Research suggests that CBD could relieve nausea, but is it effective and safe for morning sickness? Here's our complete guide. Women use cannabis as a safe and effective remedy for severe morning sickness. Aside from medications, CBD oil is also recommended to give remedy to morning sickness. Find out how it works for this condition.
Is CBD Oil Good for Morning Sickness? [Is It Safe?]
Morning sickness has become one of the most dreaded side effects of pregnancy. It’s unpredictability, yet constant prevalence, has led many women to seek relief from its discomfort. But most importantly, every expectant mother’s first concern is for the safety and wellbeing of their unborn child.
So, is CBD oil a viable option for easing morning sickness symptoms? And what are the risks associated with using it? Find out in this overview.
What Is Morning Sickness?
According to recent studies, between 70 – 80% of women experience morning sickness during pregnancy. This equates to between 4,000,000 and 350,000 women each year in Canada and the United States alone. So it’s surprising that its cause still remains contentious within the medical community.
Many medical professionals believe that morning sickness is the body’s reaction to excess amounts of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). During the first trimester of pregnancy, the placenta forms and produces hCG in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy. However, by doing so, hCG also stimulates the maternal ovaries to secrete estrogen. And it is this which can cause feelings of nausea.
Morning sickness typically occurs from the 6th week of pregnancy until the 12th week, when high levels of hCG are produced in the body. Despite the name, morning sickness has no temporal preference and can actually happen during any time of the day.
Morning Sickness Symptoms
For most pregnant women, morning sickness can be described as feelings of nausea, which may or may not result in physical vomiting. However, other less-known symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
What’s most curious about morning sickness is that women can develop triggers to these symptoms. From smelling cat food to the sound of traffic, these triggers can be unusual and unique. Some of the most common triggers include;
- Spicy foods
- Variations in heat
- Particular smells
- Physical and mental fatigue
- Vitamin or mineral deficiencies
Many of these factors are impossible to avoid in day to day life. In addition, lots of women experience no triggers at all, making morning sickness feel largely uncontrollable.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) Symptoms
In worst-case scenarios, pregnant women can experience an extreme form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Pregnant women with HG may find themselves experiencing severe symptoms of morning sickness. For instance, they might feel dizzy, confused, and lightheaded. Other symptoms may include:
Similar to morning sickness, many studies highlight that a rapid increase in the hormone hCG contributes to HG. Factors such as estrogen levels and progesterone early in pregnancy may also contribute to the condition. However, much like morning sickness, the exact cause remains ambiguous.
Severe HG may result in hospitalization. So, individuals experiencing any extreme morning sickness symptoms should visit a doctor immediately.
Traditional Remedies for Morning Sickness
Unfortunately, there are no steadfast remedies for combating morning sickness. This is mostly due to differing hormone levels, symptoms, and triggers in pregnant women. However, there are a variety of lifestyle changes pregnant women often use to dispel symptoms. These include:
- Avoid nausea triggers
- Eat food high in carbohydrates and low in fat
- Get lots of rest
- Stay hydrated
- Anti-sickness medicine (an antiemetic)
It’s worth noting that antiemetic or ginger supplements should always come at the recommendation of a doctor.
With so many suggested remedies, naturally, CBD has become a discussed alternative. But how could it help?
Could CBD Be Beneficial for Morning Sickness?
Despite the long list of symptoms associated with morning sickness, the most prevalent continues to be nausea. It’s common for pregnant women to be prescribed medication such as prochlorperazine to combat this. However, prochlorperazine can result in its own list of symptoms, which may include anxiety and insomnia.
Could CBD be an alternative? Well, cannabidiol has long been considered as a possible antiemetic. Some studies have found that nausea and vomiting can be suppressed through the manipulation of the endocannabinoid system. This biological system is made up of cannabinoid receptors that interact with different chemical compounds, including CBD. One group of receptors, in the somatodendritic region, may be the key to minimizing feels of nausea.
There’s no denying that experiencing severe morning sickness symptoms can induce a lot of stress for an expecting mother. This is never a good combination. However, some medical research demonstrates CBD decreasing levels of anxiety.
Studies like this one show a promising correlation between CBD and anxiety disorders, not just by improving short-term anti-compulsive actions but long-term anxiogenic effects of stress. This could be due to cannabidiol preventing the overstimulation of receptors within the endocannabinoid system. However, this is still based on theory.
CBD seems like it could be beneficial for many morning sickness symptoms. But it’s worth noting that there are very few studies that look at the relationship between the two directly.
Is It Safe to Use CBD Oil for Morning Sickness?
To make a long answer short, nobody knows yet. While CBD is considered a safe and effective remedy for many conditions and symptoms, it remains a contentious choice for pregnant women. You’ll find that many medical professionals, including physicians and gynecologists, will advise against using CBD. This is in large due to a lack of research, rather than any known dangers.
You may also find a conservative approach from CBD distributors themselves, with pregnancy warnings on oil and topical labels. If you do want to use CBD, it’s essential to consider where you are buying it. Whether you want oils or topicals, always buy from a transparent and trusted brand. Similarly, it’s a good idea for you to check full ingredient lists before purchasing a product, to ensure you aren’t consuming any harmful or unnecessary chemicals.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil and Morning Sickness
While often a happy process, pregnancy can create a lot of physical and emotional stress for an expecting mother. And morning sickness is just one example of this.
In theory, CBD could be used as an antiemetic to prevent or subdue morning sickness symptoms, specifically nausea. However, there is simply not enough long-term data to determine accurate benefits and risks. Understandably medical professionals are taking a strict stance on CBD, especially with an unborn life involved.
If you remain curious about using CBD while pregnant, it’s essential to consult with your physician or doctor first.
Cannabis for Morning Sickness
A recent report by two Israeli researchers, Gideon Koren and Rana Cohen, in the Journal of Cannabis Research details the cases of four pregnant women with severe morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum).
One case describes, “In her 2nd pregnancy HG [morning sickness] started at 4 weeks with up to 70 bouts of vomiting a day necessitating repeated hospitalizations…”
All of the women found that 2-3 puffs of THC -rich marijuana (~20% THC , 1% CBD ) was helpful to reduce or prevent vomiting and reverse weight loss. The effect from inhaling small amounts of marijuana would last 2-4 hours and then they’d dose again, using a total of 1-2 grams per day. It seems like the researchers didn’t recommend this to the patients, but that they settled on similar doses independently.
The babies are now up to 4 years old and there haven’t been any apparent developmental problems.
The authors are emphatic that they haven’t proven cannabis is safe to use during pregnancy, but their work highlights the potential for using THC -rich cannabis to treat severe morning sickness.
A new study from researchers at San Diego State University examined the interaction between cannabinoids and alcohol on the fetus.
Dr. Stacey Kerr discusses the controversial topic of cannabis use during pregnancy and gives highlights from her clinical experience with expecting mothers.
The negative effects that have been associated with using cannabis during pregnancy could be because of simultaneous use of other substances, like tobacco.
CBD Oil for Morning Sickness: Is It Safe & Effective?
Are you pregnant and find yourself throwing up every morning?
You might be going through some classic morning sickness.
This condition makes a pregnant woman feel sick and uncomfortable. There are different remedies recommended for treating morning sickness during pregnancy, and CBD oil is one of them.
So, how can you use CBD oil to relieve morning sickness?
Follow me in this article to find out.
What Exactly is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is a condition affecting pregnant women, where nausea and vomiting occur.
It usually happens during the first trimester of pregnancy, but it can also continue throughout the whole term.
Women who go through this condition may experience different symptoms that can affect their daily productivity.
You know you are having morning sickness when you vomit within an hour of waking up, have nausea and vomiting for more than three days a week, cannot keep any food or liquids down, and experience weight loss.
Fortunately, you can use natural remedies like CBD oil to make this period less pesky.
But before I elaborate on this, let’s shed more light on the potential triggers of morning sickness.
Common Causes of Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is associated with a wide range of changes that occur throughout a woman’s body during pregnancy. Common causes of this condition include:
Some hormones, such as estrogen, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), and progesterone trigger nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. These hormones increase during the first trimester and may contribute to morning sickness.
Food Cravings and Aversions
Another common trigger for morning sickness is food cravings or aversions. When you are pregnant, your sense of smell and taste becomes more sensitive. You might start to dislike certain smells or foods that you used to like before you got pregnant.
The Smell and Taste of Certain Foods
Foods that have strong smells or tastes can trigger morning sickness. This includes foods like seafood, meat, vegetables, and aromatic spices.
Stress can also trigger morning sickness. When you’re stressed, it can increase the production of certain hormones that can signal nausea and vomiting.
Symptoms of Morning Sickness
As mentioned, nausea and vomiting are the two most common symptoms. Other signs of morning sickness include:
- Having a metallic taste in the mouth. Especially when the stomach is empty.
- Feeling bloated. This can be due to the accumulation of gas in the intestines.
- Hunger and cravings for specific foods. Some women crave salty or sweet food, while others develop an aversion to certain types of food.
- Dizziness and lightheadedness. This may be caused by the lack of nutrients and minerals in the body, which can lead to dehydration.
- Fatigue. It’s quite common during pregnancy due to the hormonal changes that occur. Fatigue can also be a symptom of morning sickness because it makes you feel weak and exhausted after vomiting or having nausea.
- Acidic feeling in the stomach. Caused by the stomach acids that come up to the throat.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) Symptoms
A small percentage of pregnant women will experience more severe symptoms of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). This condition involves extreme nausea and vomiting, which can lead to weight loss, dehydration, and nutrient deficiencies. Some signs that you might be experiencing HG are:
- Vomiting more than three times a day. This can lead to dehydration, which can be dangerous for both the mother and baby.
- Weight loss. If you’re losing weight while pregnant, it could be due to HG. This is serious and should be treated immediately.
- Not being able to keep down liquids or food. If you’re vomiting so much that you can’t keep anything down, this is a sign of HG and should be treated right away.
- Low urine output. Frequent urination causes dehydration. It also means that your body isn’t getting enough fluid from what you are drinking.
- Feeling faint or dizzy. This is due to the lack of nutrients in your body because they are being expelled through vomiting. It can also cause you to feel weak and tired.
- Needing medication to stop vomiting. If you’re not able to keep any food or liquids down, your doctor might prescribe medication to stop the vomiting.
Traditional Remedies and Treatments for Morning Sickness
Mild to moderate morning sickness may not require medical attention. Many pregnant women who struggle with this problem use natural remedies — and with a decent success rate.
Here’s how you can leverage the natural ingredients to relieve morning sickness:
Ginger has been used in Asia for many centuries as a treatment for various types of sickness due to its antiemetic properties (1). You can drink ginger tea, chew on fresh ginger slices, or take ginger supplements.
This is an ancient Chinese practice that uses pressure to specific points in the body to relieve pain and other symptoms. It can be effective for morning sickness due to its ability to regulate neural communication through the said pressure (2).
Avoid Smells that Trigger Nausea
If certain smells make you feel nauseous, try to avoid them. This may not be possible at all times, but try to minimize the exposure whenever possible.
Vomiting deprives you of fluids, so this point is paramount if you don’t want to suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Even if you don’t feel sick at a particular time, make sure to drink plenty of water. It’s just good for your body — and the baby.
Can CBD Oil Be a Remedy With Morning Sickness?
There is some anecdotal evidence that suggests CBD oil can help with morning sickness. However, we don’t have enough research and significant scientific proof yet to support this claim. CBD oil is known to have anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties, so it might be beneficial for pregnant women who are experiencing morning sickness.
CBD’s anti-nausea and anti-vomiting properties result from its interaction with the endocannabinoid system and serotonin receptors. Scientists have found that cannabinoids and these receptors can modulate brain activity in the areas responsible for sensations of nausea (3).
Why People Are Turning to CBD for Morning Sickness
There are many traditional remedies for morning sickness. Some of them can be effective while others may not work at all. Since CBD oil is known to have anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties, people believe that it could help with morning sickness symptoms.
Aside from this, taking CBD oil is safe and non-addictive, so it’s a better option compared to traditional medications that are known for their dangerous side effects. That being said, always consult your OB-Gyne first before taking CBD oil if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Is CBD Safe for Morning Sickness?
CBD has a very good safety profile. Humans tolerate doses as high as 1,500 mg administered daily for several weeks without any dangerous side effects (4).
However, CBD can cause a few mild reactions if you take too much at a time, including:
- Dry mouth
- Lowered blood pressure
- Changes in appetite
CBD also interacts with a lot of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications (5). If you’re taking any medication for your morning sickness, tell your doctor about it so that you can gauge the timing and avoid interactions.
CBD vs THC: Which One Is Better and Safer for Morning Sickness?
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the many active ingredients in cannabis plants. It has no psychoactive effects and doesn’t make you feel “high” like marijuana does.
On the other hand, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a naturally occurring compound found in marijuana that gives you a feeling of being high. Both CBD and THC are approved to treat certain medical conditions, but there is still no evidence that they can be used for morning sickness during pregnancy.
Speaking about safety, CBD is a better option for pregnant women as it is non-addictive, non-psychoactive, and doesn’t give severe side effects. The effects of THC might not be a safe option for pregnant women as there’s not enough research to recommend it as an alternative treatment. Besides, pregnant women should avoid all intoxicating substances while they’re carrying a child.
CBD Dosage: How Much Should You Take for Morning Sickness
CBD dosage doesn’t follow a one-size-fits-all idea. Doses can vary from one person to another. Some people can feel effects on the lowest dose while others need higher amounts of CBD before they can feel the results. Women who experience morning sickness can take a low dose of 1 to 5mg for every 10 pounds. Monitor the effects and determine if there is a need for an increase or decrease in dosage.
How to Take CBD for Morning Sickness
There are a few ways to take CBD for morning sickness:
- Capsule – You can buy CBD capsules from online or storefront retailers. They’re easy to take and most capsules come in small sizes, making it easier to swallow without having any chalky taste. A lot of women prefer taking CBD oil capsules because they don’t have a strong taste.
- Tinctures – CBD oil tinctures are liquid forms of CBD that you can take sublingually (under the tongue) using a dropper. It’s usually the optimal way to take CBD for morning sickness, but it does have a bitter taste. You can also add it into food or drinks, but remember that doing so will delay its onset and compromise absorption.
- Vape oil – CBD vape oils are the fastest way to experience the therapeutic effects of CBD for morning sickness. You can also take CBD via vaping if you don’t like the earthy taste of CBD oil. Vapes have pleasant flavors and aromas because they feature a CBD distillate and terpenes without the waxes that occur in raw CBD extracts.
- Gummies – If you’re looking for something that tastes like candy, then gummies are the best option. CBD-rich candy and gummies come in different flavors and colors so expect a kid-friendly treat.
Another way of using Hemp is applying CBD cream to deal with pregnancy dilemmas but either way, you can choose the method that appeals the most to you. You’re already going through a lot of discomfort from your morning sickness, so your choice of CBD intake should be something that you find tasty and hassle-free.
Things to Consider when Buying CBD Oil for Morning Sickness
When buying CBD oil, you should make sure that you are getting the best possible choice to avoid below-par quality products that can cause negative effects on you or your baby. Keep these things in mind when shopping for CBD oil products to relieve morning sickness:
- Quality – Make sure the CBD oil you choose is of good quality. A reputable brand will be transparent about its products, including how they are grown and extracted. They’ll also provide laboratory results that show levels of CBD and THC in addition to other cannabinoids. You can also verify the product’s purity by checking its label, where it should clearly show that CBD content is free from synthetics and chemicals.
- Reliability – Only purchase from established companies that offer high-quality products. If you want to avoid scams, choose a brand that focuses strictly on CBD oils. You can also check online reviews and testimonials for a manufacturer’s reputation and dependability.
- Dosage – Choose a product that you think will be effective based on your specific needs without going beyond the recommended dosage of CBD oil. This will make your supplementation cost-effective
- Ingredients – Some CBD oils include other supportive ingredients that may be useful in treating morning sickness. That being said, make sure that your product doesn’t contain any potentially dangerous ingredients. If you have allergies, double-check the list of ingredients to confirm your product doesn’t contain any allergens.
- Cost – CBD oils are usually more expensive than conventional health supplements due to high production costs influenced by expensive extraction technology and laboratory testing. If you see a product that looks suspiciously cheap for the promised quality, think twice before giving such vendors your money; no company will sell CBD oil at a loss, so if your manufacturer offers such cheap CBD oils, some corners must’ve been cut on the way.
- Third-party Testing – the CBD market lacks regulation regarding product potency and purity, so third-party testing ensures that you’re getting exactly what you’ve paid for. With a legitimate certificate of analysis (CoA), there’s no room for fluff. You can see how much CBD is in the bottle, what other cannabinoids and terpenes have been included, and whether the product is free from pesticides, heavy metals, and solvents.
Key Takeaways on Using CBD to Deal with Morning Sickness
CBD oil is a novel option for morning sickness. Although it is anti-nausea and anti-vomiting benefits are quite well-documented, we still don’t know how it affects pregnant women and their children.
Therefore, if you want to use CBD oil to naturally relieve the symptoms of your morning sickness, consult your gynecologist to receive professional advice. Just make sure that your doctor knows what the endocannabinoid system is because it’s essential for weighing the benefits and risks of using CBD to target this condition.
Lastly, since pregnancy is a very sensitive period, pay attention to the quality of your CBD oil. There are a lot of mislabeled and contaminated products out there, so research is paramount if you want to reap the benefits without putting your health at risk.
- Viljoen, E., Visser, J., Koen, N., & Musekiwa, A. (2014). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting. Nutrition Journal, 13, 20. 
- Dibble, S. L., Chapman, J., Mack, K. A., & Shih, A. S. (2000). Acupressure for nausea: results of a pilot study. Oncology nursing forum, 27(1), 41–47. 
- Parker, L. A., Rock, E. M., & Limebeer, C. L. (2011). Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1411–1422. 
- Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139–154. 
- Brown, J. D., & Winterstein, A. G. (2019). Potential Adverse Drug Events and Drug-Drug Interactions with Medical and Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Use. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(7), 989. 
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.