Finding Comfort: Can Cannabis Help Ease Nausea and Vomiting?

Finding relief quickly becomes a priority if you’re dealing with nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, emotional distress, gastrointestinal disorders, or motion sickness.

Luckily, cannabis is an effective antiemetic. Studies have shown that cannabis suppresses conditioned gaping responses, which trigger nausea and vomiting. However, symptom suppression varies depending on the product type consumed.

Inhaled Forms

Various medical marijuana products are available to manage nausea and vomiting. They can be eaten, smoked, sprayed, or vaped. Finding a product that works best for you and your condition is important. It may take a bit of trial and error to find the right treatment for your symptoms.

The endocannabinoid system regulates the levels of certain neurotransmitters that can affect nausea and vomiting. Cannabis directly interacts with this system by increasing or decreasing the levels of these neurotransmitters. It can also affect the dorsal vagus nerve, which controls nausea and vomiting responses. Research on mice and rats has shown that both cannabinoid agonists (D9-THC and HU-210) as well as the fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitor, URB-597, suppressed both conditioned gaping reactions and conditioned retching reactions evoked by a lithium-paired chamber.

Another form of cannabis that can help alleviate nausea and vomiting is CBD. Scientists have found that this cannabinoid effectively reduces nausea and may decrease anxiety, relieve pain, and lower inflammation without the “high” associated with delta-9-THC.


Cannabis has been proven helpful to lessen or mitigate health problems. But will cannabis help with nausea and vomiting?

 The onset of nausea and the urge to vomit can be debilitating, and medical marijuana is a powerful option for easing these symptoms. Studies have shown that cannabis has antiemetic properties and effectively reduces nausea caused by chemotherapy treatments, motion sickness, gastrointestinal disorders, or emotional distress. The most effective cannabis products for treating nausea are cannabis flower and concentrate with high levels of THC. THC directly stimulates the dorsal vagus nerve, which controls the human vomiting response.

Another effective method of administering medical marijuana for nausea is through edibles. These products are typically infused with various terpenes and cannabinoids to promote entourage effects, but they may take longer to begin working than inhaled cannabis. Edibles also require more careful dosing as it is harder to gauge how much you are consuming. This may lead to overdosing, especially for those new to the consumption of edibles or a novice to cannabis in general. Medicinal cannabis can also help with other symptoms often accompanied by nausea, including anxiety disorders and chronic pain. It has also been shown to be more effective than existing pharmaceutical medications in preventing nausea caused by chemotherapy treatment.


Ingesting cannabis through a capsule is an easy way to get immediate relief. This method bypasses the need to deal with the taste and smell of oil and avoids the sensory overload caused by other edible options such as gummies or chocolates. Taking a pill can also be less intimidating for those unsure of how to handle the effects of an edible.

Capsules provide fast-acting relief for those with acute pain or nausea. It is also a great option for those who need to keep their consumption discreet due to work or social commitments. Generally, it takes about 90 minutes for the effects of THC capsules to kick in, and they last an average of 5-12 hours. However, the duration of the effects will vary depending on a patient’s body weight, age, other medications, and cannabis tolerance. In animal studies, both THC and CBD have been shown to attenuate vomiting in emetic species. This suggests that the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in controlling nausea, vomiting, and other neurogenic symptoms. The CB1 receptors, found throughout the brain and gastrointestinal tract, play an important role in modulating emetic responses. Further, the antiemetic properties of cannabinoids may be linked to their ability to block certain CNS afferent nerve pathways that stimulate nausea and vomiting.

Vape Pens

A vape pen uses a battery-powered device to heat a cartridge filled with cannabis oil or concentrate, inhaled as a normal breathing function. Vape pens have become an alternative to traditional smoking devices because they can be used discreetly and offer the flexibility of using different oils, distillates, and concentrates depending on personal preferences and dosing needs.

A recent study by the University of New Mexico confirmed what many patients have long known: that cannabis flower and concentrates can help with nausea. The study examined 2,220 cannabis self-administration sessions tracked anonymously by an app and found that 96% of participants reported symptom relief. This is a significant improvement over the effectiveness of prescription antiemetics, which have side effects and do not relieve CINV in all cases.

The UNM research also found that consuming the right cannabis strain is essential to relieve nausea effectively. The best option is a hybrid cultivar, with a high concentration of THC and terpenes that promote entourage benefits. The right dosage was also important, as higher THC levels were associated with faster symptom relief than lower ones.

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