords: Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome; Cannabis; Capsaicin; Capsaicina; Síndrome de hiperémesis cannabinoide.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Cannabinoids* / adverse effects
  • Cannabis* / adverse effects
  • Capsaicin
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Marijuana Abuse* / complications
  • Marijuana Abuse* / drug therapy
  • Marijuana Abuse* / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Syndrome
  • Vomiting / chemically induced
  • Vomiting / drug therapy
  • Vomiting / epidemiology


  • Cannabinoids
  • Capsaicin