Motion sickness also known as travel sickness, is a condition in which a disagreement exists between visually perceived movement and the vestibular system’s sense of movement.

Depending on the cause, it can also be referred to as sea sickness, car sickness, simulation sickness or airsickness. It describes an unpleasant combination of symptoms, such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting, that can occur when you’re travelling. Children from 5 to 12 years old, women, and older adults get motion sickness more than others do. It’s rare in children younger than 2.

Causes of Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is thought to occur when there is a conflict between what your eyes see and what your inner ears, which help with balance, sense. The most common hypothesis for the cause of motion sickness is that it functions as a defense mechanism against neurotoxins. The area postrema in the brain is responsible for inducting vomiting when poisons are detected, and for resolving conflicts between vision and balance.

When feeling motion but not seeing it (for example, in a ship with no windows), the inner ear transmits to the brain that it senses motion, but the eyes tell the brain that everything is still. As a result of the discordance, the brain will come to the conclusion that the individual is hallucinating and further conclude that the hallucination is due to poison ingestion. The brain responds by inducing vomiting, to clear the supposed toxin.


Many pharmacological treatments which are effective for nausea and vomiting in some medical conditions may not be effective for motion sickness. For example, metoclopramide and prochlorperazine, although widely used for nausea, are ineffective for motion-sickness prevention and treatment. Sedating anti-histamine medications such as promethazine work quite well for motion sickness, although they can cause significant drowsiness.

Motion Sickness Cannabis as Treatment

The primary symptom of motion sickness is nausea. Marijuana has been known to cure nausea with no side effects as compared to the traditional medication. The National Cancer Institute also states that cannabinoid medications are FDA approved for nausea and vomiting. They not only work on nausea and vomiting but they often work better than the non-cannabinoid treatments that are currently available.

There are currently two cannabinoid medications available for nausea and vomiting in the United States. These drugs are Delta-9-THC medications that go by the names nabilone and dronabinol. The active ingredient – tetrahydrocannabinol – in these medications is the same as found in the marijuana plant. Inhaled marijuana vapors can work markedly faster as compared to smocking it.


The Federal Drug Administration has not cleared these medications for use with motion sickness. This does not mean that they do not show promise for all types of nausea and vomiting even in the case of motion disease. Medical marijuana has been proven utterly safe concerning overdose and emergency side effects. With the rescheduling of marijuana underway, the hope of more research and cure for several other illnesses is reassuring.

Source: Medical Marijuana Blog
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