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Nausea has many causes and treatment options, including medical cannabis. Common nausea triggers are food poisoning, chemotherapy treatment, migraine headaches, and motion sickness. Medications used to treat nausea and vomiting are called “anti-emetics.” Various phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD are considered anti-emetics. Medical cannabis can help treat nausea but, in some instances, may induce it — usually due to intolerance and/or improper dosing.
Some of the best strains (cultivars) for treating nausea and the accompanying symptoms of vomiting and appetite loss include:
- OG Kush
- Jack Herer
- Blueberry Diesel
- Sour Diesel
- Durban Poison
- Blue Dream
How Cannabis Affects Nausea
Scientists believe the body’s innate endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates nausea. If the endocannabinoid system is out of balance, symptoms may develop, including nausea. The chemical compounds in cannabis bind to receptors in your ECS and send signals for various actions, such as possible nausea relief.
One compound, in particular, has been shown to have anti-vomiting properties: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). More widely known as the prominent psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, THC is also the basis for an anti-nausea drug called dronabinol.
Dronabinol has been FDA-approved since 1985 for its ability to reduce nausea and vomiting from cancer treatments, including radiation and chemotherapy. When the drug first went on the market in the 1980s, it also targeted the accompanying appetite loss (and sometimes anorexia) that may develop from HIV and AIDS. Available by prescription only, dronabinol is a synthetic form of THC and is still in use today for the management of cachexia associated with AIDS/HIV and cancer.
Other cannabinoids in cannabis, such as cannabidiol (CBD), may have more modest effects on nausea. Cannabinoids like cannabigerol (CBG) may oppose the anti-nausea effects of CBD, but high doses of it may be needed to impact cannabis’ overall anti-emetic effects in humans. For most people, THC is the cannabinoid of choice for treating nausea, but using a full range of cannabinoids and other compounds is generally recommended.
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Best Ways to Use Cannabis for Nausea
Some people prefer to smoke cannabis to reduce nausea, while others seek relief from topical products applied directly to the belly or the head in the case of migraines. Cannabis edibles may not be the best choice for those having trouble eating or keeping food down. If you have nausea and want to consume cannabis orally, a drop or two of tincture could provide a better alternative to edibles.
Regardless of the consumption method, relief from nausea is immediate for most people. Researchers at the University of New Mexico reported that more than 96% of individuals in one study experienced relief from nausea within an hour of consuming cannabis. Flower and concentrates were the most effective products for the 2,220 people who participated in the study. Not surprisingly, edibles were found to be the least effective.
It is important to note that nausea can be a side effect of cannabis for some people. In addition, cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is a rare but serious disorder that may occur after long-term cannabis use. CHS involves frequent, uncontrollable vomiting and has no known cure. Speak with your doctor before using cannabis to treat nausea and/or vomiting.
Best Strains for Nausea
These eight strains (cultivars) have been effective for some medical users seeking relief from nausea and vomiting. Whether you want a lift after a bout with nausea or need to unwind, these strains offer distinct benefits.
However, it is wise to remember that any cannabis containing THC and other anti-emetic cannabinoids like CBD, high doses of tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabinol (CBN) can help reduce nausea and vomiting. Some people may find another strain to be more helpful for their nausea. The strains below are some of the most popular cultivars with many reports of anti-emetic properties.
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OG Kush is among the most popular strains to treat nausea, especially chemotherapy-induced nausea. High levels of THC make OG Kush a potent strain for nausea and one recommended for daytime use due to its intense psychoactive effects that can trigger insomnia.
Originating in the Netherlands, Jack Herer is a dynamic hybrid strain. Blending Haze, Northern Lights #5, and Shiva Skunk, Jack Herer is reputed to be refreshing with a woodsy pine aroma. With THC levels reaching up to 25%, this strain is a good choice for people undergoing chemotherapy and seeking nausea relief.
Mellow, relaxed, and hungry are a few words people use to describe the effects of Blueberry Diesel. This moderate-to-high THC strain (approximately 18%) may stimulate appetite and calm waves of nausea.
This sativa-dominant strain is favored by many people seeking a simultaneous energy burst and settled stomach. Some users also claim that Sour Diesel boosts their appetite, making it a good potential choice for anyone with nausea, but especially for those going through cancer treatments.
Durban Poison may not only decrease your nausea but also increase your appetite. Containing between 15% and 25% THC, this strong sativa is suitable for daytime use and can help tame a sour stomach.
This indica-dominant strain is good for nighttime use and may help you sleep. Headband leaves many people feeling mellow and has a lemony citrus flavor that helps some ward off nausea.
Nausea and chronic pain are two conditions that Lavender reportedly helps treat. The floral lavender scent is soothing for many, and ultra-high (27%) THC concentrations may lessen nausea. The smell of Lavender is mainly attributed to the terpene linalool, which also has stress-busting and anti-emetic properties.
No list of the best medical strains would be complete without mentioning Blue Dream. This sativa-leaning hybrid contains up to 25% THC and has a reputation for easing both physical and mental discomfort. The berry-flavored strain is sometimes praised for its ability to soothe anxiety and depression, two conditions that can lead to nausea in some people. Blue Dream’s wide terpene profile and pleasant flavors make it an approachable cultivar for beginners.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does hybrid weed help with nausea?
Hybrid weed, as well as pure indica and pure sativa cannabis, can benefit some people suffering from nausea. Cannabis is an effective treatment even for severe nausea that frequently follows chemotherapy.
Does CBD help with nausea?
CBD may help with nausea, but THC is the cannabinoid that has shown to be most effective in relieving nausea. The prescription medication dronabinol contains a synthetically derived version of THC, and this medication is sometimes prescribed to people experiencing severe nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy.
Which cannabinoid is best for nausea?
THC may be the best cannabinoid for nausea relief, but the Entourage Effect makes THC work most effectively in tandem with other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Seek out a cannabis strain with a full range of therapeutic compounds for the most potent possible relief from nausea and other conditions.
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