Marijuana and THC act differently to CBD in the way in which it suppresses nausea and vomiting. THC mainly interacts with the CB-1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. CB-1 receptors are primarily responsible for regulating the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Thus, they either inhibit or encourage the release of certain chemicals or hormones in the body.
In the case of treating nausea and vomiting specifically related to chemotherapy side-effects, THC is effective at blocking the 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) receptor in the brain. This is the receptor that has been directly associated with nausea, retching, and vomiting. Blocking the receptor or the neurotransmitters responsible for activating the receptor is an effective way of preventing nausea. Research findings suggest that nausea and vomiting saw suppressions of up to 70% of patients receiving chemotherapy for the first time through THC. Marijuana contains both CBD and THC for the treatment of nausea and vomiting. Do note that when using marijuana, patients might experience psychoactivity, which not everyone finds pleasant.
The sensation is a defense mechanism that tells the body that it is sick or prevents it from getting sick. For example, certain odors may cause nausea. These odors are to warn against ingesting food or other items that are toxic or rotten and could result in illness. Vomiting is the body’s way of getting rid of poisonous or rotten food that is causing illness.
Nausea and Chemotherapy – What Causes Nausea In Chemotherapy Patients?
So, how does CBD help with nausea?
Cannabinoids are chemicals that interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the human body to regulate certain bodily and brain functions. Your own body is able to produce cannabinoids in small quantities in order to perform this regulatory function itself. The cannabinoids that your body makes itself are ‘endocannabinoids.’ Of course, cannabis plants do also carry cannabinoids, called ‘phytocannabinoids’ when they are of plant origin. Phytocannabinoids interact with the ECS, and its effects are also able to bring a sense of homeostasis to the body. Thus, you can use phytocannabinoids as supplements for your ECS, which is convenient since your body only can produce so many endocannabinoids itself.
Now, just how does CBD help with nausea, especially for chemotherapy patients experiencing it chronically?
The ECS has two kinds of receptors, the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors. CB-1 receptors are primarily in the brain and also in the spinal cord, endocrine glands, and some other organs as well. CB-2 receptors, on the other hand, are across the immune system and the spleen. CB-1 receptors regulate certain types of brain functions. Meanwhile, CB-2 receptors play a role in regulating pain sensation and inflammation response.
I received a call from Laura three days after her latest chemo, and quickly answered it to see if her trial of cannabis had been helpful to her. At first I was concerned because she was crying into the phone, but when I could understand her words I was thrilled. She reported, “It worked faster, better, and more completely than any of the prescriptions my oncologist gave me.”
One key to controlling symptoms seems to be receptors in parts of the brain and in the GI tract that produce and bind with serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Zofran, a well-known anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) medication, works by blocking the nauseating effects of serotonin release.
What is Nausea?
CBDA , the acidic, raw form of CBD , is even more active at the serotonin receptors, and preclinical (animal) studies indicate that CBDA is a potent anti-emetic, stronger than either CBD or THC . 2, 3 CBDA is the form of CBD that exists in the growing CBD -rich plant, before the plant has been dried or heated. With heating, CBDA becomes CBD , just like THCA decarboxylates to become THC . Currently, the best source of CBDA would be juice from fresh, high- CBD plants, but in the future dispensaries may be able to offer CBDA products for patients with need.
Laura was a physician who spent much of her clinical time treating substance abuse disorders, and she had no recent experience with cannabis herself. Her aversion to using cannabis when she was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer did not surprise me. Nausea, and the anxiety that preceded its inevitable occurrence, were disabling. I trained with Laura in family medicine, and I had appreciated the beneficial effects of cannabis used by my cancer patients, but it was hard getting Laura to accept my advice.
Nausea and vomiting are protective defense mechanisms in the human body, and short-term episodes can be therapeutic, though miserable. But what if nausea is not short-term? What if it is an unavoidable side effect, or chronic, with no relief in sight?
Nausea is a very unpleasant and unnerving symptom to experience. The causes of nausea can be diverse; everything from stomach bugs to migraines to medication side effects can make you nauseous. Similarly, there are several different remedies for nausea – but finding the right one for you can be tricky.
Read reviews and fact-check the brand’s claims.
What Causes Nausea?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It’s a cannabinoid found naturally in the Cannabis sativa plant. This means it’s found in marijuana, but also in industrial hemp. All CBD products available online are made from industrial hemp, and not marijuana.
To be clear, the effects of CBD are not yet fully understood by the medical community. Research is ongoing, but at the moment it’s not clear how exactly CBD interacts with the root causes of nausea symptoms.
Many nausea sufferers are starting to look into alternative options, including cannabis products. CBD (cannabidiol) is particularly popular, as it is not intoxicating. Those seeking natural remedies for nausea may be interested in using CBD products, but there is much confusion surrounding the topic.