Is Weed The New Antiemetic?
Cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy often experience nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and discomfort. Weight loss is a significant symptom of cancer and the additional side effects produced by chemotherapy make it difficult for patients to replenish the loss of nutrients. Combined with chronic pain, these symptoms can make cancer treatment a constant struggle. Many cancer patients are exploring newer and alternative forms of treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). Medical cannabis was found to alleviate chronic pain as the main issue in cancer patients, but they have also found it to be effective in alleviating CINV. Yet, not many physicians and healthcare workers have the knowledge of this new form of medicine and many others still hold strong negative beliefs about the substance even with its legalization in recent years. With the given evidence, we find that an evidence-based project on this topic would help provide patients with one form of alternative treatment that might benefit them if current, standard antiemetic treatments are ineffective.
This evidence would be beneficial to the healthcare team of the oncology unit, have medicinal cannabis as a potential option to interested patients, provide patient-education on its use, and explore the variety of ways it can be distributed and used by the patients. It may also provide insight into other healing properties it may contain and aid in reducing stigma related to medicinal cannabis usage. Patient comfort is extremely important and by relieving CINV in cancer patients going through chemotherapy, it will lead to a better quality of life.