For people suffering from nausea caused by gastrointestinal disorders, emotional distress, motion sickness or chemotherapy treatments (known as CINV), cannabis can provide relief. Different cannabis formulations may deliver comfort with varying time to effect, and the exact type of product that works best will depend on the person’s needs and symptoms.
Reduces nausea and vomiting
The primary psychoactive component in marijuana, THC in cannabis help reduce nausea. According to research, it suppresses conditioned gaping reactions in rats and inhibits vomiting within a limited dose range. It also stops the nausea-producing endocannabinoids anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).
The non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD, may also help reduce nausea. It acts on presynaptic CB1 receptors to decrease the release of serotonin into the synapse, which inhibits the nauseous response.
A recent study showed that cannabis can alleviate chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. The researchers found that patients who used vaporizers and edibles experienced symptom relief within an hour of consumption. In general, Sativa-dominant strains were more effective than Indica-dominant strains.
Nausea can have a significant impact on quality of life. Finding a treatment option that works for you is important, and medical cannabis may be the answer. If you want to try medicinal marijuana, a licensed physician on Veriheal’s platform can help you determine the right dosage for your symptoms. A doctor can also discuss potential side effects. For example, sedation and dizziness may occur but are usually minor.
The munchies are a common side effect of marijuana use. Medical cannabis activates a receptor in your brain that enhances how much you crave sweet, sugary, salty and fat-rich foods.
Scientists are still deciphering why the drug makes us hungry. Still, they know it involves how the cannabinoids bind to receptors in your olfactory bulb, making foods smell and taste better and stimulating feeding centers that control how full you feel.
One study found that inhaling THC increases the release of a hormone called ghrelin, which tells your brain you’re hungry. Other studies have found that medical cannabis interacts with a small area of your hypothalamus that picks up on ghrelin levels.
If your THC consumption increases your appetite, try lowering the dosage or switching to a different strain. The cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is known to increase hunger, while other cannabinoids like CBD reduce it. Finding a balance may take some trial and error. It’s also a good idea to always keep healthy snacks around. Snacks like fresh fruit and raw veggies with hummus can help satisfy cravings without packing on the pounds.
Helps prevent dehydration
The good news is that, in general, cannabis doesn’t dehydrate you. But, like many things, it is important to be consistent with your consumption. Keep water and other hydrating fluids with you at all times, especially during your consumption of cannabis. Gum chewing is a good idea, too, as it can prevent the signals sent from your endocannabinoid system that limit saliva production. You may also want to reduce the amount of mouthwash, breath sprays, and sugary beverages, as these can contribute to dry mouth.
Long-term cannabis users are at risk of developing a condition called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). CHS causes nausea and uncontrollable vomiting, which can lead to dehydration. This can be life-threatening and requires treatment in a hospital. Some people can treat the symptoms at home with heat therapy and capsaicin cream, but for most, stopping cannabis use is the only science-backed way to stop the signs.
To help prevent dehydration, choosing products with higher concentrations of CBD is a good idea. This non-psychoactive component of marijuana provides a relaxing, mellow high without reducing your appetite.
Helps you sleep
If sleep troubles keep you up at night, cannabis can be a powerful ally in your battle to get restful nights. Unlike pharmaceutical sleep aids such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium), cannabis is a natural sleep promoter. “With a little help from THC and CBD, it can help you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up feeling well rested,” says Ardillo.
When choosing a cannabis product to help with sleep, Ardillo suggests opting for edible products that contain THC and CBN (cannabinol), which are less psychoactive than THC and have sedating properties. She also recommends selecting an indica strain to promote sleep.
When choosing an edible, set a timer because it can take up to 60 minutes for the effects to kick in—unlike smoking a joint or using a pipe, which usually takes about 10 minutes to start working. Also, don’t rely on edibles as your only sleep aid because long-term use can cause REM rebound. REM rebound means your dreams become vivid and exciting, which can keep you awake.
Helps you relax
Weed and CBD bolster your body’s endocannabinoid system to promote feelings of relaxation. This is a crucial part of reducing the effects of stress and anxiety on the human body, which can include everything from increased heart rate and blood pressure to a decreased immune system.
A low dose of THC (the psychoactive component in cannabis) is known to reduce stress and induce feelings of calm in most people. However, high doses can increase anxiety and paranoia. THC has a biphasic effect on the ECS, meaning that low doses beat stress and encourage relaxation, while high doses may cause paranoia, anxiety or agitation.
To avoid the latter, it’s best to avoid a low dose and always consume in a safe and comfortable environment. This is why many medical patients turn to CBD, which doesn’t get you high but still boosts your ECS to promote calming and relaxing sensations. For example, a neuropathic patient with stress and tension could use a 1:1 THC: CBD tincture every night before bed.