Can CBD Oil Help Relieve Your Nausea?
CBD and Nausea go hand in hand. Nausea is that uneasy discomfort in the stomach often accompanied by an urge to vomit is familiar to us all. It can occur as a result of a hectic night out or simply from sitting in the back of the car on a long journey; but for many, it is an unwanted side effect from traditional cancer treatments.
Each year in the UK alone, nearly 400,000 people are diagnosed with cancer, and according to Cancer Research UK, more than half of those will have either chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatment.
These incredibly harsh, intrusive treatments more often result in nausea and vomiting either before, during or after treatment. Doctors may prescribe anti-emetic drugs to help reduce these symptoms but for some, they simply don’t work, and for others, they come with terrible side effects of their own.
This has led patients to seek out safer, more natural alternatives, and one particular herb is showing up in more Google searches than any other.
Medicinal cannabis was legalised in the UK in 2018 for epilepsy sufferers and cancer patients suffering from nausea and vomiting who are unresponsive to ‘traditional’ drugs. This change in legislation has sparked a wave of interest in cannabis and in particular the much more accessible CBD oil.
CBD – What is it?
Cannabidiol, or CBD as it is more commonly known, is a powerful, potent, non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid (compound) from the cannabis plant that many people are looking towards for help combating nausea resulting from cancer treatments.
Cannabidiol comes from cannabis plants which contain no more than a negligible ( RELATED ARTICLE:
What is CBD?
CBD Side Effects
The favorable and safe profile of this unique compound was confirmed and extended by a 2017 study of clinical data and animal studies. Researchers concluded that “CBD oil has a better side effect profile in comparison to ‘traditional’ drugs.”
The majority of studies looked at epilepsy and psychotic disorders with the most commonly reported side effects being:
- Changes in appetite/weight.
Remember, these are only the most common side effects and not true of all cases.
CBD Oil and Nausea – How Does It Work?
The chemical serotonin is released by cells of the small intestine in response to chemotherapeutic agents. Research has shown that CBD oil inhibits serotonin binding to the serotonin receptors, and reduces these nausea-induced behaviours without affecting any measures of motor activity.
Further research also suggests that this non-intoxicating compound from the cannabis plant reduces the release of serotonin in forebrain regions suppressing toxin-induced nausea.
Furthermore, the human body produces an endogenous compound known as anandamide which has also been shown to have anti-nausea properties but it degrades quickly in the body due to the presence of ‘fatty acid amide hydrolase’ or FAAH. CBD oil inhibits FAAH thereby slowing down anandamide decomposition as well as increasing anandamide concentrations, further relieving the nauseating side effects of cancer treatments.
THC vs CBD Treatment for Nausea
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychotropic compound from the cannabis plant has been known to reduce nausea and vomiting since 1985 when 2 synthetic versions (nabilone and dronabinol) were created.
THC, whether natural or synthetic, blocks the binding of serotonin at receptor sites and interacts with receptors located at reflex pathways and the dorsal vagal complex in the brainstem, which exhibit anti-nausea responses.
Researchers have also shown that a low dosage of THC interferes with induced gaping that can be a result of certain chemotherapy medicine.
Both compounds have been shown to effectively prevent conditioned retching and conditioned gaping in multiple animal studies.
Research suggests both CBD and THC may be of help to cancer patients looking to relieve nausea and vomiting but CBD oil may be more tolerated by those who do not want the ‘high’ effect.
The key similarities and differences between CBD and THC are;
- Both block serotonin binding to receptors and in turn relieve nausea
- Both have been shown to prevent gaping
- Both have been shown to prevent retching
- THC causes a euphoric high
- CBD will never cause a high feeling
- CBD is more available in the UK
- THC is difficult to be prescribed
So whilst there are commonalities, there are also key differences between CBD and THC.
Will CBD Help With Cancer-Related Nausea?
Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) affects 70-80% of patients and is one of chemotherapy’s most debilitating side effects, often attributed as a leading cause of premature discontinuation of cancer treatment.
Synthetic THC (nabilone) is regularly prescribed in the UK to combat nausea but the intoxicating feeling that comes with THC is not for everyone.
CBD oil on the other hand, regardless of the quantity taken, will never produce the ‘high’ effect but can still offer anti-nausea effects by inhibiting serotonin from binding with serotonin receptors which are known to cause nausea and motion sickness.
Cannabidiol can be taken in a number of ways by cancer patients such as under the tongue in tincture form, capsules, vaping, edibles and more.
CBD Oil Dosage Guide for Nausea
There is no official dosage recommendation for CBD for Nausea but there are ways to find out what dosage is best for you. Cannabidiol has been shown to exhibit a bell-shaped dose-response curve, meaning cannabidiol effects and benefits work at different dosage strengths for different people.
This medicinal compound is non-toxic with no known lethal dose and in clinical studies, it has been shown to be well tolerated up to 900 mg or even 1200 mg in some cases.
Studies into its effects on anxiety showed 300 mg being an optimum dosage but for most people, this is not feasible nor practical and anecdotal evidence suggests effects can actually be found at much lower doses.
The best advice is always to start small and slow. Every person has their own unique endocannabinoid system and the right dosage amount will often vary based on :
- Height & Weight
- Your body’s tolerance to CBD
- Condition being treated
- Concentration/strength of the product
The below diagram will give you a really good “slow and steady” base to work from until you find the dosage right for you.
Most people tend to take the oil first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. It is also recommended that you consume cannabidiol with high-fat foods as this is believed to increase absorption.
Can CBD Oil Make You Feel Sick?
No. Rather cannabidiol has been shown to relieve nausea, CBD when used for nausea reduces gastric acid secretion, and has even been shown to heal the digestive tract and the lining of the stomach.
Although rare, anecdotal reports of mild illnesses are believed to be attributed to either inferior, untested products and/or a sensitivity to the carrier oil.
This is why it is crucially important, first and foremost, to only purchase CBD oil from a manufacturer who can supply 3rd party independent lab results which will prove beyond doubt as to the quality of your purchase.
As there are a number of carrier oils such as coconut oil, MCT oil, and olive oil, it is important to choose a carrier oil that suits your digestive system and one that you are not sensitive to.
It is important for people fighting cancer to manage nausea associated with chemo and radiotherapy. Nausea can result in loss of appetite and in turn weight loss and loss of nutrients in the body.
For this reason, CBD should be seen as a potential natural alternative to synthetic antiemetic drugs which can be very harsh. This compound from the cannabis plant will not induce a high feeling rather more a comforting feeling.
CBD is well known for its anti-anxiety effects and this is another great reason why people fighting cancer who are looking to relieve nausea should consider this potent safe compound to help relieve some of the stress also.
Nausea is very common and can be caused by a number of reasons, but can CBD help relieve the symptoms of nausea? Find out more.
The Best CBD Products for Nausea
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
While we’re still learning about new research on cannabidiol (CBD), what we know so far is promising.
People take CBD for a bunch of different reasons. Some claim it helps with anxiety and chronic pain. Others find CBD helpful for dealing with nausea.
Below, we take a look at the research on CBD and nausea. We also include a list of our top CBD picks for nausea and some pointers on how to shop for this kind of CBD product.
A lot of the research on CBD and nausea focuses on its benefits for people with cancer. Nausea and vomiting are often a side effect of chemotherapy treatment.
Animal studies suggest that CBD might help quell nausea because it interacts with serotonin receptors. This hormone influences how you feel — namely, your mood and general sense of well-being.
While CBD may play a part in reducing nausea, researchers conclude that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis, does more of the heavy lifting when it comes to helping with nausea and vomiting.
Human studies also show that a combination of CBD and THC may provide relief from nausea in people going through chemotherapy.
The American Cancer Society includes cannabinoids on its list of drugs for managing nausea and vomiting at home. It explains that they’re helpful in cases where regular anti-nausea and vomiting drugs don’t work.
Chemotherapy can also affect your appetite, and cannabinoids can help with this, too.
Currently, there are two synthetic cannabis-derived drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting. They are Nabilone and Dronabinol.
Because the research shows that THC is probably more effective at reducing nausea than CBD, full-spectrum CBD products are your best CBD option for quelling queasiness.
Full-spectrum CBD has all the beneficial, naturally occurring cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, including teeny tiny amounts of THC — up to 0.3 percent in federally legal products.
When choosing a CBD product, you’ll want to select a form of CBD that appeals to you. If you’re feeling nauseous, you won’t want to take something that makes you want to gag.
For instance, if you’re having trouble keeping food down, opt for a tincture or oil that you place under your tongue rather than a flavored gummy.
We chose these products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:
- is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
- is made with U.S.-grown hemp
- contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
- passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA
As a part of our selection process, we also considered:
- the company’s certifications and manufacturing processes
- product potency
- overall ingredients, including products containing other ingredients, like peppermint or ginger, that may help with nausea
- indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
- customer reviews
- whether the company has been subject to an FDA warning letter
- whether the company makes any unsupported health claims
- full-spectrum CBD products, whenever possible, because of what the research says about THC’s ability to relieve nausea
- $ = under $50
- $$ = $50–$75
- $$$ = over $75
Papa & Barkley Releaf Drops
- CBD type : Full-spectrum
- CBD potency : 900 mg per 30-mL bottle or 450 mg per 15-mL bottle
- COA :Available online
Each bottle of this CBD oil includes a measured dropper, making dosing easy. It comes in two flavors, but the lemongrass ginger variety may be a bit more palatable than the natural flavor if you’re dealing with nausea.
Papa & Barkley sources its hemp from Colorado, Oregon, and Vermont farms. The company offers customers a 30-day, money-back guarantee. You can access the COA directly from the product page.
Lion X Full Spectrum CBD Oil, 1,500 mg
- CBD type : Full-spectrum
- CBD potency : 1,500 mg per 30-mL bottle
- COA : Available on product page
Each full dropper of Lion X’s CBD oil delivers 50 milligrams of CBD. Lion X uses organic hemp extract to make its products.
In addition to full-spectrum CBD, the oil is also naturally flavored with peppermint. You can take it directly by mouth or drop it into beverages.
To access the COA, check the product page. One thing to note is that the final product is only tested for potency and the cannabinoid profile.
The crude CBD oil is tested for contaminants, but that COA is only available upon request. Since contaminants can be introduced during the manufacturing process, those that are immunocompromised may want to choose a product from another company that tests its final product.
Lion X Full Spectrum CBD Gel Capsules
- CBD type : Full-spectrum
- CBD potency : 25 mg per capsule
- Count : 30 capsules per bottle
- COA : Available on product page
Some people don’t like the taste of oils. If you can keep food down and prefer to take a capsule, you might want to try these gel capsules from Lion X. Lion X recommends that you take one soft gel per day.
Like the oil, you can find the cannabinoid and potency COA on the product page. If you want to review the contaminant COA from the raw CBD oil, you’ll have to email the company. Since contaminants can be introduced during manufacturing, if you’re immunocompromised it’s best to buy from a brand that does comprehensive testing on its final products.
PureKana CBD Oral Spray, Peppermint
- CBD type : Full-spectrum
- CBD potency : 180 mg per bottle, 2 mg per spray
- COA : Available on product page
This refreshing peppermint-flavored spray is easy to administer. Each spray provides 2 milligrams of CBD. PureKana recommends taking three to four sprays at a time up to three times a day.
The CBD spray also contains liposomal vitamin D complex and is made with organic Kentucky-grown hemp. Research suggests that liposomal vitamin D may be better absorbed than other forms.
You can access the COA for this spray via the product page.
GoGreen Hemp CBD Broad Spectrum Tincture, Peppermint
- CBD type : Broad-spectrum
- CBD potency : 250, 500, 1,000 or 2,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
- COA : Available on product page
We understand that you may not want to take a CBD product that contains THC — even in trace amounts — which is why we included this broad-spectrum, peppermint-flavored tincture on our list. You can take it under your tongue as you would any other tincture.
GoGreen Hemp uses organic hemp grown in Colorado and has a 14-day return policy. The COA is available on the product page.
There are so many CBD products out there that shopping for them is enough to give anyone a headache. Weed out the good from the bad by keeping these things in mind:
- Potency. If you’re dealing with severe nausea, small amounts of CBD may not cut it. Look for products with more than a few milligrams of CBD per serving.
- CBD source. CBD isolate is an excellent option if you want to stay away from THC. However, stripping away terpenes and other cannabinoids may reduce the anti-nausea effects of a CBD product. Opt for full-spectrum products over isolates. If you’re set on staying away from THC, opt for broad-spectrum CBD, which contains most cannabis plant cannabinoids but no THC.
- Third-party testing. Look for products with a COA so you have confirmation that the CBD is free of contaminants (including heavy metals, pesticides, and molds) and is actually as potent as the company claims.
- Ingredients. Choose CBD products made with organic, U.S.-grown hemp whenever possible. When buying CBD specifically for nausea, you might like a product with added peppermint or ginger flavorings to help reduce queasiness and improve the taste.
This depends a bit on the form of CBD you’ve chosen.
You can take tinctures and oils by mouth using a dropper. Just place them under your tongue and hold it there for a few seconds before swallowing. Swallow capsules whole as you would any other pill, or chew on gummies.
Most companies give you an idea of how much or how often to take their CBD product. If you’re new to taking CBD, though, it’s best to start with the smallest dose.
Need more guidance on how much CBD to take? Check out our guide on dosage.
Research finds that most people will have no trouble when taking CBD, but there is a chance you may experience side effects, including:
- weight changes
- appetite changes
Taking CBD alongside a high-fat meal may increase the risk of side effects, according to some research .
Before you take CBD for nausea, talk to your healthcare provider. CBD can interact with certain medications, so it’s a good idea to be open and honest with your physician.
It’s also worth having a chat with your doctor if you’re interested in trying CBD for nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. There may be other medications or strategies you can try first.
There’s some evidence that CBD might help with nausea, but the current research is limited. THC may be more helpful.
That said, some people use CBD to successfully manage nausea.
If you’ve tried other treatments, haven’t found relief for your nausea, and want to try CBD, opt for full-spectrum products made with organic U.S.-grown hemp that have been tested by a third-party lab.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.
Last medically reviewed on October 28, 2020
Some people use CBD to combat nausea and vomiting. Learn what the research says and get our take on some of the best CBD products for nausea.