Is Indica or Sativa Better for Nausea?

Disclaimer: None of what is published on is intended to be professional medical advice. Consult your health practitioner regarding any medical treatment or diagnosis.

People dealing with nausea have a number of options to turn to, including pharmaceutical drugs and over-the-counter medications. Of course, in today’s world, cannabis is also an option!

Cannabis has been shown to be an appropriate solution for nausea relief, but among the many strains available to consumers, it can be challenging to decide what specific options are best to remedy symptoms like nausea. Between indica and sativa, aiding in symptom relief for other conditions like insomnia or depression is a bit more straightforward.

But where should consumers turn when they need relief from nausea? We’re examining the relationship between cannabis and nausea today, and whether indica or sativa strains are the best options to obtain relief.

Key Takeaways

  • Nausea is a common symptom often associated with other conditions, though cannabis may provide symptomatic relief.
  • While research on cannabis and nausea relief is still in progress, and we’re working on understanding the full relationship between cannabis and nausea, there are a number of key elements we know are related.
  • There is some benefit to thinking about indica and sativa when it comes to nausea, and it’s possible that more often than not indicas may be a better option, though we’re finding that cannabinoid content the ratio of CBD and THC may be important.
dark red cube shaped gummies

    What is Nausea?

    Most of us have probably felt nauseous at some point. Nausea is that “sick to your stomach” feeling, or could present as discomfort or pain in the back of your throat, stomach, or lower abdomen. Nausea can make you feel like vomiting, though it doesn’t always lead to vomiting; you may have difficulty swallowing or feel dizzy or lightheaded.

    Nausea by itself isn’t a disease but rather can be a symptom of other conditions like the flu, food poisoning, motion sickness, migraines, and can also be a side effect of treatments for diseases like cancer.

    Does Cannabis Help With Nausea?

    Growing evidence suggests that cannabis may indeed assist with nausea. That said, as is the case with most information surrounding cannabis and symptom relief, research is still limited, and we still have a lot to learn.

    The subject is often highlighted when it comes to chemotherapy treatments in cancer patients, in that cannabis is understood as being beneficial in controlling chemotherapy-related nausea. In many states with legal medical cannabis, cancer is a qualifying condition as cannabis can help to lessen the severity of many symptoms.

    It can be a complicated topic, as cannabis can actually induce vomiting in some users, known as cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. But still, multiple studies have affirmed that cannabis and nausea treatment definitely have a link. Another study found that the vast majority of patients using cannabis to treat nausea experience relief, with more than 96% reporting relief within an hour.

    Flower or vaporizers are generally considered the best option, but edibles can work too. The effects of vaporizers or smoking flower offer quicker relief, but the effects of edibles may last longer.

    Is Indica or Sativa Better for Nausea?

    When seeking out a strain for nausea relief, or any symptom relief, many consumers wonder whether an indica or sativa is more suitable for the task. Indicas tend to usher in a more relaxing, mellow body high, while sativas are generally more heady, cerebral, and uplifting.

    Automatically, some people may assume that indicas are better since they tend to be a bit more body-focused and restful. In fact, a number of consumers will attest that this is the best way to go.

    But when it comes to indica vs. sativa for nausea, the answer is a bit more complicated than simply opting for one or the other.

    CBD and THC for Nausea

    There may be some relevance to indica and sativa classification when it comes to nausea. Sativas often have a higher concentration of THC, while indica strains generally contain higher concentrations of CBD. That said, we’re finding that this could be a better focus when it comes to cannabis and nausea — not the categorization of indica and sativa but rather the cannabinoid profile.

    Research suggests that THC products, rather than CBD-only products, are ideal when it comes to treating nausea. Both CBD and THC have been shown to help curb nausea.

    A CBD product alone is likely not enough to fully control nausea, though. That’s not to say that CBD should be ignored. There is very limited research surrounding how the cannabinoid can help with nausea, but CBD may help to combat nausea by interacting with serotonin receptors.

    Especially for folks who may not be used to the psychoactive effects of THC, CBD can help to balance out the experience as well.

    Still, THC seems to be a crucial factor, because it is believed to activate CB1 receptors in higher doses. This influences the dorsal vagal complex, which is a nerve crucial in controlling vomiting. However, more research is still needed to fully understand this effect.

    Does Sativa or Indica Matter for Nausea?

    It seems that THC does most of the heavy lifting, but the combination of THC and CBD is ideal when it comes to nausea treatment.

    So to revisit the question, indica or sativa, there really is no wrong answer here. Overall — because they typically have more CBD and can still carry high amounts of THC — indicas may be the best option. Not only do these strains have more varied cannabinoid profiles, but indicas are often more relaxing and body-focused.

    Conversely, some sativas can feel incredibly racy and heady, which may not be the best option when you’re dealing with nausea.

    Ultimately, it’s best to understand the kinds of strains that already work well for you and your body as a starting point. Try looking for strains that have a high amount of THC along with some CBD — just know that you may be hard pressed to find a ton of sativas that fit the bill.

    When it comes to cannabis, it’s important to remember that this is a complex plant. Sativa, indica, and hybrid are one way we’ve collectively gravitated toward to categorize it, but continued research is showing that we should think bigger, looking at terpenes, cannabinoids, and other compounds and how they work together to fully determine the potency and effects of a given strain.

    Final Thoughts

    No one likes being nauseous. It’s an extremely uncomfortable feeling that can easily get in the way of your day-to-day life, but fortunately there is ample evidence to show that cannabis may play a role in mitigating these symptoms. While we’re still uncovering the full picture, it appears that THC and CBD play the largest role. Indica strains tend to more often have both of these cannabinoids, but that’s not to say that a high-THC sativa won’t also do the trick.

    If you’re looking for a good strain to treat nausea, you may use your shopping trip as an opportunity to think a bit bigger and look at the full picture of the cannabis plant and its compounds!


    CUSIC Study Publication #6. Zentrela.

    Grimison, P., Mersiades, A., Kirby, A., Lintzeris, N., Morton, R., Haber, P., Olver, I., Walsh, A., McGregor, I., Cheung, Y., Tognela, A., Hahn, C., Briscoe, K., Aghmesheh, M., Fox, P., Abdi, E., Clarke, S., Della-Fiorentina, S., Shannon, J., & Gedye, C. (2020). Oral THC:CBD cannabis extract for refractory chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a randomised, placebo-controlled, phase II crossover trial. Annals of Oncology, 31(11), 1553–1560.

    Goods, T. (2023, June 23). Guidance for the use of medicinal cannabis for the prevention or management of nausea and vomiting in Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

    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.

    Rock, E. M., Sticht, M. A., Limebeer, C. L., & Parker, L. A. (2016). Cannabinoid Regulation of Acute and Anticipatory Nausea. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 1(1), 113–121.

    Stith, S. S., Li, X., Orozco, J., Lopez, V., Brockelman, F., Keeling, K., Hall, B., & Vigil, J. M. (2021). The Effectiveness of Common Cannabis Products for Treatment of Nausea. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, Publish Ahead of Print.

    Tramer, M. R. (2001). Cannabinoids for control of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting: quantitative systematic. BMJ, 323(7303), 16–16.

    Back to blog