Woman suffer from sea sick on ship

Motion sickness sufferers are turning to marijuana for relief

When you look out just the side window of a car, or when you feel the movement of a boat, you might start to feel sick and clammy. In this case, you might be wondering if medicinal marijuana can help. Many people get motion sickness. Is the answer “yes”?

Cannabis can affect our physical and mental health because our bodies use their endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is made up of endocannabinoids or fat-based neurotransmitters, like 2-arachidonoylglycerol (AG) and anandamide (AEA). These are called “endocannabinoids” (2-AG). Many bodily functions need to keep the body in balance, regulate the immune system, and also how to react to pain signals in our bodies. 

Endocannabinoids are also important for just how we react to pain signals in our bodies. THC and CBD, two cannabinoids found in cannabis, can make and break down the levels of this neurotransmission in the body through the cannabis-based receptors CB1 and CB2. They can also affect these neurotransmitters through some other synthetic pathways in our bodies. CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system, whereas Cannabinoid receptors can be discovered in a wide range of other organs.

Scientists have learned that the ECS is willing to take responsibility for stress, vomiting, and stomach pain, which are common symptoms that many people with motion sickness have. The ECS is also responsible for these symptoms in many people. If cannabinoid receptors are activated, they can change how the ECS works and how people react to things like motion sickness. Research also shows that the ECS plays a role in dizziness, but they don’t know why. People who use cannabis can get dizzy, but they don’t know why.

Study: Scientists were capable of measuring blood levels of two endocannabinoids in 21 people before, after, and 24 hours after they had parabolic flight maneuvers in the air. This study was focused on motion sickness, strain, and the ECS. During a parabolic flight maneuver, the plane makes arcs that go up and down while it’s in the air. This makes it easier for the plane to stay level. Scopolamine, which is used to treat motion sickness, was given to everyone an hour before the flight. There was no effect on endocannabinoid tiers on the ground when scopolamine was used alone in this same experiment, but it did.

People who didn’t get sick from the maneuvers had increased stress scores and blood levels of AEA that were lower than normal, but 2-AG levels didn’t change. There were fewer CB1 receptors in the bodies of people who got motion sickness 4 hours after the event. Patients who didn’t receive motion sickness had elevated amounts of AEA in their blood, and 2-AG levels rose quickly. Stress and dizziness in the body are linked to reduced ECS activity, and boosting ECS signal transduction may be a good way to help people who don’t react to traditional treatments.

Using Medical Cannabis to treat motion sickness symptoms

Though there are many different symptoms of motion sickness, nausea and headaches are the most common when people use cannabis. Many people prefer to smoke medical marijuana to relieve these symptoms or use sublingual tinctures. As for nausea, THC is your best friend. When it comes to chronic back pain conditions like headaches and migraine, a mix of THC and CBD is the best.


A lot of research on motion sickness as well as stomach pain shows that the sensory system plays a role in neurogenic stimuli. Instead, it causes nausea and vomiting reactions in the brain and intestines even when there are no physical causes of nausea, like viruses or bacteria in food.

VNC, which stands for the vestibular nucleus complex, comes into play when someone feels out of balance. In the VNC and the cerebellum, there are more CB1 receptors than we thought. There is also a nerve that tries to control vomiting in the nearby medulla oblongata part of the brain that is initiated through CB1 receptors.

Utilizing THC, the CB1 receptors change the VNC and the frontal group of the vagus nerve. This slows down the gastrointestinal tract, too. This helps with nausea and vomiting. People who have nausea and vomiting should inhale medical cannabis to get immediate relief and get better faster.

To learn more about how to get rid of this symptom, please check out the nausea page.


Research shows that people who used medical cannabis for migraine headaches felt less pain by up to 50%. Men said they felt less pain when they used cannabis, but women said they felt less pain when they didn’t. People who take cannabis for headaches usually inhale it or use subcutaneously tinctures because they quickly get into the bloodstream and relieve pain more quickly than edibles, which can take up to two hours to get into the body. A lot of the mixtures out there are created with the solvent butane, which can cause actual headaches in some people and has other health risks. Concentrates were previously thought to be better for people with headaches than cannabis flowers.

Check out our pages on headaches and migraines for more.


People should keep in mind that while cannabis can help with some diagnoses of motion sickness, it can also make other symptoms worse. Marijuana use has been said to affect dizziness and vertigo, which has been found in several placebo-controlled and double-blind studies. This is especially true for people who are older or who are otherwise weak.

It has been linked to THC’s ability to make people’s heart rate speed up, which is called tachycardia, or to make their blood pressure drop, which is called hypotension, in some people. So, if you have heart problems, you should talk to your doctor about using medical marijuana before you start taking it. THC should not be used by people who have a very serious heart or lung condition. Elderly people who have dizziness may be more likely to fall if they use medicinal marijuana for motion sickness. This is one thing you should think about when deciding if you should use medicinal marijuana for motion sickness.

Symptoms of Motion Sickness – what is it?

Motion sickness is common when people are in cars, trains, boats, or planes. Most of the time, though, it’s not a long-term problem, even if it may finally come and then go through time. The problem is that what you perceive does not match up with what your inner ear hears. The reticular formation is in charge of keeping you balanced, sensitive to movement, stable, and includes your eardrum. Also, parts of the brain are part of this system, such as the parts of the cerebellum that make up the vestibular nucleus complex (VNC).

Besides the vestibular system, senses like sight and touch perception also play a role in how well you can keep your balance and how strong your muscles are. When there is a mismatch between your muscles, your balance, and your senses, your vestibular system may be out of whack and you may get sick of moving, too.

People who study motion sickness don’t know for sure what causes it, but they think there are still some genetic factors that play a role in it. There’s also a chance that those who have migraines are more likely to get motion sickness. This is also true for women, people with Chinese heritage, and kids between the ages of 2 and 12. People who have problems with their inner ears, like vertigo or Meniere’s disease, are more likely to get motion sickness. People with Parkinson’s disease are also more likely to get motion sickness.

The following are some of the symptoms that may be associated with this condition:

  • A general sense of malaise is also known as malaise.
  • Bradycardia, or resting heart rate
  • Discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Pallor, or pale physical appearance
  • Repetitive yawning
  • Stomach awareness
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

Movement Sickness Types

A lot of people think that motion sickness can be caused by a lot of different things. When someone gets sick from motion sickness, they can get it from three different ways of knowing that their body is moving. They can get it from their vestibular system, their proprioceptive system, and their visual input. Sometimes these input problems are short-term, but sometimes they can end up caused by other long-term or serious medical problems that can’t be cured.

A lot of the time, people classify motion sickness based on how it makes them feel sick. These are some of the types/causes:

Not Seen, but Felt Motion

There are many places where this kind of sickness can happen, such as in cars, at amusement parks, on the water in boats, and even when you’re flying. Seasickness, space sickness, and Car Sickness are all caused by input problems. When the eyes don’t see what the inner ear system (eardrum) or proprioceptive systems sense, they don’t know what they should be seeing. In a moving vehicle, some people get “car sick.”

Movement Seen, but Not Felt

In 3D movies, someone can get motion sickness if they start to feel sick or queasy. You might think you are moving when you see things that make you feel like you are because your eyes are conflicting with you. This type is called “reverse motion sickness,” and it can happen even when the body is not moving.

You can also have both types of experiences at the same time.

Mal de Debarquement (MdDS)

In MdDS, motion sickness happens after you get off of a boat or car. It doesn’t happen while you’re on it. It happens most often after leaving a boat. It can start to happen in less than 24 hours of deciding to leave the boat. People who hear voices believe that it’s due to their brain wiring, not their ears. There are several different ways that this condition causes you to think you’re walking. It might be a few hours to a few days, weeks, months, or even years long.

Tips for treating motion sickness

With motion sickness being so common, thankfully there are easy steps you can take to help alleviate the symptoms as they first occur. When medical cannabis is not easily accessible, the following tips may help you find some relief:

If you get motion sickness a lot, there are simple things you can do to help relieve the symptoms when they start. Use these tips if medical cannabis isn’t easy to find:

  • Keep your eyes on the sky or a faraway object that isn’t moving as you move around.
  • Keep your head still as you rest against a headrest. This is how you should do it.
  • When you’re on the road, don’t read or use your cell phone. This can make things worse.
  • Don’t smoke cigarettes, or sit next to people who do.
  • Avoid strong smells when possible.
  • Before you go on a trip, don’t eat spicy or greasy foods, and don’t drink alcohol.
  • You should take an antihistamine like meclizine or Benadryl about 30-60 minutes before you go on a trip to help you stay calm.
  • Take ginger-based foods and drinks, and you may be able to get rid of nausea.
  • Eat a small snack or drink cold water or a carbonated drink if you’re having trouble.
  • If you want to feel better, you could add distractions like listening to music, controlling your breathing, or using aromatherapy to help.
  • Make sure to avoid motion sickness triggers and be aware of them.

*DigiDrs is not offering this as professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self diagnose, or prescribe treatment based on the information provided in these pages. Consult a physician before making decisions on the treatment of any of these medical conditions.

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