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CBD and Nausea/Vomiting

There have been many studies showing the efficacy of cannabis in alleviating nausea and vomiting. Many of these studies focus on chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS patients. It is one of the most commonly accepted medical uses of cannabis. The solid science and high success rates in using cannabis for nausea and vomiting led to the development of several synthetically derived versions of THC, most famously the FDA-approved Marinol. These synthetic drugs produce mixed results in patients, which again supports the idea of the entourage effect and that whole-plant natural medicines are more effective than specific cannabinoids on their own.

Less research has been done looking at CBD specifically, though a few animal studies show promising results. Because CBD works indirectly with the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor, preliminary research suggests it can be used to treat nausea and vomiting.1 Both CBD and CBDA have proven effective in treating both acute and anticipatory nausea, a common form of nausea among chemotherapy patients that currently has no FDA-approved treatment.2 CBDA can be a thousand times more potent than CBD.3 CBD also acts as a reuptake inhibitor for our body’s own naturally produced cannabinoid anandamide, allowing anandamide to hang around in our systems longer to do its work in restoring homeostasis to reduce nausea and vomiting.4

  1. E. M. Rock et al., “Cannabidiol, a Non-Psychotropic Component of Cannabis, Attenuates Vomiting and Nausea-like Behaviour via Indirect Agonism of 5-HT1A Somatodendritic Autoreceptors in the Dorsal Raphe Nucleus,” British Journal of Pharmacology 165, no. 8 (2012): 2620–34, doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01621.x.
  2. E. M. Rock et al., “Cannabinoid Regulation of Acute and Anticipatory Nausea,” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 1, no. 1 (2016): 113–21, doi:10.1089/can.2016.0006.
  3. D. Bolognini et al., “Cannabidiolic Acid Prevents Vomiting InSuncus Murinusand Nausea-Induced Behaviour in Rats by Enhancing 5-HT1A Receptor Activation,” British Journal of Pharmacology 168, no. 6 (2013): 1456–70, doi:10.1111/bph.12043.
  4. L. D. O’Brien et al., “Anandamide Transport Inhibition by ARN272 Attenuates Nausea-Induced Behaviour in Rats, and Vomiting in Shrews (Suncus Murinus),” British Journal of Pharmacology 170, no. 5 (2013): 1130–36, doi:10.1111/bph.12360.