Cannabinoids, Hemp and Severe Nausea is an interesting topic indeed. One of the most common reasons why medical cannabis is prescribed is to relieve nausea, and may be why you purchase Elixinol. Nausea can be caused by many things: physical illness, pharmaceutical drugs, too much alcohol or psychological stimuli. But how can hemp and cannabinoids work to treat nausea and vomiting?
The psychoactive cannabinoid THC, which is drastically reduced in hemp plants, has been studied for years for its effects in relieving the nausea and vomiting that many cancer patients experience1. In an early trial from 19752, 14 out of 20 patients taking THC experienced reduced nausea and vomiting. Of those who finished the study, THC was effective in 12 of 15 cases. In another3 trial from the 1980s, THC reduced nausea and vomiting in 23 of the 36 patients assigned to receive it. Only one of the 36 patients taking the pharmaceutical control experienced relief. It works by stimulating our cannabinoid receptors, but not everyone can tolerate the “high”.
Cannabidiol (CBD) doesn’t cause a high, but research on shrews showed that it can also reduce nausea and vomiting1. Its non-heated form, CBDA, was able to produce this effect at a much lower dose, 0.1 and 0.5 mg/kg of body weight instead of 5 and 10mg/kg doses. This effect was partly explained by stimulation of receptors called 5-HT
A CBDV molecule.
1A receptors. CBD also does not directly stimulate the cannabinoid receptors. However, it can increase the levels of our own, naturally occurring cannabinoids, by reducing their breakdown and uptake into cells. Additionally, beta-caryophyllene, one of the terpenes in hemp4, has also been found to stimulate the cannabinoid receptors. While its anti-nausea abilities have not been specifically tested, this action may mean it has supporting effects.
Another cannabinoid known as CBDV5 may also reduce nausea and vomiting. CBDV is the “raw” version of CBD, which turns into the more well-known cannabinoid after heating. Research on rats found that it was able to prevent nausea caused by a toxin, by stimulating the cannabinoid receptors. This was unlike the drug Rimonabant, which works against cannabinoid receptors and increased nausea.
CBD and CBDA can both relieve nausea caused by toxins and prevent anticipatory nausea, which is caused by psychological conditioning1. Other terpenes4 present in hemp besides beta-caryophyllene may also be able to play a role in reducing anticipatory nausea. This is typically treated by prescription of benzodiazepines, which increase a neurotransmitter called GABA, but may be too sedating and addictive. Linalool, a terpene present in both hemp and lavender, has been found to reduce anxiety and promote mild sedation by increasing GABA. It also reduces glutamate, a neurotransmitter which can be overstimulating in excess. Myrcene is another terpene which has shown sedative effects; it is also found in hops, a plant often used to aid sleep in Germany.
Unfortunately, while there is abundant research on THC and relief of nausea and vomiting, CBD and other non-psychoactive components of hemp have largely been neglected. However, the currently available research and reported experiences suggest that CBD-rich hemp oil could be a promising preventative for vomiting.