If you’ve ever had motion sickness, you know how unpleasant it can be. Whether you get it when you fly, sail, or even just read in the car, it can start off slow and then hit you like a ton of bricks.
So, is there any value in taking CBD for motion sickness, either before you travel or once those feelings hit?
And what even causes those feelings anyway?
What Causes Motion Sickness?
These are all common symptoms of motion sickness:
- nausea and/or vomiting
- shortness of breath
So what causes them? Motion sickness is caused by confusion with the different systems in your body. Your brain senses motion through different pathways of the nervous system (the inner ear, eyes, skin, muscle and joint sensory receptors.).
With normal movement, where all systems are working together and seeing/hearing/feeling the same things, the input from all of the pathways are in sync in your brain. We doubt you’ve ever heard of someone getting motion sickness from walking down the street.
The problem is, when your systems are not experiencing certain feelings at the same time or in the same way, the central nervous system gets mixed signals from the sensory systems. For example, if you’re reading in a car (not looking out of a window), your inner ears sense movement, but your eyes aren’t moving at all. Most believe that this conflict between the inputs is what causes motion sickness.
Cue the nausea, vomiting, headache…
CBD for Motion Sickness
When motion sickness hits, some turn to meds like Gravol (or even stronger drugs) to relieve the symptoms. These antiemetic drugs desensitize the inner ear to the motion of the head, which is a major part of that “mixed signalling” we mentioned earlier.
So, is there something to be said for CBD for motion sickness as a viable alternative?
Let’s take a look at the research.
Nausea and vomiting are the most common symptoms of motion sickness, and we’re lucky enough to know that CBD can help with these two things. There’s significant research that tells us that it can help regulate nausea and vomiting in humans and other animals. In fact, there’s been extensive research done on CBD for cancer patients, particularly those going through chemotherapy, and the results are promising: “Preclinical research indicates that cannabinioids, including CBD, may be effective clinically for treating both nausea and vomiting produced by chemotherapy or other therapeutic treatments.”
How does this work? Receptors in the endoannabinoid system are activated by CBD, and this activation helps to inhibit nausea and vomiting.
But that’s just nausea and vomiting.
For motion sickness specifically, there is less research to go on. Some studies have found results that suggest CBD could be in important therapeutic alternative, especially for those who don’t really respond to other treatments. However, to be objective, other research does note that, while THC is antiemetic to motion, there is evidence that CBD doesn’t seem to have much effect on motion-indused nausea and vomiting. Darn.
Yes, No, Maybe?
As you can see, we’re just not at a point yet to definitively state yes or no. Unfortunately, the research into CBD for motion sickness is just not extensive enough yet to reach a conclusion about its effectiveness. In this case, as with many others, only time will tell!
The thing to remember is, CBD is all natural, so if you’re looking to try it as an alternative to regular motion sickness meds, it’s not going to hurt. Let us know if it works for you!