Severe nausea interferes with many aspects of daily life and can be caused by chemotherapy treatments, migraines, motion sickness, or stomach flu. Conventional anti-nausea medications can have dangerous side effects.
Medical marijuana can relieve nausea and may be more effective than nabilone and dronabinol.
Various things, including food poisoning, pregnancy, migraine headaches, and chemotherapy treatment, often trigger nausea. Medications used to treat nausea are called antiemetics. Cannabis contains phytocannabinoids, several of which are effective antiemetics. The most well-known is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. It has been shown to reduce vomiting in animal and human studies and is also the basis for two FDA-approved medications, dronabinol and nabilone. These drugs are prescribed to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and individuals with AIDS who do not feel like eating (wasting syndrome). They are also given to people experiencing severe nausea caused by certain health conditions, such as HIV/AIDS or multiple sclerosis. Studies have found that medicinal marijuana can significantly reduce the severity of nausea and vomiting. One study published in the Annals of Oncology found that a quarter of patients using medicinal cannabis did not experience nausea and vomiting during their chemotherapy treatments, compared to 14 percent of those taking a placebo.
Many people experience nausea and vomiting for a variety of reasons. Mild cases may be countered with rest and over-the-counter medication, but severe nausea often requires more advanced treatment. But does cannabis help with nausea? Medical marijuana has been shown to relieve debilitating nausea without the side effects associated with prescription and over-the-counter medications. For example, in one study published in the Annals of Oncology, high THC doses were found to be more effective than traditional anti-nausea medications like nabilone, dronabinol, and levonantradol when it comes to chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). These expensive medicines can lead to serious side effects such as sedation, dizziness, dry mouth, and drowsiness. Aside from treating nausea, medical marijuana can also help treat the underlying condition causing it. For example, if chronic pain is a cause of nausea, medical cannabis can reduce the discomfort and ease the nausea simultaneously.
Getting a medical marijuana card for nausea is easy once you find a doctor to write you a recommendation. However, before you begin shopping for marijuana products, it is vital to research your state’s cannabis laws and learn more about which strains work best.
The human body has cannabinoid receptors that bind to phytocannabinoids, including THC. Activation of these receptors changes the way cells behave. Cannabis, including its psychoactive component, THC, acts on these receptors to alleviate nausea and vomiting in many patients. It also stimulates the appetite, which is another problem for patients with cancer or AIDS suffering from nausea and loss of weight.
Nausea and vomiting can occur for various reasons, from food poisoning to chemotherapy treatments to migraine headaches or motion sickness. Several prescription and over-the-counter medications are available to help with the symptoms, but they often come with a list of warnings and potentially harmful side effects. Medical marijuana has been shown to provide quicker and more effective relief, in some cases nearly instantly, from debilitating nausea.
In a 1975 study, Sallan, Zinberg, and Frei found that all 20 of their subjects who received cannabis for nausea reported significant relief. More recent studies have backed up these findings. One of the most important factors for medical marijuana to work as an antiemetic is consuming the right product with the right amount of THC. High-THC flowers and concentrates are the most effective, as they stimulate the dorsal vagus nerve that controls the human vomiting response. Inhalation provides the fastest effect, but edibles and tinctures take longer to kick in.
Cannabinoid Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) comprises the brain’s receptors and enzymes that work together to regulate certain body functions. It is made up of two types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, as well as the endocannabinoid neurotransmitters (2-AG and anandamide) and their degrading enzymes (fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol lipase). The CB1 and CB2 receptors are located in neurons, neural pathways, and other cells throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, respectively. The ECS controls pain, emotion, memory, movement, appetite, nausea and vomiting, and more.
Medical marijuana interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to help reduce symptoms. Many states consider severe nausea a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use, and studies have found that medicinal cannabis can treat the symptoms better than other pharmaceutical medications.
Researchers from the University of New Mexico recently discovered that cannabis flowers and concentrates can significantly relieve nausea symptoms. Participants in the study reported that they experienced symptom relief within an hour of consumption and that their symptoms decreased by 4 points or more on the Visual Analogue Scale (0-10).
Various illnesses and conditions can cause severe nausea and interfere with daily activities. The discomfort can make it challenging to maintain a healthy diet and may lead to weight loss. It can also prevent patients from receiving adequate treatment for their illness because they cannot take antiemetic drugs.