Cannabis for Nausea and Appetite Stimulation
Cannabis has been used for a number of years to manage nausea. Many of the clinical studies around cannabis and nausea have focused on its use for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Synthetic cannabinoid treatments, dronabinol and nabilone were FDA approved in 1985 for nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment as well as those suffering from extreme weight loss as a result of AIDS. Here we will explore what the research says about using cannabis for nausea and appetite stimulation as well as how to use cannabis for nausea.
Traditional Treatment for Nausea and Vomiting
Medications used to manage nausea and vomiting are called antiemetics. A number of different types of medications are considered antiemetics, such as those over-the-counter medications including Benadryl, Gravol, and others. These are typically used for conditions like motion sickness. The medications used for more extreme experiences of nausea, such is the case with chemotherapy, are harsher and come with some problematic and challenging side effects. Some cancer patients note feeling drugged up after taking antiemetics and they don’t always provide the relief they’re looking for.
Cannabis is an alternative method to manage symptoms of nausea and vomiting, particularly for those who don’t experience relief through traditional means. Though it’s important to consider the possible cause of the nausea symptoms as there could be an underlying medical problem that needs to be addressed
Research on Cannabis and Nausea
Studies show that endocannabinoid receptors are present in the digestive system, including the stomach. A 2008 study also suggests that the endocannabinoid system can stimulate other areas of the body that are involved in metabolism, including skeletal muscles, the gastrointestinal tract, and the pancreas.
Learn more about the endocannabinoid system.
A 2011 study found cannabis to be an effective treatment for nausea and vomiting for cancer patients, including anticipatory symptoms. A review of 30 studies found evidence that cannabis was generally more effective in reducing nausea than traditional medication. In these studies, a typical dronabinol dosage was 5mg taken 3 to 4 times daily; for nabilone, a 1-2mg dose is typically taken twice daily. Both were generally administered about 1 to 3 hours prior to the start of chemotherapy.
Nausea and Appetite: Can cannabis help stimulate appetite?
Nausea is often accompanied by a suppressed appetite as well as feeling unmotivated or unable to eat. If nausea is ongoing it’s important to stimulate a person’s appetite so they get the nutrients they need and maintain a healthy weight.
Most of us have likely heard the stereotype that cannabis gives you the munchies, this didn’t come from nowhere. Cannabis has been used for centuries to stimulate appetite. More recently researchers have found that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in eating motivation. And a 2012 study, found that THC influenced the appetite hormones ghrelin and leptin. These results suggest that not only can cannabis be used when someone is feeling nauseous but also for those who experience weight loss for other reasons or experience disordered eating.
A 2005 survey conducted on individuals with HIV/AIDS found that “143 (27%) of the respondents used cannabis to manage their symptoms; of those, an overwhelming 97% reported that they experienced improvements in appetite”.
CBD or THC for Nausea?
While THC is well established for nausea. That being said, there is less research on using CBD alone. A 2012 study suggests that CBD has antiemetic effects through interaction with the 5-HT1A autoreceptors. Another 2013 study on rats found that CBD has therapeutic potential for nausea. Though more research is necessary to fully understand the capacity of CBD for nausea when used alone.
Many people choose to use CBD and THC in combination. Since CBD and THC interact with different receptors in the brain and in the body there are added benefits to using them together, which is often referred to as the entourage effect.
Cannabis Consumption for Nausea
A tincture can provide quick relief to sudden symptoms of nausea, while edibles can provide relief at the source. Though take into account that with edibles it takes longer to feel the effects (45 to 60 minutes). So, edibles are a good choice when you can wait longer to feel relief, can predict the onset of nausea, or when used in combination with other methods.
At Envy we suggest starting with a 3:1 CBD/THC tincture (unless you’re already comfortable with THC). Start at a low dose and increase slowly over several hours until you feel the desired effects.
Envy’s cannabis edibles are incredibly versatile. Try our Better Than… cannabis infused chocolates that are pre-dosed and come in a number of incredible flavours. Or make your own edibles with our coconut oil. Check out the recipes section of our blog for some amazing recipe ideas, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Add some CBD or THC coconut oil to your morning smoothie and you’re good to go.
What else do you feel like doing when you’re nasueaous?
Many of us likely want to lay down and no nothing. Maybe on the couch with a hot water bottle or in a wam bath. Next time try adding Miss Envy’s THC bath bombs into the mix for a more soothing and relaxing experience.
Best Cannabis Strains for Nausea
If you’re looking for the best strains for nausea here are some of our suggestions.
Described as having a sativa front and an indica end, this indica-dominant has THC levels of approximately 15 percent. As a result, Blueberry Diesel has a slightly lower potency than some other popular strains which means its good for new or irregular users. That being said, it still provides a very relaxing experience and is helpful to increase appetite, relieve nausea and ease pain.
Blue Dream is described as providing an energetic and creative experience while still giving a body high that helps to relieve pain. It also helps relieve stress and anxiety, which for many can influence or increase their experience of nausea.
Northern Lights is an indica-dominant strain and one of the most well-known and readily available varieties of cannabis. Its resin-laden, crystalline buds create a numbing sensation and powerful muscle relaxation that has been known to put users to sleep, so we recommend this strain for the evening. You’ll likely experience euphoric sedation that assists you in reducing your nausea symptoms.
This indica-dominant hybric named after its refreshing floral aroma is packed with THC. It provides a strong body high that makes it effective for chronic pain, inflammation, and nausea. After consuming Lavender, you’ll likely feel an overall mood improvement – more relaxed, uplifted, and euphoric. It has also been know to reduce anxiety and stress levels.
Cannabis has been used for centuries to manage symptoms of nausea and vomiting as well as stimulating appetite. Do you turn to cannabis when you’re experiencing these symptoms? We want to hear from you! How do you use cannabis to manage symptoms of nausea? Let us know in the comments or tag us in your story on social media.