Jan 31, 2023
Medications to manage nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy have been available for several decades, but despite their efficacy, many patients still experience persistent symptoms. This has led to increasing interest in the use of medicinal cannabis to manage chemotherapy-induced nausea. Medicinal cannabis contains a variety of compounds known as cannabinoids, which interact with the endocannabinoid system in the body to produce a range of effects, including the regulation of nausea and vomiting. The two main cannabinoids found in medicinal cannabis are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the main psychoactive compound responsible for the "high" associated with recreational cannabis use, while CBD is non-psychoactive and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic effects. In clinical studies, the use of THC-containing medicinal cannabis has been shown to reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in patients who have not responded to conventional medications. THC is thought to act on cannabinoid receptors in the brain and gut, which regulate the release of hormones that control nausea and vomiting. CBD has also been shown to be effective in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, although the mechanism of action is not yet fully understood. CBD is thought to act on a variety of receptors in the brain and body, including the 5-HT1A receptor, which is involved in the regulation of nausea and vomiting. In addition to its antiemetic effects, medicinal cannabis may also provide other benefits to patients undergoing chemotherapy. For example, it may help to improve appetite, sleep, and mood, and may also have pain-relieving properties. However, despite the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis, there are also some concerns about its use in this setting. For example, the long-term effects of THC on the developing brain are not yet fully understood. Additionally, medicinal cannabis is not regulated by the TGA, and the quality and potency of products can vary widely. In conclusion, medicinal cannabis is a promising treatment option for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.