Cannabinoids for nausea and vomiting with cancer receiving chemotherapy

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Cannabis has a long history of medicinal use. Cannabis-based medications (cannabinoids) are based on its active element, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and have been approved for medical purposes. Cannabinoids may be a useful therapeutic option for people with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting that respond poorly to commonly used anti-emetic agents (anti-sickness drugs). However, unpleasant adverse effects may limit their widespread use.

Cannabis-based products may be useful for treating refractory chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. However, methodological limitations of the trials limit our conclusions and further research reflecting current chemotherapy regimens and newer anti-emetic drugs is likely to modify these conclusions.

Can CBD be harmful?

There’s evidence that CBD may be harmful to some people.

Before the FDA approved Epidiolex (a purified CBD product) as a drug, studies were done to evaluate its effectiveness and safety. Some participants in these studies had side effects (mostly diarrhea or sleepiness), and some developed abnormalities on tests of liver function. In some instances, study participants had to discontinue Epidiolex because of liver problems. Epidiolex also interacted with some of the other drugs these people were taking.

Problems like these can be managed in patients taking Epidiolex because they’re using CBD under medical supervision. People who use CBD on their own don’t have this kind of protection. They may not even know how much CBD they’re taking. A 2017 analysis of 84 CBD products sold online found that 26 percent contained substantially less CBD than the label indicated, and 43 percent contained substantially more.

Source: NCCIH

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