Study Summary: Cannabis for Nausea During Pregnancy

Updated: Oct 9

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A 2022 study entitled "Patterns of Use and Self-reported Effectiveness of Cannabis for Hyperemesis Gravidarum" that was published in the German journal Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd explored the potential effectiveness of cannabis for pregnant women suffering Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), "the most extreme version of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy," according to the study.


The Study

"This [study] examines current patterns of use and self-reported effectiveness of cannabis/cannabis-based products (CBP) to treat hyperemesis gravidarum," wrote the scientists.

The study was conducted in the form of a survey involving 550 female respondents, all of whom suffered HG during their pregnancies. Fourteen percent of survey respondents reported using cannabis to treat the nausea caused by HG. The survey involved 21 questions that gathered information about "demographics, antiemetic prescription use, and experience with cannabis/CBPs among individuals who experienced extreme nausea and vomiting during their pregnancy."


The Results

Of those women who used cannabis to treat HG during their pregnancies, 71 percent responded that it was "because their prescribed antiemetics were...ineffective."


"More than half [53 percent] of cannabis/CBP users reported using products daily or multiple times per day, primarily via smoke inhalation and mainly either delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) only or THC-dominant preparations," reported the study.

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The research revealed that 82 percent of those who used cannabis or a cannabis-based product to treat their HG gained symptom relief. This was greater than the 60 percent of respondents who reported relief from prescription antiemetic (anti-nausea) drugs.


"Among patients who experienced weight loss during pregnancy, 56 percent of cannabis users reported gaining weight within two weeks of treatment, compared to 25 percent of prescription antiemetic users," wrote the scientists.


The research revealed that 82 percent of those who used cannabis or a cannabis-based product to treat their HG gained symptom relief. This was greater than the 60 percent of respondents who reported relief from prescription antiemetic (anti-nausea) drugs.

The study concluded that respondents who used cannabis to treat their HG did so "primarily because prescribed medications were self-reported to be ineffective." The study's authors noted the "inherent limitations" and potential inaccuracies of the self-reporting employed in this study and warned that its results "should be interpreted with caution."


"Cannabis was self-reported to be more effective than prescription medications in alleviating HG symptoms and enabling pregnancy weight gain," summarized the study. The authors called for additional research in the form of "randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled [human] trials of cannabis compared to other antiemetics...to determine whether cannabinoids may provide an effective alternative treatment for HG."


View the original study.

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