Up to 66% of cancer patients have used cannabis

Cannabis compounds as a novel treatment strategy for chemotherapy induced nausea

A recently published and rather exciting Cochrane review has been conducted comparing the efficacy of cannabinoid (cannabis derived molecules) treatments compared to current anti-nausea drugs. Cannabis use amongst cancer patients has been reportedly high as 66% (Pergam et al, 2017). Legalisation has played a key role in this uptake.

To add more credibility to this conversation this recent study is a Cochrane review. A Cochrane review is really the crème de la crème of scientific evidence and support. The aim of a Cochrane review is to collect all the literature in a specific research field and summarise all of the evidence currently available in scientific literature.

Findings

1.

People had more chance of reporting complete absence of vomiting (3 trials; 168 participants) and complete absence of nausea and vomiting (3 trials; 288 participants moderate quality evidence) when they received cannabinoids compared with placebo.

2.

People had more chance of reporting complete absence of vomiting (3 trials; 168 participants) and complete absence of nausea and vomiting (3 trials; 288 participants moderate quality evidence) when they received cannabinoids compared with placebo.

3.

People had more chance of reporting complete absence of vomiting (3 trials; 168 participants) and complete absence of nausea and vomiting (3 trials; 288 participants moderate quality evidence) when they received cannabinoids compared with placebo.

Conclusions

Given the findings of this paper, it is clear that Cannabis-based medications have massive potential for treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in patients. These results are particularly exciting for patients whom current anti-nausea and vomiting drugs do not work. Despite the methodological limitations of some of the trials, this study further supports the movement for the wider recognition and research of cannabinoids as a medical therapeutic. It is obvious that further research into the refinement of cannabis based medicines will continue to advance the efficacy of future treatments offering the wider population safer and more effective options when other treatments are lacking.

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