In this article, we’ll be reviewing the academic paper “Cannabinoids for nausea and vomiting in adults with cancer receiving chemotherapy” published in November 2015. The authors did a meta analysis (combined the findings of multiple studies) to figure out if CBD (products that contain stuff related to cannabis, like marijuana) actually helped solve nausea and vomiting for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. They included 23 random controlled trials (the gold standard for scientific research) to reach the conclusion that CBD significantly reduce vomiting when compared to Placebos and that CBD are also as effective as traditional anti-nausea drugs. However, participants showed a preference to using CBD instead of traditional anti-nausea drugs (prochlorperazine).
Why was this study about CBD & Nausea important?
Nausea and vomiting are some of the most stressful aspects of receiving chemotherapy treatment. Nearly 75% of people receiving chemotherapy are affected by nausea and vomiting which can severely impact quality of life and thus also impact the adherence to the chemotherapy treatment.
As a result, medical practitioners have developed guidelines and standard protocols to manage chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Many drugs have waxed and waned in popularity over the years but people’s preferences also play a role in the final treatment of the nausea. According to a study from 2003, CBD can be considered to help treat patients with nausea and vomiting as a fourth-line agent. CBD work through a different mechanism in treating the symptoms and therefore may be effective in helping patients who respond poorly to traditional medicine.
CBD Oil may help with Nausea in Chemotherapy Patients
How CBD Might Help Nausea and Vomiting
Till the time of this study, researchers had identified two types of CBD receptors, CB1 and CB2. Research has shown that blockage of CB1 induces vomiting thus showing a correlation between CBD receptors and the areas of the brain related to nausea and vomiting.
How were the Trials conducted?
Since this is a meta-analysis, the authors combined the results of many different studies. All the trials were conducted on adults suffering from a many different types of cancers which used different kinds of chemotherapy A lot of the participants in the trials were also people who were resistant to the usual anti-nausea medicines.
The studies used dronabinol or nabilone (synthetic cannabis based compounds) which was given orally. The studies compared the effects of these cannabis compounds to either a placebo or conventional anti-nausea medicines (prochlorperazine and metoclopramide).
CBD & Conventional Anti-Nausea Medicine
Results of the Meta Analysis of CBD & Nausea
For this study, the researchers started with 441 studies and organised them based on quality of the research and whether the studies actually answered the questions the researchers were trying to answer. In the end, the researchers used only 23 out of the 441 studies to draw their final conclusions.
The researchers found that CBD were more effective at reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea than the placebo and as effective as conventional anti-emetics (anti-nausea drugs). It is worth mentioning that people receiving chemotherapy treatment report more adverse events while under the influence of CBD. Due to a higher rate of side effects with anti-emetics than those taking placebo, there was some evidence that cancer patients who received CBD preferred them to other anti-emetics.
Comparing CBD to placebo, participants were 5x as likely to report no vomiting and 3x more likely to report no nausea. However, they were 6x more likely to withdraw from the study due to an adverse event with the CBD while the placebo group was likely to withdraw due to the lack of effectiveness. The only difference in adverse effects reported between the CBD and placebo was ’feeling high’. The studies showed that there was weak evidence that participants preferred CBD to the placebo.
When we compare CBD with conventional anti-emetic drugs, we can see there wasn’t any significant differences on nausea, vomiting, or nausea and vomiting between the groups. For example, those who took medical cannabis were more likely to experience dizziness, dysphoria (feeling of discomfort when things aren’t right), and sedation among other minor side effects. Of those people who experienced an adverse event while taking CBD specifically, they were more likely to feel dizzy than those in the prochlorperazine group. Most participants preferred to take CBD rather than taking conventional anti-emetics when they were suffering from nausea and vomiting.
There may be even more benefits of using CBD in conjunction with another anti-emetic. This combination could help further reduce the side effects of chemo-therapy.
Implications for practice
For people who are undergoing chemotherapy and resistant to other kinds of anti-nausea therapy, CBD can be useful as an additional treatment. However, we need to consider the adverse effects that the patients complained about in the study and how this would be affected by the person’s age and the current anti-nausea treatments that they’re undergoing.
High Quality CBD Products
The CBD market has exploded with hundreds of brands and products who claim to make the best quality products but you don’t really know where they’re from or who they are. You need to make sure that you and your loved ones use only the best quality CBD products to relieve their symptoms from Chemotherapy. Halso is a curated marketplace for CBD products that was started because the founders didn’t know which products to buy for their ailing parents. So they built a website where they only present you with the brands that they have deemed to be fit for consumption. You can find CBD Oils & Tinctures, CBD Natural Pain Relievers and even Hemp Infused Olive Oil on Halso.