By Emily Ledger
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the primary compounds found in the Cannabis plant, alongside THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Many have cited it’s possible health benefits, including in treating emotional problems such as Anxiety and Depression, and motor diseases like Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. Some experts are now exploring the possibility of CBD’s benefits for cancer-induced nausea.
What makes us feel nauseous?
Nausea is a feeling of discomfort or unease, often accompanying an urge to vomit. People may experience nauseous feelings for a multitude of reasons, such as unusual movement (motion sickness) or pregnancy (morning sickness). So, what causes nausea?
Feelings of nausea are often caused by a chemical imbalance. For example, during early pregnancy, the body sees a rush of hormones, and sometimes a loss of red blood cells in the blood. These can both be causes of morning sickness. Following chemotherapy, the body releases a series of chemicals to stimulate the “vomiting reflex”, in a bid to expel the foreign substances.
Cannabinoids and Chemotherapy-induced Nausea
When researchers originally began studying the anti-nausea effects of cannabinoids, THC was the focus. Nabilone, a synthetic analogue of THC, was even specifically licensed to treat chemotherapy and cancer-induced nausea and vomiting. However, later research found that CBD could also be effective in treating nausea, when applied within a limited dose range.
Studies have been carried out in the UK, America, Canada and Australia into the efficacy of cannabinoids as a nausea treatment, and the results have been generally positive. It is thought that CBD is able to control nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy, due to it’s relationship with serotonin and serotonin receptors. CBD is thought to indirectly inhibit serotonin receptors and decrease the levels of serotonin produced by the body.
As we said earlier, serotonin is released to stimulate the the vomiting controls in the brain. So, the theory is that CBD can effectively block vomiting signals in the brain.
So, existing evidence is promising but, as always, research is still in its infancy. Always check with your doctor before taking CBD alongside any prescribed medications.