For more than 40 years, researchers have known that cannabis is beneficial for those suffering from nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. And 30 years ago, doctors in San Francisco discovered cannabis’ efficacy in treating HIV/AIDS patients suffering from nausea.
But earlier this month, a report was published revealing the most powerful evidence to date that cannabis is one of the most effective treatments in easing the effects of nausea and vomiting. The new study proved equivocally that cannabis prevents queasiness in laboratory rats.
Cannabis and HIV – More Doctors Recommend
The scientists behind the research believe their study not only helps to understand what triggers nausea but could also pave the way for more effective therapies. The data gives skeptical doctors a greater comfort level recommending cannabis to chemotherapy patients, HIV/AIDS patients and others afflicted with nausea.
Nausea occurs when your brain receives neuropathic messages that toxin exists somewhere in your body. The brain, in an attempt to kill the toxin, immediately emits a signal which forces the muscles in your gastrointestinal tract to remove the toxin. The passageway for removal ends at your mouth, resulting in vomit.
‘Critical in the quality of life of chemotherapy patients’
“We knew some of the neurobiology behind nausea, but we had a lot of data that led to a hypothesis that serotonin was triggering it,” Dr. Linda Parker, a professor of psychology at the University of Guelph, said. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter in the brain which helps with digestion, among other things. “Finding new treatments for nausea is really critical in the quality of life of chemotherapy patients,” Parker added.
Researchers say the findings could open the door to new therapies for patients who suffer from nausea. And the study further shows it is non-psychoactive CBD that is helping the most. “From this study, we’ve been able to show that cannabidiol (CBD) use in treating nausea could be more effective for people who want to avoid the psychoactive compounds found in marijuana.”
The recent study is yet another verification of what oncologists have suspected since the 1970s. A survey published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reported that of physicians polled, 77 percent felt that medical marijuana was more effective than conventional medications, and more than 44 percent had recommended medical marijuana to their patients.
CBD Dosage for Nausea
And as cannabis legalization spreads, more nausea sufferers are turning to cannabis as an affordable and reliable solution. Typically, only a small dose of cannabis is needed to get relief from nausea symptoms. Most nausea sufferers require a few small puffs of smoke or a small amount of vaporized cannabis to do the trick.
What is Nausea?
We’ve all experienced the uncomfortable feeling of nausea. It’s that queasy sensation in your gut. It can stop you in your tracks. Nausea can be an unfortunate side effect of the flu, the result of food poisoning, low blood sugar, a migraine headache, or even a hangover from too much alcohol. Some people experience nausea from simply riding in a car, flying, or severe anxiety or fear.
It is an inconvenient at best, and traumatic at worst, but vomiting is your body’s normal physical response to rejecting something unwanted in your system. It protects us from being made sicker or poisoned by absorbing more of something that can pose a danger to us.
Nearly 4 million people a year receive chemotherapy treatment to combat some form of cancer. Research has found that cannabis is one of the most effective treatments for the horrible side effects of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV).
Chemotherapy and Cannabis
The Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed the findings of 79 studies on cannabinoids for a variety of indications, including nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, and appetite stimulation for patients with HIV/AIDS. The study revealed that most who used cannabis reported improvements to their symptoms.
A growing number of oncologists now believe cannabis or medical marijuana treatment is helpful in managing chemotherapy’s effects, as well as some of cancer’s other side effects, such as bone pain, anxiety, and depression.
Marijuana Effects on Appetite
“A day doesn’t go by where I don’t see a cancer patient who has nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain, depression, and insomnia,” according to Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of hematology-oncology at San Francisco General Hospital. Cannabis is the only anti-nausea medicine that increases appetite,” Abrams says.
“I could write six different prescriptions, all of which may interact with each other or the chemotherapy that the patient has been prescribed. Or I could just recommend trying one medicine,“ Abrams says about cannabis.