Cannabis: An Effective Treatment for Nausea? Clinical Evidence You Should Not Ignore
Introduction to cannabis and nausea
Remember that classic movie, “Reefer Madness?” Earlier in the 20th century, when pot smoking was being introduced into our culture, there was a lot of fear that the smoking (or otherwise ingesting) of marijuana would cause people to lose complete control and become some sort of degenerate criminal or lunatic (hence the movie title’s reference to “madness”).
Fast-forward to today, and we are still waiting for the zombie apocalypse to arrive. But to no avail – there are no crowds of pot-addled lunatics out roaming the streets.
In fact, as time goes by more and more scientific work is being done to show that the ingredients in Cannabis can have a very helpful therapeutic when used to treat some very serious medical conditions. And one of those is nausea, the subject of this discussion.
There is Nausea – and Then There is NAUSEA
You know what it is like to feel nausea coming on. That queasy feeling in your stomach – water filling your mouth – the rush to the toilet. Uggh. We’ve all experienced this from time-to-time.
Yet, millions of people around the world suffer from chronic, severe bouts of nausea. This means unrelenting discomfort, the inability to keep food down (or even find it appetizing), weakness (both from the nausea itself and from the inability to eat much, if at all).
Dealing with this on a daily basis brings with it a good deal of stress and worry – and even bouts of depression. People living with this level of nausea are not really living at all – just existing.
Cannabis to The Rescue
It is not uncommon for medical doctors to prescribe various compounds to help relieve nausea, as well as the urge to vomit, as the two conditions are often found together.
But sometimes folks need more. And the active ingredients in Cannabis can help. One authority site documents a study that was done way back in 1975 that provided early evidence that one of the active ingredients in pot – THC – could give real nausea relief.
As a matter-of-fact, did you know that there is an FDA-approved drug, Marinol ™ that contains synthetic THC and is prescribed for use with patients who need relief from nausea? This drug has been an approved drug for nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite – and it has been used for countless cancer and HIV/AIDS patients – since 1985!
Patients suffering from Cancer and HIV/AIDS, Hep C, Leukemia, Huntington’s Disease, Lupus and other conditions undergo treatments that can produce nausea, unintended for sure, but a real problem nonetheless. Prescribed antiemetic drugs can themselves bring on their own side effects – and a notable one is a “drugged” or sluggish feeling, or feeling drowsy or sleepy.
Certain strains of Cannabis, though, can be ingested to counteract that sluggishness as they have the capacity to leave you feeling alert and energized – and the well-known “munchy” effect from pot can help to encourage users without an appetite to eat more. A person weakened from not eating enough can struggle even more to recover their health, and in fact become susceptible to developing other medical conditions unless their appetite can be restored.
A review of medical research done through August 2020 discovered 30 clinical trials that demonstrated that synthetic cannabinoids were more effective in treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) than other medications.
Finally, this study, published in the 1979 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that smoked cannabis was effective “in reducing the number of vomiting and retching episodes, degree of nausea, duration of nausea and volume of emesis” in patients receiving high doses of methotrexate for cancer (specifically osteogenic sarcoma).
Best Cannabis Strains for Nausea Relief
The following strains are worth investigating in more detail if you are struggling with nausea for any reason:
- CBD Black Diesel – The pot variety known as “Diesel” has a well-earned reputation of giving you a mountaintop experience high, being a heavy-hitter sativa variety. CBD Black Diesel is a hybrid that has more CBD (in the 5-8% range). This variety has been effective in helping those suffering from chronic pain, Multiple Sclerosis, anxiety and other conditions such as Epilepsy.
- Blue Dream – This feminine variety is also a Sativa-dominant type which will help you to perk up your eating habits if nausea has destroyed your appetite. If you are growing this one outdoors, you will find your harvest ready in the Fall (around October, depending on your location, sunlight and outdoor temperatures). It has the interesting ability to mentally refresh you as well as giving you a touch of body relaxation. It is one of the better smelling pot varieties.
- Carmen x Durban Poison – To grow this variety you will need lots of height, as this plant grows a full 9 feet tall. This variety is also a sativa-dominant hybrid which is currently being used to help those suffering from anxiety and inflammation. They can also assist with migraines, nausea and depression. It has a calming, yet stimulating effect when used.
- Lavander – If you are looking for a more moderate variety of Cannabis – more balanced in its effects – then you should look at Lavander. This Cannabis plant is 60% Indica (valued for relaxation and soothing effects) and 40% Sativa (for some stimulation, mental clarity and general alertness). This strain provides real relief for chronic pain as well as nausea. It is an absolutely beautiful-looking plant and smells just like…you guessed it…lavender. It is also a strain that is very resistant to common molds and mildew.
- Northern Lights 10 – This is the 10th iteration of the famous Northern Lights strain is pure nausea relief as it is an Indica-dominant (calming effects) hybrid (Pure Afghani Landrace and Thai Sativa). If you have had trouble growing Cannabis outdoors because of ever-changing temperatures, Northern Lights 10 could be a good choice for you as it tolerates temperature fluctuations better than some other pot strains. This variety is also highly resistant to plant disease and mold.
Next Steps: Cannabis for Medical Use
First, you should determine if you are currently suffering from a medical condition that will allow you, under the law, to use marijuana for medical reasons.
For cancer and HIV/AIDS patients, the answer is usually yes if they are undergoing chemotherapy or are using prescribed drugs that cause nausea.
But there are some additional medical conditions that may be accompanied by episodes of severe nausea:
PTSD – Panic/Anxiety Attacks – Gastritis – Crohn’s disease – Hypoglycemia. If you are not sure whether or not you have a qualifying condition, you should arrange for a consultation with your physician to discuss your treatment options.
If it is determined that Cannabis or Cannabis-related therapy may be a good choice for you, you should next check to see what laws are applicable to you, as
Medical marijuana laws by state can vary widely.
State legislatures have passed laws that define exactly what types of medical conditions a person must have in order to qualify. They may also require you to carry a special ID card with your photo.
While many people may choose to purchase their Cannabis from a dispensary, some will opt to grow their own crop, in order to insure their pot is free from harmful additives, is of consistent quality, involves spending less money, and provides them with an uninterrupted supply of plants.
Cannabis can be grown either indoors or outdoors. Traditional soil growing is one option, or you can invest in a hydroponic (liquid based) or aeroponic (sprayed) system if you like. Growing indoors allows for better climate control and privacy as your crop can be grown in a room that is kept free from house traffic (or even locked if you prefer).
It would still be helpful to involve your doctor, however, as they can provide you with a letter that indicates that, in their medical judgment, marijuana would be helpful in your situation.
Do I Need A Special Doctor?
You may already be one of the fortunate ones – someone who has a doctor who is open-minded and willing to evaluate their patients for possible medical marijuana use and issue recommendation letters when needed.
But you might not be so fortunate. Just as society-at-large is made up of those who are open to pot use and those who are not, the same is true of the medical field. Some doctors are not yet convinced that Cannabis use – in any form or in certain ways, such as smoking – is medically beneficial.
The good news, though, is that if your current doctor is not open to the idea, there are medical service providers who can work through the process with you, helping you with testing and documents that you may need. Many of these providers can set up a tele visit if that is more convenient for you.
In closing, we strongly urge everyone who is suffering from recurring, severe bouts of nausea, whether caused by an underlying medical condition or caused by medical treatments for that condition, to do their own research to determine if becoming a pot grower is a good option for you, or to help those whom you love who are suffering. Everyone deserves the best possible quality of life, and the informed use of Cannabis can help you to achieve that goal.