If you are not new to cannabis, then you already know that the drug is used to alleviate and manage certain medical conditions and symptoms. One of the most common among these conditions is nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy.
Chemo-induced nausea is also one of the most common qualifying conditions that states and countries have approved for medical cannabis use.
Doctors specifically use tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to treat nausea and to help improve the appetite for cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. THC is the main psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis. It is the compound that creates a high for users.
However, according to a new study, the non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol (CBD) can help curb nausea that cancer patients suffer from as an effect of chemotherapy drugs.
The new study, conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph and published in eNeuro, is the first to show that alternate compounds found in the cannabis plant can be used and are just as effective in the treatment of nausea, if not better, than the other drugs that are used for this particular purpose.
Nausea is one of the side effects of chemotherapy and it is not effectively treated by any current pharmaceutical drugs available today.
According to psychology professor Linda Parker, the findings of the new study could lead to a wide range of potential therapeutic benefits. For two decades, Parker has studied the pharmacological properties of cannabinoids as they affect the behaviors of the brain.
The Guelph study suggests better anti-nausea therapies using CBD, as well as a new drug that elevates 2-AG, a natural cannabinoid in the brain that is in charge of triggering nausea.
The study is currently pre-clinical. It had used rats. Researchers showed that a particular treatment that induces nausea triggers the release of serotonin in the interceptive insular cortex, which is a region in the brain. They found that CBD acts to prevent serotonin release.
The interceptive insular cortex mediates the sensation of nausea. Parker explained that the brain can be tricked into making more 2-AG by giving drugs the keep it from breaking down by enzymes in this brain region.
Parker added that the new findings could lead to targeted treatment using drugs that enhance natural cannabinoids in the insular cortex, thereby avoiding the potential effects of THC on other brain zones and their functions.