MMJ and Treating Nausea in Chemo Patients

Since the legalization of Medicinal Cannabis in several states, it has seen much media coverage (although perhaps not mainstream) about the potential benefits for a plethora of ailments. One such use has been to treat nausea in cancer patients undergoing Chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy comes with some pretty common, and unpleasant, side effects. Many patients lose their desire to eat and experience nausea and vomiting. Still others develop a condition called cachexia, in which they lose a significant portion of their body weight, both fat and muscle. This condition, especially when combined with the loss of appetite and nausea, can cause those being treated for cancer to feel physically weak and emotionally drained. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) explains that maintaining an adequate weight and absorbing sufficient nutrients can help patients feel, look, and function better, and may even help their bodies tolerate cancer therapy.

Normally, patients are given drugs called antiemetics in tandem with their chemotherapy in order to reduce nausea and increase appetite. Not everyone handles these types of drugs well. That is where alternative medicines like medicinal marijuana come in.

Marijuana has been used in herbal remedies for centuries. Scientists have identified many biologically active components in marijuana called cannabinoids. These chemicals, mainly THC and CBD, can help treat nausea and vomiting from chemo patients (and others with similar symptoms).

Studies have long shown people who take marijuana extracts of some sort or another tend to need less pain medication in clinical trials. More recently, scientists reported that THC and other cannabinoids such as CBD slow growth and/or cause death in certain types of cancer cells growing in laboratory dishes. So not only will it help you feel better, but it could potentially eradicate what is making you ill to begin with. A few studies have found that inhaled (smoked or vaporized) marijuana can be helpful treatment of neuropathic pain (pain caused by damaged nerves).