Best CBD Oil for Nausea and Vomiting: Does It Help, Dosage, & How to Use
There are few natural substances that offer the level of nausea support as CBD.
This phytocannabinoid targets the nausea center in the brainstem directly.
Here’s how it works & how to use it.
Nausea is a common symptom experienced by millions of people every day.
We’ve all felt it at some point or another — general queasiness, excessive drooling, and the urge to vomit.
Cannabis is one of the most reliable anti-nausea herbs available, even compared to ginger (known for its powerful anti-nausea benefits).
Here’s how CBD and cannabis extracts are used to alleviate nausea and vomiting.
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Updated on November 13, 2021
Table of Contents
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Can CBD Oil Help With Nausea?
All mammals have an endocannabinoid system — a series of receptors and hormone-like compounds that control homeostasis (balance) throughout the body.
One of the responsibilities of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate a special region in the medulla oblongata that controls the reflexes that trigger nausea and vomiting.
Research involving a new drug that blocks the endocannabinoid system shows that those given the drug often experienced nausea as a side-effect . This is an excellent demonstration of the role the endocannabinoid system plays in regulating nausea in the brain.
Blocking the endocannabinoid system makes us feel nauseous while boosting it eliminates nausea.
Other research involving a synthetic version of THC was shown to alleviate nausea and vomiting, supporting this theory even further .
Summary: Using CBD Oil For Nausea
- THC offers the most benefits for nausea. Find a full-spectrum extract with at least some THC content to get the most benefits for nausea relief.
- Always seek out high-quality CBD products. Poor manufacturing processes often use rancid oils and harmful additives that can lead to nausea.
- In order to get the biggest benefits, cannabis extracts need to be used at the first sign of nausea.
- For maximum anti-nausea effects, combine your CBD or hemp extracts with a strong ginger tea or other anti-nausea supplements.
Nausea begins with that queasy feeling in the stomach, accompanied by an urge to vomit. There are many different things that can cause nausea. The best treatment often depends on what triggered the queasiness.
Feelings of nausea originate in the brainstem in a special region known as the medulla oblongata. This region of the brain is responsible for regulating many of our autonomic (involuntary) functions such as breathing, sneezing, and vomiting.
Our automatic functions are regulated by higher regions of the brain that send signals to the medulla oblongata to make adjustments accordingly.
In the case of nausea, the brain activates the urge to vomit in an attempt to rid the digestive tract of toxic compounds (drugs or alcohol), infectious agents (bacteria or viral infections), or by mistake from abnormal neurological activity involved with migraines or brain tumors.
What Causes Nausea?
There are literally hundreds of different causes for nausea. The most common by far is food poisoning and other digestive system infections, accounting for as much as 37% of nausea cases. Roughly 3% of cases are reported to be the result of medication side-effects and pregnancy, while up to 10% of cases have no identifiable cause .
Nausea is also more common in young people. Children are the largest group of people who experience regular episodes of nausea, while people over the age of 65 appear to be affected the least .
Common Causes of Nausea:
Treatment Options for Nausea
There are pharmaceutical, herbal, nutritional, and lifestyle modifications that can be used to treat nausea. Not all of them work, and some are more specific for certain causes of nausea.
Treatments for Nausea Include:
- Antiemetic medications (such as Zofran)
- Ginger root (Zingiber officinalis)
- Cannabis (Cannabis)
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
- Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
- Antibiotic medications (such as amoxicillin, doxycycline, cephalexin)
- Opioid pain medications (such as oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl)
CBD vs. THC for Nausea
Cannabis is a reliable treatment for nausea and vomiting. It works through a couple of different pathways affecting the nausea center in the brain, as well as through indirect mechanisms that help manage many of the underlying causes of nausea.
The most significant effect of cannabis when it comes to treating nausea is from the effects of THC — the main psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. THC works by activating the CB1 receptors found in the medulla oblongata, the area responsible for making us feel nauseated . By activating these receptors, we can inhibit nausea.
CBD has also been shown to reduce feelings of nausea, though it’s not considered to be as effective as THC.
Most of the benefits from CBD are likely to come from its ability to increase anandamide levels, indirectly activating the CB1 receptors in the medulla through anandamide.
Anandamide and THC are similar structurally and activate the same receptors in the body.
Using CBD Oils with THC for Nausea
THC remains illegal for most of the world — however, times are changing.
Until the laws open up around the use of THC, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to find any products with this ingredient in concentrations over the 0.3% threshold.
THC doesn’t need to be psychoactive to be effective for nausea. THCA (THC-acid), the raw (unheated) version of the compound is non-psychoactive and has been shown to offer a similar level of anti-nausea benefits as activated THC.
As laws change around THC, it’s likely that there will be new companies popping up that sell non-psychoactive THC and THCA-rich cannabis preparations aimed at treating nausea and vomiting.
Until then, we’ll have to use the high-CBD hemp extracts. In order to maximize the benefit of these products, it’s recommended that you search for a full-spectrum extract that contains the whole gamut of cannabinoids including CBG, CBC, CBN, and indeed, THC (needs to be less than 0.3% to be legal in most places).
To really supercharge the anti-nausea effects, it’s recommended that you mix your CBD or hemp extracts with a strong ginger tea. Ginger is one of the best anti-nausea herbs available and uses different mechanisms than cannabis. When combined, the effects of the two herbs compound through a concept known as synergy.
The results of doing this are very impressive.
Mixing Cannabis With Other Anti-Nausea Herbs
For maximum benefits, we recommend mixing your CBD oil with other anti-nausea herbs.
This is useful because different herbs usually offer their anti-nausea benefits through separate mechanisms. These effects combine to produce even stronger effect profiles. This is a common technique used by professional herbalists for treating nausea — which is difficult to treat with single-herb preparations.
Mixing your CBD with herbs on the list below improve nausea relief, and can make the effects appear faster.
Other Herbs With Anti-Nausea Benefits:
You can take these herbs as tinctures, capsules, or as a strong tea. Always follow the directions on the package when using herbal supplements because the dose will vary according to how it’s manufactured.
What’s The Dosage of CBD for Nausea?
Figuring out the effective dose of CBD oil for nausea can be difficult — this is because the effects of CBD can vary significantly from one person to the next.
There are some general guidelines you can follow to estimate what the most likely dose you’ll need might be.
Below, we’ve outlined the rough weight-to-strength dosages for CBD oils.
When it comes to nausea, some people find relief at the low-strength, others need the high-strength doses to provide any benefit. The only way to find out how this works for you is to try it out. Start with the low dose, and build up gradually to the higher doses until you find relief from symptoms.
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What Are The Side-Effects of CBD?
Although CBD has been proven safe many times over, it’s important to know about the potential side-effects it may produce. Everybody is different, and what works in one person doesn’t always work the same way for another.
Here are some of the most common side-effects of CBD:
Key Takeaways: Can CBD Help With Nausea?
The cannabis plant is an excellent anti-nausea herb, comparable to other herbs such as ginger and chamomile. It’s even been shown to offer a similar benefit to pharmaceutical anti-nausea medications, with fewer side effects.
Although THC offers the most benefits toward nausea symptoms, CBD is still highly beneficial for nausea through its ability to enhance anandamide levels in the brain. As anandamide levels rise, they activate CB1 endocannabinoid receptors in the medulla oblongata of the brain where nausea and vomiting reflexes are controlled.
Choosing the right dose can be a challenge, as everyone responds to CBD differently. We recommend finding a high-quality, mid to high potency CBD oil and titrating the dose according to how you response. This involves starting with a low dose and building up over time until you find relief from your symptoms.
What Dosage of CBD Should You Take?
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Verywell / Madelyn Goodnight
CBD is available in a number of different formulations including creams, tablets, oils, and gummies. These can vary in terms of their ingredients as well as dosages, and there is not a great deal of research available on what dose might be beneficial or safe to treat certain conditions.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most abundant cannabinoid found in marijuana. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not have psychoactive effects. Interest in the use of CBD for health purposes has grown tremendously in the last few years.
CBD is believed to have a range of positive physical and mental health effects. Because of this, it has become increasingly popular as a way to alleviate everything from anxiety to sleep disorders.
In order to determine if CBD is right for you, it is important to consider its potential benefits, side effects, and available research on safe dosages.
CBD is just one of hundreds of different compounds found in the cannabis plant. While cannabis has been used in holistic medicine for many years, only recently have researchers begun to explore some of the medicinal purposes for CBD and other cannabinoids.
While further research is still needed, there is some evidence that CBD may have some beneficial mental health effects. These include:
- Alleviating depression: Some research also indicates that CBD may be useful as a treatment for depression. Studies suggest that the cannabinoid might have an influence on how the brain responds to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in mood. People with depression sometimes have a low level of serotonin, so CBD may help the brain use available serotonin more effectively.
- Improving sleep: While the reasons are not entirely understood and require further research, CBD also appears to have potential as a treatment for sleep problems. For example, one study found that people who took CBD also reported improvements in the quality of their sleep.
- Reducing anxiety: Anxiety is one of the most common types of mental health conditions, affecting almost 20% of American adults each year. Research suggests that CBD may help alleviate acute symptoms of a number of anxiety-related conditions including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
In addition to the mental health benefits, CBD may also have therapeutic benefits for a range of other conditions. The World Health Organization suggests that CBD may have beneficial effects in the treatment of:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Multiple sclerosis
It is important to remember that these benefits have not yet been conclusively proven. More research is needed to determine the role that CBD might play in the treatment of different disorders and health conditions.
There have been a number of studies that suggest that CBD may have a number of different physical and mental health uses. However, more research is still needed to better understand the substance’s potential applications and possible long-term side effects.
A 2019 comprehensive review published in The Lancet Psychiatry looked at previously published studies. The review ultimately concluded that there was little evidence to support the use of CBD for mental health purposes and suggested that more research is needed in order to substantiate its use to treat symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
It is important to remember that this doesn’t mean that CBD isn’t effective. Many of the studies that were included in the review were small, had few participants, and were not randomized controlled trials.
This suggests that more research involving more participants and well-designed studies is needed in order to better understand if, how, and why CBD works.
While its effectiveness is still up for debate, one 2017 review found that it was a relatively safe option. While it is important to remember that there is still a great deal we don’t yet know about CBD and its effects, it is something that you might opt to try to see if you experience any benefits.
How Much Should You Take?
The dosages used in research studies vary and there is no consensus on how much should be used for specific conditions. If you do decide to try CBD, it is also important to note that there is no universally agreed upon dose. Research also suggests that people may respond differently to various dosages, so the amount that is right for your needs might vary.
Some dosages that have been used in research studies for different conditions include:
- Anxiety: 300 to 600 mg
- Bowel disease: 10 mg per day
- Cancer-related pain: 50 to 600 mg per day
- Parkinson’s disease: 75 to 300 mg per day
- Poor sleep: 25 mg per day
- Psychosis: 600 mg per day
One 2020 review of studies found that participants showed improvements in anxiety levels after single doses of CBD ranging from 300 to 600 mg. Such results indicate that the CBD may hold promise as a treatment to alleviate symptoms of acute anxiety.
It is important to remember that you should always talk to your doctor before using CBD if you have symptoms of a serious mental or physical health condition. CBD could potentially worsen symptoms or interact with other medications you are taking.
Looking at the dosage information for the CBD product that has been FDA approved can also be helpful. For Epidiolex, an FDA-approved cannabis-derived medication used to treat seizures in people with certain types of epilepsy, the starting dosage is 5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. This dose can later be increased to 5 mg per kilogram of body weight twice a day.
Other CBD products are not FDA regulated and do not have officially recommended dosages. This can make it difficult to determine how much you might need, but there are some things you can consider that might help.
- Assess your sensitivity to CBD: Your individual ability to tolerate CBD can also play a role in determining how much you need. If you are very sensitive to the effects of CBD, you should take a small dose. Some people may find that they are not as affected by the substance, so they may need to take a larger dose to notice any beneficial effects.
- Consider individual factors: When you are trying to decide how much CBD to take, there are a number of factors you should consider. These include the formulation and concentration of the capsule, oil drops, or gummies you are taking, the symptoms you are treating, and your age, sex, weight, and overall health. Generally, people with heavier bodies need to take a little more to achieve the same effects. Men may need a larger dose, while older people may need less.
- Consider the symptoms you’re treating: The symptoms you are trying to alleviate can also play a role in the CBD dosage you need to take to see results. In one study, participants who took 25mg of CBD each day had improved sleep quality, although the results were not consistent. However, you might find that you need a lower or higher dose if you are treating another type of condition.
- Try a dosage calculator: Researchers note that while the variety of dosing strategies and formulations make it difficult to determine efficacy, there are a number of online “dose-calculators” available online (such as mydosage.com) that are designed to help people choose the correct dose. The accuracy of such calculators is difficult to assess, but it may be a good place to start.
Before you try CBD, discuss your plan with your doctor. They may be able to recommend a dose and help you better understand any potential risks, complications, side effects, or interactions you might experience.
Start With a Low Dose
Unless your doctor recommends a specific dose, start by taking 10 to 20 mg a day. Take this for a week to ensure that it is well-tolerated and that you don’t experience any unwanted effects or an allergic reaction.
If this dose does not have the desired effect, try increasing in increments of 5mg each week until the desired amount is reached.
In studies, amounts vary from as low as 20 milligrams per day to up to 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day. The World Health Organization reports that dosages in clinical research studies typically range between 100 and 800 milligrams per day.
Is It Possible to Take Too Much?
So what is the maximum amount of CBD you should take? Researchers have found that 600 mg per day appears to be safe, but one study suggested that doses of up to 1,500 mg a day are safe and tolerated well.
However, it’s important to remember that research is still in its infancy and experts do not yet fully understand the potential long-term impacts of CBD usage. For that reason, you should always discuss your CBD use with your doctor.
Starting at a lower dose and working your way up to the amount you need may be the best ways to avoid taking too much.
How to Take CBD
The amount of CBD found in a product may depend on different factors, including the formulation and method of administration. CBD products are available in a number of different forms including oils, capsules, tablets, nasal sprays, and gummies.
One of the most popular ways to take CBD is as an oil. Such products are made by combining CBD with some type of carrier oil, such as coconut oil. Some more recently developed products include dietary supplements, foods, beverages, lotions, salves, and cosmetics.
The type of CBD product you choose may depend on what you are trying to treat. If you are looking for general mood improvements, a dietary supplement might be a good option.
If you are targeting specific symptoms of a condition, taking an oil, capsule, or gummy might be a better way to obtain a higher, more concentrated dose.
Topical applications may produce localized effects, but they are unlike to have any mental health benefits.
What Kind Should You Take?
It’s also important to remember that many products don’t contain just CBD on its own. There are three types of CBD available:
- Isolate contains CBD and only CBD.
- Broad-spectrum contains CBD and other cannabinoids, but not THC.
- Full-spectrum contains CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids.
It may be helpful to take a broad-spectrum product since research suggests that CBD’s effects may be most beneficial when taken in conjunction with other cannabinoids, a phenomenon known as the entourage effect. CBD may also help mitigate some of the effects of THC.
While CBD is generally well-tolerated, this does not mean that you won’t experience any side effects.
Some of the most common side effects that people experience when taking CBD include:
- Appetite changes
- Stomach upset
- Weight changes
Some recent research has generated concerns over the safety and potential long term effects of CBD. One study involved giving mice an equivalent of the maximum dose of the CBD medication Epidiolex, which is used to treat certain forms of epilepsy. The results indicated an increased risk for liver damage as well as concerns over its interaction with other medications.
It is also important to remember that CBD products are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some manufacturers make unproven claims about the uses and efficacy of their products. There is also concern about the quality and safety of the products themselves.
One report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that a number of people experienced negative unwanted side effects due to CBD products that contained synthetic CBD, although the products were not labeled as containing such ingredients.
Mislabeling appears to be a fairly common problem with CBD products. In one study, 70% of the CBD products that were sold online contained significantly more of the psychoactive ingredient THC than the label indicated.
Federal law prohibits the sale of products that contain more than 0.3% THC. States laws also vary, so you should always check with your state before buying CBD products online.
A Word From Verywell
If you do decide to take CBD to alleviate an acute or chronic condition, remember that the amount that you take will depend on a variety of factors. Finding the right dosage often takes some experimentation and adjustments. Starting with a low dose and then gradually increasing the amount you take until you achieve the desired effects is the best approach.