Does Weed Help With Nausea? What the Science Says

Marijuana Has Been Known To Help With Nausea, But Does Science Back It Up?

man with nausea iStock / fizkes

Nausea can stem from anxiety and stress to medication and chemotherapy, with dozens of other factors in between. Persistent nausea can be difficult to cope with and weigh down on the quality of life. Cannabis has been a well-known nausea-combatant for some time now.

In the 1990s, five states legalized the use of medical marijuana, and this was in large part to protect cancer patients who used cannabis to combat their nausea.

Today, cannabis is a valuable tool for combatting nausea in HIV patients and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The anti-nauseating effects of marijuana can help people suffering from uncomfortable condition no matter what the cause.

The Science Behind Cannabis And Nausea

Just as cannabis works for other conditions, its role in combatting nausea can be attributed to the endocannabinoid system (ECS.) Humans produce their own endocannabinoids in the body through the ECS. The ECS controls functions like memory, cognition, and motor control among others.

When things are out of whack in the endocannabinoid system, different symptoms can appear. External cannabinoids like THC and CBD can affect different receptors within the ECS, helping it find balance.

Endocannabinoid System

Evidence suggests the endocannabinoid system plays a role in the regulation of nausea and vomiting. Cannabis has been shown to be effective in preventing vomiting as well as relieving nausea, something difficult to achieve sometimes even with a cocktail of prescriptions.

The blockage of vomiting comes from cannabinoids interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors. THC is an agonist for these two receptors, and the result of THC in the endocannabinoid system is a blockage to the vomiting response by reducing the release of certain transmitters.

There is less evidence explaining why cannabis also inhibits nausea, but anecdotal evidence and surveys have shown that it is a common and effective use.

More Evidence

Another study stated that unlike blinking or sneezing, reflexes that typically work without error, nausea is a process that sometimes gets “hijacked”. The reflex has very low sensitivity which allows it to get activated easily, making people feel sick. The authors said prevention of the onset of nausea is important, and cannabis may be a great way to do that.

In a double-blind, controlled, and randomized study of cannabis for patients undergoing chemotherapy, patients taking chemotherapy drugs which cause nausea and vomiting tested out the anti-nausea effects of cannabis.

The study consisted of 22 people with various neoplasms, 10 male and 12 female. Of the 20 evaluable patients, 14 experienced anti-emetic effects after taking THC. Of the 22 participants who took the placebo, no anti-emetic effects were experienced at all.

According to the study, with the “dosage used, THC prevented or reduced vomiting in most patients without appreciable curtailment of activities. Appetite stimulation follows the smoking of marihuana. Four of our patients reported food intake “more than usual” after chemotherapy when taking THC. No patient reported this effect after placebo.”

In an analysis of 79 different cannabinoid studies, which included studies about nausea and vomiting for chemotherapy patients and appetite stimulation for those with HIV/AIDS, it was revealed that most cannabis users found relief from their symptoms by using marijuana.


iStock / AntonioGuillem

CBD Might Help with Nausea

Whether you’re experiencing nausea as a side effect from medication or treatment, or from some other cause, there’s no doubt you want to find relief. THC and CBD are two cannabinoids known to help lessen the symptoms of nausea and control vomiting. Where you should start depends on your experience with cannabis.

If you’ve never used it before, you’ll probably want to go for a high-CBD medicine with just a small amount of THC in it. You can increase your dose as time goes on and you adjust to your dose.

If you have some marijuana experience under your belt, you can gauge your medicinal use based on your own experience. Many people who want to use THC as an anti-emetic but don’t want to be high all the time find microdosing helps.

Best Strains for Combatting Nausea

Blue Dream

This classic strain can do more than just boost users mood and help with creativity. The 50/50 hybrid ranging between 17 and 24% THC offers a numbing sensation and relief from pain. Users report its effectiveness in increasing appetite and reducing nausea.

Jack Herer

The slightly sativa-leaning hybrid is known for its energizing headrush. It efficiently relaxes the body and offers a sense of euphoria. This is another popular strain used to boost appetite and combat nausea.

Orange Bud

This aromatic, citrusy strain is a classic from the ‘80s. The THC levels are moderate, averaging at about 16%. While it is an indica-dominant hybrid, Orange Bud tends to give users a boost of energy not impaired by the relaxing effects of the bud. It’s stimulating enough to boost mood and appetite and can be used to reduce nausea.

NYC Diesel

This award-winning strain is loved by many for its euphoric effects. It’s a sativa-dominant hybrid with a distinct taste and powerful high. Its munchies-inducing effects make it a popular choice for people with eating disorders trying to boost their appetites. The powerful effects of this strain make it a great choice for combating nausea.

This article is purely for informational and research purposes, and in no way represents any form of medical advice. Please consult a physician before changing your current regiment and adding cannabis to it. 

Does Weed Help With Nausea? What the Science Says was last modified: by