CBD for Nausea: Can It Help?
It’s no fun being nauseous. Nausea’s cause can sometimes be tricky to pin down – this distinctive queasy feeling can be brought on by a number of factors. The good news is that you might find an unlikely ally in cannabis. Cannabis contains many different compounds, and research has found that one compound, CBD, could help you fight off your nausea.
What is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring chemical compound that can be found in cannabis and hemp plants. CBD has made quite a name for itself over the last decade, thanks in large part to its various medicinal properties.
Recent research has found that CBD may be able to help improve the symptoms of:
- Inflammation (1)
- Anxiety (2)
- Pain (3)
- Sleep disorders (4)
- Skin conditions (5)
- Neurodegenerative disorders (6)
CBD is often associated with cannabis because the compound can be found in cannabis plants. However, CBD is not the chemical responsible for the characteristic high of cannabis. In fact, CBD can’t get you high at all.
How can CBD help with nausea?
People use CBD for a variety of reasons, and there are many anecdotal stories about the healing power of this cannabinoid. But how exactly does CBD work to help with nausea?
One way that CBD may be able to help you reduce your nausea levels is by acting on your serotonin receptors. We know that serotonin can have a big impact on nausea because of how influential the hormone is on mood. Nausea is strongly linked to mood, specifically anxiety, and so if your mood has got you feeling low, a boost of serotonin may help you get both your anxiety and nausea under control (7).
Research tells us that CBD can activate serotonin receptors, causing them to increase their uptake of serotonin. This serotonin boost, in turn, can help ease nausea symptoms (8).
Another way that CBD may be able to improve nausea is by activating a type of receptor known as CB1. We know that when activated, CB1 can suppress vomiting, so activation of this receptor can play an important role in managing nausea. CBD can bind to CB1 receptors, albeit weakly. By binding to and activating CB1 receptors, CBD could help reduce nausea symptoms (9), although further research into CBD, CB1, and nausea is needed to draw definitive conclusions.
When CBD and THC join forces
Interestingly, it seems that CBD might be most effective against nausea when combined with THC. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is another major cannabinoid found in cannabis plant material. THC is the slightly more infamous of the two compounds, being responsible for the characteristic high offered by cannabis.
As well as getting you high, THC also has some impressive therapeutic benefits, such as the ability to target inflammation, ease PTSD and pain, and improve sleep. Importantly, research also shows us that THC has antiemetic effects and, when combined with CBD, can have impressive therapeutic effects (10).
One study found that Sativex, a medication that contains equal parts of CBD and THC, was able to reduce nausea and vomiting in patients suffering from chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Importantly, the cannabinoid medication was also well-tolerated by patients. The authors of the study concluded that the cannabinoid medication, when given alongside standard antiemetic therapy, provided better protection from nausea than standard treatment alone (11).
Which CBD products should you use?
Current research into CBD and nausea tells us that you’ll probably get the best nausea-reducing effects when CBD is combined with THC. Because of this, the CBD products that will likely work best for your nausea are full-spectrum CBD products. Full-spectrum CBD contains all the compounds from the plant it was extracted from, meaning that if your full-spectrum CBD is made from cannabis, it’s likely to contain both CBD and THC.
There are many different types of full-spectrum CBD products out there for you to try, such as:
Other ways to reduce nausea
To really get on top of your nausea, you may want to combine CBD with other treatment options. From medications to natural supplements, there are many options out there to help you tackle your nausea. Some of these include::
- Antiemetic medication: If your nausea is very serious, then you might want to try a prescription or over-the-counter medicine. Anti-emetic medicine can help to soothe the cause(s) of nausea, and we know that cannabinoid therapy can help to boost the effects of these medicines, too (12).
- Peppermint tea: Having a nice warm cup of peppermint tea isn’t just a great way to relax – studies have also shown that peppermint effectively helps to reduce nausea symptoms in chemotherapy patients (13).
- A cool compress: Sometimes a cool compress can be a simple way to help reduce nausea symptoms. Stress and nausea go hand in hand, and a cool wet cloth on your forehead or on the back of your neck could help you calm down, reduce your body temperature, and take your mind off nausea.
- Lemon: Adding a squeeze of lemon juice to your water bottle could help you to keep nausea at bay. The citric acid levels in lemons can help with digestion, and research has found that the essential oils in lemons can reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnant women (14).
- Vitamin B-6: Adding a B-6 supplement into your routine is another way you could help combat your nausea symptoms. In fact, B-6 supplements are approved in the US as a treatment for nausea in pregnant women (15).
- Ginger: This one isn’t just an old wives’ tale. Ginger really can help to reduce nausea! A 2020 review found that ginger has some impressive nausea-reducing properties (16).
The bottom line
CBD does show some promising nausea-reducing properties, but it seems to be especially effective when used in combination with THC. Combining a full-spectrum CBD with other anti-emetic treatments could help you combat your nausea and get you back to living a more normal life.
**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**