Along with pain, anxiety, and insomnia, nausea is another ailment many people hope CBD can help with. But can you actually use CBD for nausea? Can it help alleviate some of its most difficult symptoms?
Let’s look at what exactly CBD and nausea are and see what the science says.
What is nausea?
Anyone who’s ever experienced a bout of nausea will tell you that it’s just miserable. And if you have somehow never experienced nausea, then don’t change whatever it is you’re doing.
Nausea is the uneasy, queasy sensation you get before you vomit. It can last seconds to hours, and can sometimes be chronic, lasting all day for months on end. Which is a nightmare.
What is CBD?
CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid. It’s the second most prevalent cannabinoid in cannabis next to tetrahydrocannabinol—or THC for short.
Unlike THC, which is responsible for the ‘high’ you feel when you use cannabis, CBD is non-intoxicating.
CBD can also come from hemp plants which is a specific variety of cannabis.
Also Read: Can you get addicted to CBD?
What the research says
There have been numerous studies done on cannabinoids for the treatment of nausea. Though research into CBD on its own is still pretty scarce. Most of the research currently available points to THC being the more effective cannabinoid when it comes to relieving nausea.
There are currently two FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy treatment for cancer. They both contain synthetic THC.
All that said, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that CBD helps with nausea. CBD consumers report getting relief from CBD products like oils, sprays, and teas. There’s also emerging evidence from human and animal studies suggesting that CBD on its own or combined with THC also relieves nausea.
In 2016 there was a review of the effects of CBD for nausea in animal models. It concluded that CBD and CBDa (cannabidiolic acid — the acid form of CBD) were effective in the treatment of nausea. And it may be highly effective for humans. But clinical trials will be necessary to find out.
In humans, a small clinical trial for a drug containing THC and CBD found the combo was helpful in controlling chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. The drug is currently approved for another use in Canada, the United Kingdom, and some European countries; to treat pain and spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis.
Also Read: 5 Ways to Increase CBD Absorption
How to use CBD for nausea
If you want to give CBD a try for relieving nausea, you need to decide what type of CBD product you want to use.
A full-spectrum CBD product may be the best option since most evidence shows that THC may have more benefits for nausea and vomiting.
Full-spectrum CBD products contain various cannabinoids, including up to 0.3 percent of THC. Which is the federally legal amount depending where you are.
If you’re worried about getting high from a full-spectrum CBD product, you ordinarily don’t need to be. The amount of THC isn’t high enough to produce psychoactive effects in most people when used as directed. And we always want to reiterate that you should take the recommended dosage.
Also Read: Can CBD lower blood pressure?
CBD for nausea – what’s your favorite method?
The next step is to figure out how you’d like to use the CBD since there are several options. You can choose from gummies and other edibles, oils, tinctures, and pills and capsules—just to name a few.
This usually comes down to your preferences. But keep in mind that some methods might feel better than others since nausea can make you sensitive to certain tastes and smells.
If the idea of eating something flavored like a gummy or CBD-infused beverage turns your stomach, then skip that option. A tincture under the tongue or CBD powder in water might be the better option over, say, some bubble-gum flavored gummies.
If you prefer something flavored, consider a CBD product with natural ginger or peppermint flavoring. Those are great since both are known to help with nausea, too.
Also, keep in mind that some methods of consumption kick in faster than others because of how long they take to reach your bloodstream. For instance, edibles need to clear your digestive system first, which could take as long as a couple of hours. Using CBD tincture sublingually (under the tongue) takes just minutes. It’s quickly absorbed into your bloodstream through the thin mucus membranes under your tongue. Inhalation is even faster.
Unless advised otherwise by your healthcare provider, it’s recommended to start with the lowest dose. You can then and work your way gradually to a dose that provides the best results.
Choosing a quality CBD product for nausea
Reading the label is important, but reading the product’s certificate of analysis (COA) is even more so. The reason being that many CBD products on the market have been found to contain higher amounts of THC and/or ingredients than those listed on the label.
The COA shows that a product has been tested by a third-party lab. And provides unbiased analysis of the quantity, quality, and purity. This ensures that it meets the product specification.
You should be able to find the COA listed on the product page of the manufacturer or retailer website. If not, consider it a red flag and shop elsewhere.
Is CBD Safe?
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that CBD is generally well-tolerated and safe.
Like all medicinal products, CBD products can cause side effects. These are usually mild and temporary, and may include fatigue, diarrhea, and appetite changes.
You should always speak with your doctor before starting, or increasing a CBD regimen.
The bottom line
Clinical research into CBD’s effect on nausea may still be lacking, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t help. A lot of people report relief from using CBD for nausea.
Choosing a full-spectrum CBD product lets you take advantage of the entourage effect of other cannabis compounds and cannabinoids. This includes THC, which has been more extensively studied for nausea relief.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance health and lifestyle writer that has written for Healthline, Medical News Today and Verily Magazine just to name a few.