Motion sickness is the bane of travelers. CBD has been shown to improve motion sickness symptoms in recent studies. Here’s how it works and how CBD may be used to support motion sickness symptoms.
Motion sickness is annoying. It can make travel exceptionally difficult and uncomfortable for those affected.
Characteristic symptoms of motion sickness include dizziness, excessive saliva production, shallow breathing, fatigue, cold sweats, and nausea or vomiting.
CBD may offer powerful anti-nausea benefits towards symptoms of motion sickness — acting directly on the region of the brain responsible for causing feelings of nausea.
Here, we’ll investigate the causes of motion sickness, the ways CBD can help, and how to get started using it yourself.
Let’s get into it.
CBD is a potent medicinal compound extracted from the cannabis plant. It owes much of its medicinal benefit to its ability to enhance the endocannabinoid system — which is intimately involved with processes including nausea and vomiting .
Drug companies have manufactured compounds that block the endocannabinoid (CB1) receptors in the brain. They recently tested one drug as a potential weight loss medication. Although it did help patients lose some weight, it also made them excessively nauseous .
This study provides evidence that the endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating the nausea/vomiting center in the brain.
The endocannabinoid system is thought to connect the physical and emotional relationship between the gut and brain, leading researchers to believe that CBD may provide relief from nausea caused by stress and gut infections .
CBD optimizes the endocannabinoid system by protecting anandamide levels — one of the primary endocannabinoids involved in regulating the nausea center in the brain.
The most common cause of motion sickness is an issue with organs inside our ears that help us maintain our balance.
We have a specialized set of organs in each ear that use gravity to tell us which direction is up and down. When we’re in situations that cause this to change frequently — such as being on a moving boat, car, train, or plane — these organs can start to send chaotic messages to the brain.
These organs send signals to the brain that something is not quite right, making us feel nauseous — sometimes strong enough to make us vomit.
We’re still not sure why this happens more frequently in certain people more than others — but there are a few well-known risk factors.
One of the most relevant benefits of CBD — regarding motion sickness — is its ability to inhibit the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). This is the side of the nervous system responsible for regulating the stress response.
When we experience stress, the SNS takes charge to prepare us from potential danger by either fighting our way through it or helping us run away. This process is often referred to as the “fight or flight” response.
In some people, the SNS activates too early, or with too much intensity for the situation. In other words, it overreacts to the situation at hand.
It appears that when the balance receptors start to send strange feedback to the brain (like the sensations experienced when flying, or on a boat), the brain overreacts by firing the SNS on all cylinders.
Some people experience anxiety, while others will feel motion sickness— some are unfortunate enough to experience both symptoms simultaneously.
There are preemptive medications that reduce the severity of motion sickness for travel. These medications often cause other undesirable side-effects — some of which are worse than the original symptoms of motion sickness.
Another downside of motion sickness medications is that they need to be taken regularly to achieve the best results.
CBD is an excellent option for preventing or managing motion sickness because it works on multiple causes of the disorder at the same time.
For starters, it inhibits an enzyme known as fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) — which is responsible for breaking down our endocannabinoids. By blocking this enzyme, we can increase anandamide levels in the brain.
Anandamide activates the endocannabinoid receptors in the nausea center of the brain to alleviate symptoms of motion sickness.
CBD has the added benefit of keeping the SNS from going haywire. This has a compounded advantage of relieving nausea and anxiety — which are closely related and often strike at the same time.
The first step to treating motion sickness with CBD is to determine the starting dosage. This varies from one person to the next, so it’s important to do some trial and error before locking down a particular daily dose.
Most research involving CBD for motion sickness uses the supplement at high doses. Whether or not we need high doses for the compound to work is still up for debate.
Many people find relief at doses in the medium strength (see chart below), though you may need to try different doses until you find what works for you.
We recommend starting at the smallest dose according to your weight, and increase gradually until you find the relief you need. The medium strength dose seems to work well for reducing motion sickness in many people.
For best results, take the CBD before the motion sickness starts — this can be difficult to predict, but if you frequently experience symptoms on a boat or plane, try taking the CBD dose an hour or so before your scheduled trip.
Recommended Strength For Motion Sickness: Medium Strength
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CBD stops motion sickness by regulating regions in the brain responsible for controlling it.
There are other supplements you can use to help stop motion sickness as well; compounding these supplements may yield a greater level of effects.
CBD is an excellent option for treating, and preventing motion sickness. Although it works best when taken before motion sickness sets in, it’s still useful for alleviating symptoms after they start.
We recommend finding a high-quality CBD oil with at least a mid-level potency (500 mg CBD per 30 mL bottle or higher) and take a medium-strength dose.
For maximum benefits, you can mix your CBD with other anti-emetic or anti-nausea supplements such as ginger or chokecherry.