Most of us are familiar with the queasy, sick-to-the-stomach feeling that comes with occasional gastroenteritis—along with its sidekick, vomiting—so we can imagine how crippling long-lasting nausea would be. Normally, nausea and vomiting are a temporary, beneficial response to some kind of toxin or invader in the body. But it’s when they strike because of something else, such a movement or chemotherapy, that these conditions become more serious and harder to manage. People have been reaching for cannabis for help with nausea for centuries; today, researchers are working to understand just how CBD interacts with the body and brain to provide nausea relief. What they do know: Evidence shows that it works.
How does CBD Help with Nausea and Vomiting?
The body’s endocannabinoid system plays a far-reaching role across all kinds of other body systems, including regulation of nausea and vomiting, gastrointestinal motility, visceral sensation, and intestinal inflammation (and the ways stress influences these functions). Cannabinoid-based treatments target this system, providing relief through complex brain-body interactions.
Cannabinoid treatments show promise for gastrointestinal disorders and motion sickness, but much research on therapeutic CBD centers on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Animal studies have shown CBD to be helpful, while other work examined how CBD targets specific neural receptors to produce its anti-nausea, anti-vomiting effects. Evidence also suggests that CBD could be especially effective for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy to treat difficult-to-manage nausea and anticipatory nausea (symptoms that begin even before the chemo as a conditioned response). And another study found that cannabis-based medication was safe and well-tolerated as an anti-nausea supplement.