Can CBN Help with Morning Sickness?

Can CBN Help with Morning Sickness?

*Despite what you might read elsewhere on the internet, CBN has not been medically proven to prevent, treat, or cure morning sickness. This article discusses ongoing research into the endocannabinoid system and should not be the foundation of any medical or health recommendations or diagnosis. If you have or suspect you may have morning sickness, talk to your doctor.*

Morning sickness is not uncommon in the early months of pregnancy. If you’ve experienced it, you know that it’s a misnomer since morning sickness can happen all day long. Symptoms typically start between weeks six and nine of your pregnancy. For the vast majority of women, it is gone by 16 weeks. 

Those ten weeks of nausea and vomiting can have a significant impact on your ability to eat and maintain your weight. While morning sickness itself doesn't harm the baby, it might require medical attention if you lose weight. This sometimes leads to hospitalization to protect your health and the health of your baby.

If you've been struggling with morning sickness and have not been able to keep food down, you might be wondering if cannabinol (CBN) could help relieve your symptoms. There are studies in which women report temporary relief from nausea and vomiting by using cannabis. CBN is one chemical found in the cannabis plant.

How Does CBN Work?

Researchers began studying how Cannabis sativa affects the body in the 1990s. Not soon after, they discovered humans have receptors affected by cannabinoids. These receptors are structures in your cells that bind to neurotransmitters and signal cells to perform an action. 

The body has these receptors in order to interact with endogenous chemicals, which is a term for chemicals the body makes. In other words, your body naturally produces chemicals like the cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant. Following this, researchers discovered humans had two types of receptors for cannabinoids. They called this the endocannabinoid system. “Endo” means a chemical or structure that is natural to your body.

The endocannabinoid receptors are called CB1 and CB2. Researchers have found cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. Your brain has more CB1 receptors, and your immune system has more CB2 receptors. The job of these receptors is to bind with chemicals. This triggers physiological processes to help maintain homeostasis (stability) in the body.

The cannabis plant has low levels of CBN. It’s found in low enough amounts to be classified as a rare or minor cannabinoid. The amount of CBN in the plant increases as it grows older and dries. This exposes the plant to air, light, and heat. These stressors cause tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to degrade into CBN.

Since the chemical CBN is found in such small amounts in the plant, researchers must isolate it to study its effects. Interestingly, CBN was the first cannabinoid chemical isolated and identified from the cannabis plant. The discovery was attributed to the poor transportation and storage conditions of the cannabis, which lead to the degradation of THC.

Can CBN Reduce Morning Sickness?

Considerable scientific evidence shows the endocannabinoid system assists in regulating nausea and vomiting. In a wide variety of studies, cannabinoids have exhibited an antiemetic effect. This means cannabinoids have demonstrated the ability to help control vomiting and nausea. In one review of the literature, researchers concluded that cannabinoids could one day be useful in helping to treat nausea and vomiting that is unresponsive to other medications.

Some caution is warranted since cannabis used for morning sickness affects not only the mother. There are multiple case studies of women who found their nausea and vomiting from morning sickness were eased by cannabis. Recent research looked at more than 600,000 pregnancies and births in Ontario, Canada. They compared women who used cannabis against those who did not. They found that the rate of premature birth for women who used cannabis was nearly double those who did not use cannabis.

Research in the last decade has also evaluated the effect cannabis has on the developing brain. Most studies have looked at the use of marijuana during adolescence. They found that marijuana use could potentially change the brain's structure and impact the behavior of the teen. Some researchers believe much of the blame lies with the psychoactive component THC.

Currently, there isn’t enough evidence that using CBN by itself is safe during pregnancy. More research is needed to conclusively identify the cannabinoids responsible for alterations in brain development and premature birth.

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