You’re happily traveling along when the world suddenly starts whirring around your child, palms get clammy, and you have to fight the urge to hurl into a fellow passenger’s lap. If you or your child have ever suffered from motion sickness, then that scenario probably sounds familiar. You might know that cannabis can help with nausea, but there is also some evidence that certain marijuana strains can provide relief from the symptoms of motion sickness.
What is Motion Sickness?
Motion sickness occurs when your central nervous system receives conflicting messages from your numerous senses about where your body is in space. When we are intentionally moving (e.g., walking) all of our senses agree. However, if we are traveling in a vehicle, for instance, a plane, and there is turbulence, our eyes don’t see the movement but our inner ear senses it.
Motion sickness can occur during boat, car, or plane travel, and it can make for an incredibly uncomfortable, messy, and embarrassing journey. What should be an exciting adventure can become an experience that you dread.
Risk Factors and Symptoms
The people who are most at risk of motion sickness are children and pregnant women. However, motion sickness does not discriminate, and it can affect anyone who travels. There are some other risk factors for motion sickness, such as fear or anxiety about flying (which will make you much more likely to feel nauseous), and migraine headaches. Activities such as reading in the car, because of the eye/inner ear mismatch, can also trigger symptoms.
The symptoms vary, but they usually involve one or all of the following
- Nausea (with or without vomiting)
- A general feeling of discomfort or malaise
- Sweating and clamminess
- A pallor
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms can come on quickly, but they are not usually serious and don’t require the attention of a doctor as they usually pass once you have ceased moving. However, they can lead to more long-term issues like vertigo and a phobia of travel if they aren’t nipped in the bud.
Types of Motion Sickness
Motion sickness can be placed into three categories:
- Motion sickness triggered by motion you can feel but you can’t see
- Motion sickness triggered by motion you can see but you can’t feel
- Motion sickness triggered when visual and vestibular systems detect motion, but they don’t correspond with one another
Common types of motion sickness are:
Effects of Medical Marijuana on Motion Sickness
So, how can CBD help to ease your motion sickness? CBD strains have been used successfully in the past as a way of easing nausea in chemotherapy patients, and CBD is also known to sooth the anxiety that can exacerbate motion sickness.
There isn’t a huge amount of literature about its effect on motion sickness, but there have been a few compelling studies. A study in Germany in 2010 looked at the blood samples of volunteers before and after they had taken part in a weightlessness simulation. The researchers found that the participants with the worst motion sickness had lower endocannabinoid levels in their blood.
The theory behind why marijuana works for motion sickness is that the cannabinoids in cannabis, namely THC and CBD, activate receptors in our bodies that reduce the release of the chemicals that trigger nausea, effectively blocking the sensations caused by motion sickness. CBD is just as effective as THC on motion sickness because of its antiemetic properties.
Medical marijuana is legal and easily accessible in the US. What’s more, it is actually a safer option than many conventional drugs on the market for motion sickness. Just remember to start with small doses to see how you react to it.
Best Strains for Motion Sickness
Sativa marijuana strains can energize and uplift you, while Indica strains are more likely to relax you. Some of the best Marijuana strains to treat motion sickness symptoms are
Sour Diesel (Sativa dominant)—A very popular strain; great for nausea and migraine sensations
Grand Master Kush (Indica dominant)–Helps with nausea, anxiety, stress, pain, and lack of appetite
Super lemon haze (Sativa-dominant)—Helps to settle your stomach and ease anxiety
Blue Dream (Indica dominant)—Helps to ease, pain, nausea, and stress
Durban Poison (Sativa dominant)—Increases energy and works well for nausea and lack of appetite
Best Delivery Systems
Obviously, smoking cannabis isn’t the best option when you are traveling– particularly if you are on public transport–and vaping can be difficult to do. There are many ways you can deliver cannabis into your body in an inconspicuous manner to relieve motion sickness. Some good choices include:
- Edibles—Yummy gummies and cookies
- Tinctures taken sublingually–Place a few drops under your tongue before traveling
- Topicals—Lotions, balms and oils that can be rubbed anywhere on the body
- Transdermal patch–Immediate and long-lasting infusion into your bloodstream
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