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CBD for Nausea: Does It Work?

We all know how awful feeling nauseous can be. After an evening of discomfort in the pit of your stomach and not being able to eat, actually throwing up can feel like a relief. 

What Are Common Causes of Nausea? 

The most common causes of nausea are: 

  • Indigestion
  • Motion sickness or travel sickness
  • Pregnancy or morning sickness

Nausea can be a symptom of all kinds of conditions — from benign to serious. Most nausea results from the irritation of nerve endings in the stomach which signal to the brain to vomit. And vomiting expels ingested toxins, bacteria, and viruses from the body. Scientists, therefore, believe it may exist in many animal species as a natural protective mechanism. 

Whether useful to us or not, most of us would still rather live without nausea. We’re going to look at the current research on cannabidiol (CBD) and whether or not it can be used to help treat the symptom of nausea. 

Can CBD Help Nausea? 

Different people take CBD for a lot of different reasons. Most commonly, people use it for anxiety and chronic pain. 

We need to carry on learning about all of the potential effects of CBD through more peer-reviewed scientific research. But there is promising early evidence it may provide relief from symptoms including nausea. Anecdotally, too, some people claim using CBD for nausea helps them. 

What’s the Research on CBD for Nausea? 

So far, most scientific literature on using CBD for nausea focuses on the benefits for people with cancer. Up to 80% of cancer patients experience nausea, and it’s a common side effect of chemotherapy. 

A 2010 experiment with a sample size of 16 humans compares the effects of the medicine Sativex, which contains CBD and THC, with a placebo. Participants found Sativex was able to reduce their delayed nausea and vomiting in the 120 hours after chemotherapy better than other antiemetic drugs

Serotonin is a hormone that helps regulate mood, sleep, and the digestive system — including stimulating nausea from the small intestine. A 2011 study looks at existing animal experiments on CBD for nausea, which suggest cannabinoids may be especially adept at treating nausea that’s more difficult to control. It goes on to theorize that CBD may help reduce nausea because of its known interaction with serotonin receptors. 

Following on from this, in a 2018 study researchers injected rats with a nauseating chemical compound. They then treated the rats with CBD and found it prevented a surge in their serotonin levels in their interoceptive insular cortex (IIC), the area of the brain responsible for nausea. 

How Does CBD Reduce Nausea? 

There’s a system in the human body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Scientists still don’t understand everything about the ECS, but they know it’s involved in regulating mood, appetite and digestion, memory, pain, and much more. The ECS works to return the body to a state of balance, whether you use cannabis or not, through your body’s natural production of endocannabinoids. 

Cannabinoids, like CBD or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can mimic endocannabinoids. They also bind to the ECS receptors in your body, sending signals to the ECS that it needs to achieve better balance. Researchers have found ECS receptors across multiple areas of the brain — including parts that regulate nausea and vomiting. 

But can CBD specifically reduce nausea, or are other cannabinoids like THC doing the legwork instead? 

Honestly, it’s difficult to be completely certain until more specific research has been carried out on CBD. But anecdotally, there are nausea sufferers who report improved symptoms after taking CBD. And many people also choose to buy full-spectrum CBD products — so they can benefit from a complete range of compounds found in the cannabis plant. 

What Are the Risks of Using CBD for Nausea? 

Unlike most prescription medications, CBD often doesn’t cause any side effects in people. However, there is always a chance you can have an adverse reaction to a new product. It’s good to be aware and make an informed decision. Potential side effects of using CBD for nausea include: 

  • Appetite changes — including a reduced appetite, which can be counterproductive when treating nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight changes
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue

Some research suggests taking CBD with a high-fat meal may increase the chance of adverse side effects. And a few people can even become more nauseous when taking CBD. As everyone’s body is different, it’s important to find what works for you. 

CBD can also cause very serious interactions with certain medications. Have an honest conversation with your doctor before trying any CBD product for your nausea. 

CBD Tips and Products for Nausea

When choosing a CBD product, there are three forms of CBD available. These are: 

  • Isolate: Pure CBD, without any of the other natural compounds found in the cannabis plant
  • Broad-spectrum: CBD and some of the other cannabis compounds, but no THC
  • Full-spectrum: the whole range of cannabis compounds, plus the terpenes and flavonoids that give cannabis its strong flavors

Full-spectrum cannabis products contain all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids, including THC — under 0.3% in federally legal products. There is evidence to suggest that THC is also effective in reducing nausea. To maximize your chances of reducing nausea, therefore, you may wish to choose a full-spectrum CBD product. 

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to avoid THC, broad-spectrum CBD products still deliver a wide range of different beneficial cannabinoids for your health and well-being. 

How to Choose the Right CBD Product for Nausea for You

If you suffer from nausea, it can be especially important to choose a form of CBD product that appeals to you. Feeling nauseous and trying to eat a sweet gummy may make you gag, for instance. 

If you opt for a CBD tincture instead, you’ll only need to place drops under your tongue, and these are quickly absorbed. At CBD Direct Club, we offer quality, third-party tested CBD broad-spectrum and full-spectrum tinctures. They both come in three flavors, including natural. This is ideal if you’d like to mix your CBD product with other foods or prefer to avoid unfamiliar flavors. 

Remember, CBD may treat the symptom of nausea. But if you’re not 100% sure of the cause of your nausea, you should establish this first to rule out any serious conditions. Speak to your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your health.

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