Many people and pets struggle with motion sickness whether in a car, on a boat or any other moving object. For those that struggle with it, it’s the bane of travel for them. Motion sickness is really annoying. It can make travel really difficult and uncomfortable for those that are affected by it. It’s really, really uncomfortable and sometimes annoying (just being honest) for the person that is trying to assuage the person struggling or to be the one holding the bag (yuck!).
You may be surprised to learn that CBD may be a natural alternative to aid in those that struggle with motion sickness.
What causes motion sickness?
Motion sickness is caused by repeated movements when traveling, including going over bumps and around curves in the car or up and down on the water in a boat.
The inner ear sends different signals to your brain from those your eyes are seeing. These confusing messages can cause you to feel unwell.
The brain is receiving conflicting messages about motion and your body’s position in space. It wreaks havoc in messaging between the inner ear, eyes, skin receptors, muscle, and joint sensors. Proprioception is your awareness of the position and movement of your body.
There is no concrete evidence that explains why this happens frequently with some people and not others.
So, let’s take a better look at what we can put into our bodies to relieve motion sickness.
There are traditional remedies, pharmaceuticals, and over-the-counter medications, non-traditional traditional remedies, and CBD.
These are the more typical remedies we think of:
- Reduce consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and heavy or large meals before the trip. Drink lots of water instead.
- Lie down or shut your eyes, keep your head still.
- Keep your eyes focused on the horizon -- don’t read or stare at the seat in front of you.
- When in a car, taking the wheel can sometimes help. If you’re not driving, sit in the front seat not the back.
- If you’re on a plane, sit over the wing.
- If you’re on a bus or train, try to get a seat that faces in the direction you are headed.
- If you begin to feel nauseous, sip some ginger-ale or suck on a ginger candy, chew gum or eat a dry cracker.
- Add distractions -- music or an audio-book, but not reading.
- There’s some evidence that wrist pressure bands can help, but other studies have shown that they don’t.
There are some prescription and over-the-counter medications to address motion sickness but it’s always important to consult with your healthcare practitioner first. Those include Bonine and Antivert.
While both of these medications may help, common side effects may include:
- blurred vision,
- dry mouth,
- vomiting, or
This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur.
Scouring the internet for motion or seasickness remedies include odd traditional recommendations including:
- In Japan you’re supposed to tape a pickled plum to your stomach. (is it the smell?)
- Sit on a sheet of blotting paper or brown paper. (?!)
- Sea sickness: Drink a cup of seawater or bilge water. (I get it but no, thank you)
- Sea sickness: Take a handful of earth or mud onboard and sit on it during the voyage (see blotting paper in #2)
- Wear a “stomach control belt” commercially marketed in North America in the early 1900’s. (A return of the corset as a wellness device?)
- Those believing in the power of crystals carry a piece of malachite to reduce nausea.
I won’t take advantage of any of these “remedies” either!
What is CBD?
CBD is an acronym for cannabidiol. CBD is one of many cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis sativa plant. It owes much of its benefits to its inherent ability to engage with and enhance the endocannabinoid system in the body that helps to regulate and maintain balance (homeostasis).
CBD does not result in the “high” that people associate with cannabis (AKA marijuana). By law, CBD contains 0.3% or less THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another cannabinoid found in the cannabis sativa plant.
It is also intimately involved with the processes associated with nausea and vomiting.
CBD and nausea
There is preclinical research indicating that cannabinoids, including CBD, may be effective in treating nausea and vomiting. Current research is limited but there are some that believe that CBD may alleviate symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
A study done with animals in 2011 suggests that CBD may aid in nausea relief because of how it interacts with serotonin receptors. Serotonin is the key hormone in the body that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. This is one mighty and powerful hormone that impacts your entire body. It enables brain cells and other nervous system cells to communicate with each other. Serotonin also assists in sleeping, eating, and digestion. It’s a multi-faceted neurotransmitter and its biological function is complex. It’s also responsible for many physiological processes such as vomiting.
People should always consult with a health care practitioner before trying alternative products, like CBD, to make sure it's agreed that CBD is right for them.
CBD may act on the nausea center in the brain to allay nausea in its tracks.
Because nausea is one of the primary effects of motion sickness, if it may be possible to use an alternative, natural, plant-based product to assist, it may be worth a try. That’s what Hippocrates would have recommended!
CBD and Motion Sickness
CBD interacts directly with the endocannabinoid system.
The animal study we mentioned earlier demonstrates that there may be a direct correlation between the endocannabinoid system and the specific region of the brain that is responsible for the regulation of nausea and vomiting.
A clinical study demonstrated that, like many over-the-counter and prescription medications, the primary goal of controlling nausea and vomiting is to block the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system in the brain.
In the brain, the CB1 receptors are abundant in the cerebellum, basal ganglia, hippocampus, and dorsal primary afferent spinal cord regions, which is why cannabinoids influence functions such as memory processing, pain regulation, and motor control.
These CB1 receptors are also found throughout the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These receptors were only identified 15 years ago (we’re still learning a lot about the endocannabinoid system). These receptors play a role in food intake, nausea, and a few other GI functions.
A clinical review of this interface suggests that CBD may reduce nausea and vomiting. Much more research is needed to further explore CBD as an alternative to over-the-counter and prescription medications that treat nausea and vomiting.
From these studies, it may be possible to conclude that CBD can stem the effects of motion sickness.
Anecdotal evidence also suggests that CBD may help provide some aid in motion sickness that results in nausea and vomiting for both people and pets. CBD may be a natural alternative for those that seek holistic remedies to common issues they face or incorporate it into their daily health and wellness regimen. It’s important to note that CBD does not treat or cure any medical issue or illness.
Choosing the Right CBD Products
Now that we’ve established that CBD may be an alternative you wish to consider, we’ve made it easy by providing a checklist of things to look for in the CBD products you are considering.
9 things to check before you purchase a CBD product of value
- The product is from a reputable company
- The company does not make false claims about the product’s ability to treat or cure an illness – that’s illegal
- The product has a QR code on it so that you can easily access lab reports
- The product has full panel lab reports for your reference from an independent lab which verifies that the products potency matches what is printed on the label, and is free of heavy metals, pesticides, residual solvents and biological contaminants
- The product ingredients are clearly labeled for your reference
- The products are grown in the USA by the manufacturer
- The products are vegan, gluten-free, no GMO’s and cruelty-free
- The products have verified reviews from consumers for your reference
- The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
What type of CBD should I take?
There are a few different ways you can use CBD. The form matters just as much the suggested amount you should take. How it’s absorbed in your body and how quickly it takes effect matters too.
The different forms include oils and tinctures, edibles, softgels, pills, capsules, creams, lotions, roll-ons, lip balms, and vaping.
Some forms take longer than others to “kick in” in your body.
Choosing the form that is right for you is a personal choice, but you can deduce what’s best based on what you are using it for or due to personal preferences.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD tinctures, CBD softgels, and CBD gummies have been helpful with motion sickness.
How much CBD should I take?
The suggested amount, for starters, is based on your body weight and individual body chemistry.
Here is a very helpful usage guide that can help you decide the amount that’s right for you for a variety of different form factors.
Like all new products you may use or take, we suggest starting with a small amount, especially with reference to the usage guide, and gradually consider increasing until you achieve the results you are striving for.
I take other medications, should I be concerned?
If you are taking any other medications, it’s important to know how much, if any, CBD you should take.
It’s essential that you consult with your healthcare practitioner before taking CBD to agree on this as an alternative. CBD is usually well-tolerated and the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that CBD has no health risks or potential abuse or addiction concerns.
CBD may change the way prescription medications are metabolized in your body or other medications you may be on, so it is important to discuss with your health care practitioner first to make sure they agree.
How long does it take CBD to work?
The short answer is that it varies. It depends on the form you take, how much you take and how long you’ve been taking it for.
Edibles or softgels have to first travel through your digestive system before they are absorbed. The most popular form, CBD Tinctures are taken sublingually and are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, and typically kick in faster.
When considering a CBD product, we suggest that you look at the onset time as well as that which feels right for you. Additionally, it is worth noting that nothing is always a “one-hit wonder”. Many suggest that use over a period of time allows your body to adjust to the intake of CBD and this helps with the effectiveness of the CBD.
CBD and Motion Sickness Timing
For optimal results, we might suggest taking the CBD before you head out on your traveling experience that is likely to result in motion sickness. This way your body can adapt to taking CBD. It can be difficult to predict when motion sickness will happen and when it won’t, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry and put CBD in your regimen ahead of time. And, because CBD takes some time to metabolize in your body, it’s better to give it a head start to combat the issue if it may work for you.
In short, try taking the CBD about one hour prior to your departure, and if you are new to CBD, try taking CBD for a period of time ahead of your travel agenda
Any other natural remedies I can take for motion sickness?
While anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD may be helpful, there are plenty of other natural remedies that you may want to consider stocking up on as well. The good news is that these can easily be taken in combination with CBD. It’s always good to have a “travel stash” to best prepare you and make sure no one gets stuck rubbing your back, trying to reassure you or hold the bag.
Other natural herbs that may have benefits include peppermint, chamomile, ginger, and lemon balm.
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