Cannabis for Nausea – Cannabis Provides Immediate Relief
January 18, 2022
by Ma Raim
Cannabis has been used for treating nausea for many years. Dronabinol and nabilone, both synthetic cannabinoids, were FDA approved in 1985 for nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment and those suffering from extreme weight loss as a result of AIDS.
It took a while for the research to catch up to anecdotal evidence. Now researchers believe cannabis provides immediate relief of symptoms associated with nausea.
Description of Nausea
Nausea is the feeling of uneasiness in the stomach that often comes before vomiting. While nausea is not a disease itself, it is a common symptom of many conditions, such as:
If you regularly experience nausea and don't know the cause, speak to your primary care provider. An underlying issue could cause nausea.
Nausea may also be associated with other gastrointestinal issues. Learn more about using cannabis for gastrointestinal problems such as IBD or IBS here.
Treating Nausea with Cannabis - What the Research Says
Studies show that endocannabinoid receptors are present in the stomach. The endocannabinoid system can stimulate other areas of the body involved in digestion and metabolism, including skeletal muscles and the pancreas.
Much of the clinical research on the impacts of cannabis on symptoms of nausea has focused on cancer patients and mitigating the effects of chemotherapy treatment.
A 2011 study found cannabis is an effective treatment for managing symptoms of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients – this included anticipatory symptoms.
Anticipatory nausea is a conditioned response that occurs with the anticipation of planned chemotherapy when there were previous issues with nausea and poorly controlled vomiting. Anticipatory nausea occurs in approximately 25% of chemotherapy patients. This means that the person begins to feel nauseous before receiving treatment due to prior negative experiences.
A review of 30 studies on cannabis and nausea found that cannabis tends to be more effective in reducing symptoms of nausea than traditional medication. In these studies, typical doses were:
How Does Cannabis Work to Treat Nausea?
The key to understanding how cannabis impacts symptoms of nausea is first understanding what's happening when we get nauseous.
We know more about the physiology of vomiting, which is impacted by the brain, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. One crucial part of controlling symptoms is the brain and gastrointestinal tract receptors that produce and bind with the neurotransmitter serotonin. This is why serotonin receptor antagonists tend to be an effective medication choice.
Studies show that CBD relieves nausea and vomiting through interaction with serotonin-releasing receptors. At the same time, CBD helps ease anxiety and stress, which can help manage the negative experience of chronic nausea.
CBD or THC for nausea and vomiting?
THC also reduces nausea and vomiting through binding to specific CB1 receptors in the brain. For some, the uplifting and euphoric experience of THC can be an added benefit. In contrast, it can be a cause of additional stress for others.
Using Cannabis to Manage Symptoms of Nausea
There are several different ways to use cannabis to manage symptoms of nausea and vomiting. You may have a favourite consumption method, but some methods work better than others for specific scenarios. Here are a few things we suggest:
For Chronic Nausea
Have CBD as part of your health and wellness routine.
Use your favourite consumption method daily to keep symptoms of nausea away. CBD capsules are the perfect addition to one's regular routine; take it in the morning with your everyday supplements. But maybe you prefer edibles or a tincture.
You can also combine THC and CBD for additional relief. If you're new to THC, start small and increase slowly over time.
For Anticipated Nausea
If you anticipate symptoms of nausea as a result of motion sickness, medical treatment, etc. Consume cannabis an hour or two before the expected onset of symptoms.
Edibles can be an excellent choice for anticipated symptoms as they're absorbed through the stomach and have lasting body effects. Try THC or CBD edibles, or combine the two, whatever works best for you.
Learn more about dosing edibles.
For Nausea Flare-ups
Unexpected nausea? Try the fastest routes of administration for immediate relief of symptoms. Smoking, vaping, or a tincture tend to be the most appropriate for flare-ups as they are absorbed into the body the quickest.
If nausea is something you experience regularly, experiment with a few consumption methods and keep a cannabis journal to determine which methods and doses work best for you.
Traditional Treatment for Nausea - Why Cannabis is Better
As studies have shown, cannabis tends to be a more effective treatment for managing symptoms of nausea. Why?
The medications used to manage symptoms of nausea and vomiting are called antiemetics; these include over-the-counter medications such as Benadryl, Gravol, etc. While these medications are relatively mild, they also tend only to be used for mild symptoms of nausea, such as that experienced with motion sickness.
For more extreme cases of nausea, as associated with chemotherapy, more potent medications are typically used. These are associated with harsh side effects, including dry mouth, dizziness, constipation, fatigue, and heartburn. And still, they sometimes don't provide the relief that patients are seeking.
Ready to try cannabis for managing symptoms of nausea? Check out our online dispensary today.
Further reading on cannabis and health: