CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is a part of the cannabis plant. It contains around a hundred cannabinoids and many other compounds like terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and essential oils that bind with receptors in our brain’s endocannabinoid system.
Cannabis is one of the oldest known pharmacological remedies for nausea and vomiting, but it wasn’t until the early 1990s that the mechanism of how cannabis acts in the body was established. Part of this discovery was that receptors for nausea and vomiting formed part of the body’s endocannabinoid system.
In this article, we are going to take a deep dive into the research around cannabis and CBD’s role in alleviating nausea and vomiting.
Cannabidiol has now become widely adopted into society with various products available for humans and animals. This range of products caters to the needs of individual CBD users in terms of dosage options and convenience. The most popular CBD products include:
Cannabidiol oils are a combination of CBD extract with an inert (chemically inactive) carrier such as coconut oil, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), or olive oil. This includes the full spectrum of terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, and up to 5% THC
Drops of CBD oil are placed under the tongue, which is a capillary-rich body part. This way, CBD is rapidly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream meaning that the effects are felt quite quickly. The duration of the effects of CBD will vary depending on your physical composition and the dosage.
CBD oils are arguably the most natural form of consuming CBD other than in plant form.
Tinctures are often confused with oils because their appearance and packaging are almost identical. That and they are usually consumed sublingually like CBD oils.
The difference between them is that tinctures are a Whole Molecule extract. This process preserves the cannabidiols for the full-spectrum benefits (and the entourage effect) but goes through a longer refinement and filtration process.
It is worth noting that regarding treatment for nausea, some people may find the flavor of CBD oils (and tinctures) quite strong. For this reason, it could be worth exploring some of the following options.
Edibles are consumable food products that have been infused with CBD and THC. They are designed for easy consumption when on the go and they enable you to easily keep track of your dosing with the precise quantities stated on each product.
For example, the 10mg THC and 10mg CBD Synergy PM gummies from King Harvest give you the anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory benefits in a convenient and discreet package. Different combinations of THC Indica, THC Sativa, and CBD are available to cater to everyone’s requirements.
Edibles in different forms like chocolates, oils, and even the SoCal legend Kung Fu Tonic harvest dressing allow you to get the pain relief and relaxation benefits you need with each meal. We have a wide variety of THC and CBD edibles available.
CBD vaping has become hugely popular in recent years, in part due to the normalization of vaping, but mainly because it is a highly convenient way to consume CBD in a dose-controlled manner. The cannabidiol is contained in a CBD cartridge that is either re-fillable, replaceable or as a complete disposable vape pen.
And if you wanted to learn more about CBD for our furry friends, check out our article about CBD for dog anxiety.
Nausea: Causes and Symptoms
Nausea is a symptom of many different conditions of all severities. While nausea often leads to an urge to vomit, they are separate mechanisms.
Vomiting is a voluntary or involuntary emptying of the stomach. Nausea is a sensation of feeling sick but without vomiting. It can be brought about by many factors, including food poisoning, motion sickness, concussion, pregnancy, appendicitis, and even anxiety.
Both nausea and vomiting can also be symptoms of more serious diseases like kidney, liver, or central nervous system disorders, brain tumors, heart attacks, and some cancers.
For those coping with nausea and vomiting daily, the impact on your health and mental well-being is overwhelming. Persistent vomiting is known to cause dehydration and malnutrition, while the sensations of nausea make it impossible to relax or enjoy even the best occasions.
Oncology patients undergoing cancer treatment make up the highest proportion of those taking pharmaceutical medication for nausea and vomiting. These medicines have proven effective at reducing vomiting but do nothing to prevent nausea.
This is driving further research into the viability of CBD as an alternative and natural form of medication.
Scientific Research on CBD and Nausea
The medicinal effects of cannabis for reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting are well-recognized in medicine. Research into CBD’s efficacy for oncology patients was actually in response to widespread anecdotal praise from patients who were smoking cannabis to manage their nausea and vomiting. This is mainly due to CBD’s influence on our endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system plays a huge part in our body and the extent of its importance is still being understood. Its primary function is to facilitate neuronal synaptic communication—enabling us to move—but it also affects biological functions such as eating, learning, memory, metabolism, anxiety, reproduction, growth, and development.
This is how CBD, particularly full-spectrum CBD, has built such a widespread reputation for its therapeutic benefits. It works by increasing the levels of cannabinoids present in the brain. This has produced well-documented results of reductions in anxiety, easing of chronic pain and inflammation, as well as numerous pro-cognitive benefits. It is why cannabis strains with low THC are now being considered for treatment.
The cannabis plant in biology is known as a precursor: a substance from which another more active substance is formed. It contains two primary components—THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol)—that have a relationship where if the levels of one rise, the other drops. This means that as THC levels decrease, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD respectively increases.
Mechanism of CBD in Alleviating Nausea
In chemotherapy treatment, toxic agents or radiation stimulate enterochromaffin cells in the gut releasing serotonin. Serotonin then binds to intestinal nerves through 5-HT receptors triggering the vomiting reflex. This is why receptor antagonist drugs have proved to be effective at treating vomiting.
However, it has been observed that CBD also has an inhibitory effect on 5-HT (serotonin) receptors. It does this by regulating the effectiveness of the receptors.
As well as inhibiting vomiting, CBD has also been shown to produce acute anti-nausea effects in rodent studies. This is likely due to its effect on vomit-triggering receptors that are making the case for CBD and THC’s antiemetic properties. The problem is that there is currently little understanding of what exactly causes nausea.
A 2020 study explored the potential effects of cumulative CBD treatment for nausea and vomiting. It concluded that CBD treatment maintained its anti-nausea effectiveness over time with repeat treatment (daily and weekly) at a 5mg/kg dosage. This is also further evidence in response to questions about CBD tolerance.
Considerations and Precautions For Using CBD
Ironically, one of the side effects that some people find with taking CBD is a nauseous feeling. Fortunately, this is usually attributed to the consumption method because people can find the taste of tinctures unappealing or oils bitter. If this is the case, switching to a different product like edibles or gummies could produce more desirable results.
CBD is also renowned for its relaxing properties which could pose issues when combined with other medications, particularly in situations where your spacial awareness is important such as driving or working in a high-risk environment.
Another important consideration is how CBD may interact with other medications because of how the body metabolizes enzymes. The question of metabolization is exacerbated by the fact that de-regulated cannabis products like medical marijuana, CBD oil, or recreational marijuana deliver highly variable concentrations of cannabinoids. There are currently 57 medications known to be affected by additional CBD treatment.
Anybody looking to experiment with CBD therapy needs to determine the correct dosage. It will depend on several factors including your weight, body-fat percentage, and susceptibility to cannabis. It is always recommended to begin with a low dosage of 20-40mg and assess your symptoms after five days. Stick to 5mg increments in dosage to make measuring the effects simpler and keep a note of any developments.
Knowing exactly how much cannabidiol you are taking with each dosage is easier with gummies because they are very consistent. Tinctures or oils can make calculations more complicated but they are better for fine-tuning your dosage.
If you are considering taking CBD in addition to other prescribed medication for nausea or vomiting, we would always advise you to consult with your doctor.
Does CBD Help Alleviate Nausea?
Cannabis has a long history of use as a remedy for nausea and vomiting. Since as early as 500 BC it has been used as a herbal medicine. Research into the therapeutic potential of CBD as an alternative to pharmaceuticals has expanded in recent years thanks to anecdotal testimonials from oncology patients.
Subsequent research into low THC and, consequently high CBD cannabis strains suggest that CBD is a highly effective antiemetic because of its inhibitory effect on serotonin receptors. More than that, it can alleviate the sensation of nausea, unlike conventional pharmaceuticals, which only prevent vomiting.
However, it is still important to consider the potential for interference with medication if you are already on a course of prescribed treatment. Anyone considering CBD therapy for nausea or vomiting should consult with their doctor if they are taking other medication and determine their appropriate dosage for optimum results.