Why wait? Cannabis offers 96 per cent of people nausea relief within an hour

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Researchers at the University of New Mexico (UNM) have found people suffering from nausea who consumed whole natural cannabis flower had at least some relief within five to 60 minutes.

But not only did individuals report significant symptom improvement almost right away — with nausea falling an average of almost four points on a scale of zero to 10 — that improvement increased by the hour-after mark.

“Symptom relief was statistically significant at five minutes and increased with time,” notes the study published last month in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.

The investigation shows that 96.4 per cent of the study sample reported nausea relief within one hour. “Despite increasing clinical concerns regarding cyclical vomiting or hyperemesis syndrome in cannabis users, almost all users experienced relief,” study author Sarah Stith, an assistant professor at UNM, says in a statement on Sunday.

To get an idea of how using cannabis affected nausea, researchers employed a mobile phone app so sufferers could report symptom intensity. The study was based on data from 2,220 cannabis self-administration sessions recorded by 886 people using the Releaf App.

Specifically, user feedback indicated that there was an average symptom improvement of 3.85 points on a zero to 10 scale “just moments after consumption with increasing benefits over time,” the statement notes.

Despite cannabis being used to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea, how effective it is with other forms of nausea have not been well-researched. There are many common causes of nausea, running the gamut from food poisoning, emotional distress, gastrointestinal disorders, motion sickness, pregnancy and chemotherapy, the university reports.

Additionally, there are “no studies on the time-to-relief and how relief varies with product characteristics,” the statement notes.

“Products labeled as cannabis sativa and ‘hybrid’ outperformed products labeled as cannabis indica.” /

“Products labeled as cannabis sativa and ‘hybrid’ outperformed products labeled as cannabis indica.” / PHOTO BY ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS

Researchers found that flower and concentrates yielded faster and greater relief than edibles or tinctures. Vaping, for its part, “yielded less relief than consuming cannabis via a joint or pipe,” the university states.

And results also had something to say about indica versus sativa. “Products labeled as cannabis sativa and ‘hybrid’ outperformed products labeled as cannabis indica,” investigators point out.

But, perhaps, most surprising to investigators were the findings around THC. “THC, typically associated with recreational use, seemed to improve treatment among consumers of cannabis flower, while our CBD, more commonly associated with medical use, actually seemed to be associated with less symptom relief,” study co-author and associate professor Jacob Vigil says.

Despite the findings, researchers offered some cautions about using cannabis to treat nausea. “Concerns exist that its effectiveness relative to conventional options may induce high-risk populations, such as pregnant women and children, to consume cannabis,” says Stith.

“And the long-term effects of cannabis and its effects on development are a significant gap in the existing literature on the medical use of cannabis in general,” adds Xiaoxue Li of the university’s economics department.

Researchers suggest future studies should focus on longer-term symptom relief, the risks of medical cannabis consumption and potential interactions between cannabis and other substances among specific patient populations.

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