Nausea is a really common problem and something that none of us enjoy. The cause can be anything from an infection or virus, to simply over indulging. So, finding anything that can help with nausea is a blessing.
In this article I explore the question of can Cannabidiol (CBD) help with nausea and associated vomiting.
In short, it seems that yes it can help with nausea. Medical cannabis is already used to help with nausea in chemotherapy patients. There is good evidence to support the use of CBD for treating nausea, but more research is needed.
To find out my, I searched for the latest CBD nausea studies and clinical trials. Here is a closer look at nausea, its causes and the potential benefits of using CBD for treating nausea.
You will find our article titled What is Cannabidiol (CBD)? very helpful with understanding CBD.
What Is Nausea and What Causes it?
Medical sites describe nausea as an uneasiness of the stomach or the feeling of needing to vomit. In fact, vomiting will most likely follow a feeling of nausea. Nausea is typically a defense mechanism, letting you know that you need to expel the contents of your stomach.
Nausea can occur for a wide variety of reasons, including:
- Motion sickness
- Food poisoning
- Acid reflux
- Gallbladder disease
- Reaction to a strong odour
- Excessive amounts of alcohol
- Infections and viruses
- Early stages of pregnancy
In some cases, nausea is simply your stomach’s way of telling you to eat some food. It can also be a side effect of medication or treatment for another illness.
For example, cancer patients may experience nausea after chemotherapy treatments. According to one study, 59.7% of cancer patients report nausea after chemotherapy.
When nausea becomes intense, vomiting will likely follow. Depending on the cause, nausea often goes away after vomiting. However, it seems that some conditions may lead to chronic nausea.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, migraines, and autonomic dysfunction may lead to a continual feeling of nausea.
Common Solutions for Treating Nausea
People rarely seek specific treatment for nausea. It’s often treated collectively with the symptoms of the condition causing nausea.
When you have a cold or flu virus, you take cold and flu medicine to ease the symptoms, such as sore muscles, upset stomach, diarrhea, and headaches.
Chronic nausea is one of the few issues that seem to require specific treatment. When nausea does not go away, doctors may prescribe anti-nausea medication.
There are also situations where you may need to seek immediate medical attention. If you experience a severe headache or pain along with nausea and vomiting or signs of dehydration, you should visit an urgent care clinic or emergency room.
Some cases don’t require emergency care, but do require a doctor’s visit. If the vomiting lasts for more than two days or you have bouts of nausea lasting more than a month, contact a doctor.
In any situation, home remedies may help ease some of the discomforts of nausea. Common suggestions include:
- Staying hydrated
- Eating a bland diet
- Avoiding strong odours
- Resting and avoid physical activity
- Taking over-the-counter motion sickness medication
Basically, you deal with nausea by treating the underlying cause and taking it easy.
How Can CBD Help with Nausea?
Most people are aware that medical marijuana may help reduce nausea for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. As CBD does not contain the same psychotropic effects as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), maybe it can offer a better alternative.
You can discover much more about THC in our article: What is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)?
After searching for studies on the topic, I found that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) within the Australian Government Department of Health issued a set of guidance documents for prescribing medicinal cannabis for nausea and vomiting.
The TGA reviewed the studies between 1980 and 2017, concluding that medicinal cannabis with high-THC content may help relieve nausea and vomiting. However, the TGA also recommends that doctors only prescribe marijuana after standard approved treatments have failed.
The American Cancer Society agrees that THC may help relieve nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy. The society also states that CBD helps counteract the “high” produced by the THC. So, perhaps the combination of the two is safer and more effective.
What does the research say? An article published in the British Journal of Pharmacology discusses how both THC and CBD contain antiemetic (anti-nausea) properties. Apparently, the endocannabinoid system regulates vomiting and nausea.
Activating the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system promotes nausea and vomiting. Suppressing these receptors helps relieve the symptoms. According to the article, THC has proven effective at suppressing this receptor, while CBD is effective in limited doses.
Researchers believe that CBD indirectly activates the 5-HT1A auto-receptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN). This leads to the antiemetic effects of CBD.
The endocannabinoid system regulates a wide variety of digestive processes, including hunger and appetite. It also regulates nausea and vomiting. As CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, many people take CBD products to help relieve digestive distress, including irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea.
When you take CBD, the compound binds with the CB1 receptors, which limits gastric acid secretion and gastric motor activity. It also decreases the creation of gastric mucosal lesions. These issues contribute to the feelings of nausea and an upset stomach. Besides helping to relieve nausea, CBD may help relieve a wide range of digestive problems.
For example, another study found that CBD may help relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. As digestive problems are often the cause of nausea and vomiting, this research seems to indicate that CBD can help provide relief.
Cancer patients sometimes receive medical marijuana to relieve nausea from chemotherapy. Some of the latest research appears to indicate that CBD may be more useful compared to THC for treating nausea. A medical review found that many of the THC clinical trials for treating chemotherapy-induced nausea contain flawed research and produce adverse effects.
The same review found that CBD offers improved efficacy and less of a risk of side effects. The authors recommend clinical trials involving THC/CBD products, which have since been approved.
Additional research suggests that the anti-anxiety properties of CBD may help with the relief of nausea. When the CBD compounds bind with the serotonin releasing receptors in the endocannabinoid system, small doses are known to help alleviate nausea and vomiting.
After many countries eased restrictions and laws on marijuana and CBD, doctors have seen increased rates of cannabis abuse. This has led to the recognition of a new clinical condition called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS).
CHS is a condition experienced by those that consume large amounts of cannabis. It leads to unexplained bouts of nausea and vomiting and frequent hot bathing. However, this has not been directly linked to CBD use. It may only impact marijuana users, but the condition remains relatively mysterious.
How to Use CBD for Nausea
CBD comes in a variety of forms, including CBD pills, oil, vapes, lotions, sprays, and edibles. When suffering from nausea, eating a CBD edible may not be the best choice, as doctors typically recommend eating a bland diet to ease nausea.
Have a read of our article CBD Product Types to discover much more about CBD delivery types.
People often use the CBD creams and lotions for treating muscle or joint pain and skin conditions. The vaping products offer the fastest delivery method but may include the potential risk of damage to lung tissue.
The remaining options include CBD oil and CBD pills. Both options may cause nausea or an upset stomach in some users. Medical professionals believe this is due to the other ingredients in the product, instead of the CBD itself.
CBD oils include a carrier oil to help deliver the substance to the bloodstream, while CBD pills include various ingredients to form the capsules.
If you typically feel a little queasy after taking pills, you may want to try the CBD oil in low doses.
Most research has used CBD doses between 40 milligrams and 1500 milligrams per day. Starting with a lower dose provides a safer option for testing the effectiveness of the compound.
Are There Any CBD Nausea Side Effects?
One medical review examined 18 CBD clinical trials and found that the adverse effects were well tolerated and mild. However, nausea was one of the top four reported side effects. Keep in mind that the trials focused on the benefits of CBD for treating pain.
Most studies find limited to no side effects, but CBD may interact with a variety of medications. Doctors also advise pregnant and nursing women to avoid taking CBD.
Please refer to our article Potential Side Effects of Using CBD for more important information.
Nausea is a common symptom of various health conditions. You may feel nauseated due to motion sickness, the flu, or medications.
So, can CBD help nausea sufferers?
Overall, CBD seems to provide a safe and effective treatment for nausea and vomiting. However, there are also situations where CBD and THC may increase the risk of nausea.
For example, consuming large doses of THC may lead to cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which includes episodes of nausea and vomiting. People also sometimes report nausea as a side effect when taking CBD for pain relief. Sometimes, taking a CBD pill or using the CBD oil may cause stomach discomfort.
Taking low doses of CBD may help reduce these risks while still helping to relieve nausea and vomiting.
Early research suggested that THC may help ease nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The latest research indicates that CBD may provide a more effective solution.
In the end, those that currently receive
treatment for a condition that causes nausea should consult with their doctors
before taking CBD. For those that experience sudden nausea, CBD may offer
relief without any major risk of side effects.