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CBD For Nausea: Does it Really Work?

It often feels like it hits out of nowhere; the heat rushing to your face, the pit in your stomach, that unsettled feeling that renders you helpless against the potential need to vomit. Nausea is never pleasant, but it’s especially frustrating when it keeps you from living your life in ways you otherwise might. It’s no wonder people suffering from nausea find themselves searching for relief.

While anti-nausea medications do exist, they usually come with a host of unpleasant side effects, which may include constipation, headaches, and fatigue [1]. CBD for nausea, on the other hand, is said to have a high safety profile with users who swear by its effectiveness. But is there data to back up those claims?

What is nausea?

Nausea is a common enough ailment that most of us have experienced it at numerous points in our lives. It’s that queasiness in your stomach that sometimes rises to the back of your throat. It can be a precursor to vomiting, but not always. Sometimes a person afflicted with nausea feels like they might vomit, without the condition ever progressing to that point.

Woman experiencing nausea while in bed

This souring of the stomach can be a result of a physical condition or a physical response to mental distress. There are countless potential causes of nausea, from gastroenteritis to appendicitis and medication reactions [2]. But it’s when nausea becomes chronic that patients tend to become desperate for relief [3]. In medical settings, this relief typically comes in the form of hydration and anti-nausea medications [1]. But at home, CBD for nausea could be an option for some reprieve.

What does the research say?

Research into the anti-emetic (anti-nausea) impact of cannabinoids is ongoing. Still, a 2011 report in the Journal of Pharmacology stated, “Considerable evidence demonstrates that manipulation of the endocannabinoid system regulates nausea and vomiting in humans and other animals” [4].

There are more than 100 chemical compounds that make up the cannabinoid family, and research into the effectiveness of cannabinoids for treating nausea typically focuses on either THC or a combination of THC and CBD. The only FDA approved cannabinoid treatments for nausea at this time are derived from THC. But more recent research is exploring the effect of CBD alone.

For instance, a 2015 report in the European Journal of Pharmacology found that CBD can be especially effective in treating nausea for cancer patients who have struggled to find relief with more traditional therapies [5].

How does it work?

This impact is believed to be a result of the influence cannabinoids have on serotonin receptors. Vomiting is typically triggered by a release of serotonin from cells throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Cannabinoids work to reduce this release of serotonin and inhibit the brain’s response, thus diminishing the nausea and risk of vomiting [5].

Animal studies have further found CBD to inhibit receptors directly related to vomiting and to activate receptors that might help reduce nausea in the gastrointestinal tract [6].

CBD dosage for nausea

Determining the right dosage for treatment can often be a matter of trial and error. Research has found CBD has a wide range of dosing options, with correct dosing varying based on several factors, including weight and the reason for treatment [7]. Unfortunately, little research exists to assist in determining the right dosage for individual use. Therapeutic benefits have been reported at doses as low as 2mg a day and as high as 1000mg a day [7].

While researchers have found positive benefits with doses up to 1500mg a day, producing no adverse effects to humans, it is generally a good idea to stick to the lowest effective dose of any medication you take [8]. For treating nausea with CBD, that may mean starting at 5mg for every 50 pounds of weight. So a person who is 175 pounds would start with 17.5mg a day. Depending on what product you are using, you may want to round up to 20mg for easier dosing.

If you don’t notice improvement, you may want to try increasing your dose by 5mg a day every few days until you do.

CBD oil for nausea

There are a large variety of options for taking CBD—you can find everything from vape cartridges and capsules to tinctures and honey sticks. But when it comes to CBD for nausea, you may find that CBD oil is your best option. With CBD oil, you can quickly and easily adjust your dosing with each intake until you find the right dose for you.

You may also want to consider combining your CBD oil with other known anti-nausea treatments. Chamomile and ginger have both been found to be “significantly effective” at reducing nausea, for instance [9]. Either can be made as a tea you could add your CBD oil to.

Selecting the best CBD oil for nausea typically involves doing some research into what is available in your area. If you live in a legal state, you may be able to visit your local dispensary and ask what they’d recommend. But it is also legal to ship CBD oil in the United States, so long as the product contains less than .3% THC.

If ordering online, you want to look for a high-quality product with medium to high potency levels. Brands like Charlotte’s Web and Veritas Farms have gained a reputation for quality CBD oils that can be shipped almost anywhere in the United States.

CBD Side-Effects

Numerous studies have found that CBD has a generally high safety profile [8]. But that doesn’t mean it is entirely without risk. The following side effects have been associated with the use of CBD products:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in weight
  • Dry mouth
  • Lightheadedness
  • Reduced heart rate

Compared to the other treatment options typically available for the conditions CBD is used for, research has found CBD to have a preferable safety profile [8]. But it’s always important to understand the potential impacts of anything you’re taking and pay close attention to how your body responds.

Choosing CBD for nausea

If you are dealing with chronic nausea, you should first visit with your doctor to discuss the potential causes of this condition. There could be an underlying problem that requires treatment beyond just symptom control.

But if symptom control is what you are looking for, CBD has the potential to help without the psychoactive components of THC. Choose a product that feels right to you and start low and slow with your dosing—you can always work your way up and experiment with different products until you find an option and dosing level that works to relieve your nausea.


[1] Hasler W. L. (2016). Newest Drugs for Chronic Unexplained Nausea and Vomiting. Current treatment options in gastroenterology14(4), 371–385.

[2] Singh, P., Yoon, S. S., & Kuo, B. (2016). Nausea: a review of pathophysiology and therapeutics. Therapeutic advances in gastroenterology9(1), 98–112.

[3] Hebbard, G and Metz, A. Nausea and vomiting in adults: a diagnostic approach [online]. Australian Family Physician, Vol. 36, No. 9, 2007 Sep: 688-92.

[4] Parker, L. A., Rock, E. M., & Limebeer, C. L. (2011). Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids. British journal of pharmacology163(7), 1411–1422.

[5] Sharkey, K. A., Darmani, N. A., & Parker, L. A. (2014). Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. European journal of pharmacology722, 134–146.

[6] Taylor BN, Sauls RS. Cannaboinoid Antiemetic Therapy. [Updated 2019 Mar 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-

[7] Millar, S. A., Stone, N. L., Bellman, Z. D., Yates, A. S., England, T. J., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2019). A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations. British journal of clinical pharmacology85(9), 1888–1900.

[8] Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research2(1), 139–154.

[9] Sanaati, F., Najafi, S., Kashaninia, Z., Sadeghi, M. (2016). Effect of Ginger and Chamomile on Nausea and Vomiting Caused by Chemotherapy in Iranian Women with Breast Cancer. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 17(8), 4125-4129.

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