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Research Papers
Nausea associated with Cancer Chemotherapy
A. Abrahamov et al. An efficient new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology, Life Sciences 56 (1995): 2097-2102.

SUMMARY: Investigators reported that delta-8-THC completely blocked acute and delayed chemotherapy-induced emesis in eight children, aged 3-13 years.

FULL TEXT: unavailable

R. Doblin et al. Marijuana as an anti-emetic medicine: a survey of oncologists' attitudes and experiences, Journal of Clinical Oncology 9 (1991): 1275-1290.

SUMMARY: A random survey of clinical oncologists found that 44 percent of respondents reported recommending cannabis to their patients, and 64 percent reported that it was successful controlling nausea in at least half their patients.


California Research Advisory Panel, “Cannabis Therapeutic Research Program: Report to the California Legislature,” San Francisco: 1989.

SUMMARY: Oral THC has been shown to be clearly efficacious for the relief of nausea and vomiting in some patients, but not a total answer to the terrible emetogenic effect of current anticancer therapy. Side effects were frequent but not serious. Researchers established a cumulative dose schedule for THC, not previously studied, that provided the same efficacy with fewer troublesome side effects.


V. Vinciguerra et al. Inhalation marijuana as an antiemetic for cancer chemotherapy, New York State Journal of Medicine (1988): 525-527.

SUMMARY: 56 patients who had no improvement with standard anti-emetics were administered cannabis. 78 percent became symptom free after smoking cannabis.


M. Levitt et al. Randomized double-blind comparison of delta-9-THC and marijuana as chemotherapy antiemetics, Proceedings of the American Society for Clinical Oncology 3 (1984): 91.

SUMMARY: 20 patients compared oral THC to inhaled cannabis. The degree of emetic control was similar, with 25 percent of patients achieving complete control of emesis. 35 percent of patients indicated a slight preference for oral THC pills over cannabis. 20 percent preferred cannabis, and 45 percent had no preference.

FULL TEXT: unavailable

R. Gralla et al. Antiemetic therapy: a review of recent studies and a report of a random assignment trial comparing metoclopramide with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, Cancer Treatment Reports 68 (1984): 163-172.

SUMMARY: Patients compared the effectiveness of THC and metoclopramide in a double-blind study. Complete control of emesis occurred in 47 percent of those treated with metoclopramide and 13 percent of those treated with THC. Major control occurred in 73 percent of metoclopramide-treated patients as compared to 27 percent of those given THC.

FULL TEXT: unavailable

M. Kutner. “Evaluation of the Use of Both Marijuana and THC in Cancer patients for the Relief of Nausea and Vomiting Associated with Cancer Chemotherapy After Failure of Conventional Anti-Emetic Therapy: Efficacy and Toxicity,” as prepared for the Composite State Board of Medical Examiners, Georgia Department of Health, Atlanta: Emory University Press (1983).

SUMMARY: Investigators found cannabis and THC effective in providing anti-emetic relief for patients unresponsive to standard medications. Patients had a 73.1 percent average rate of success.


R. McNeil. “The Lynn Pierson Therapeutic Research Program: A Report on Progress to Date,” Behavioral Health Services Division, Health and Environment Department, State of New Mexico (1983).

SUMMARY: Investigators reported that more than 90 percent of the patients in the group that inhaled cannabis demonstrated relief from nausea and vomiting.


Tennessee Board of Pharmacy. “Annual Report: Evaluation of Marijuana and Tetrahydrocannabinol in Treatment of Nausea and/or Vomiting Associated with Cancer Chemotherapy Unresponsive to Conventional Anti-Emetic Therapy: Efficacy and Toxicity,” (1983).

SUMMARY: Investigators found cannabis and THC to be effective anti-emetics. They reported a 23 percent higher success rate among those patients smoking than among those patients administered THC capsules.


Michigan Cancer Foundation: Department of Social Oncology (Evaluation Unit). Michigan Department of Public Health Marijuana Therapeutic Research Project, Trial A 1980-81, (1982).

SUMMARY: Investigators reported that 71.1 percent of the patients who received cannabis reported no emesis to only moderate nausea. This percentage was comparable to those finding relief from conventional medications.


New York State Department of Health, “Annual Report to the Governor and Legislature on the Antonio G. Olivieri Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Program (1982).

SUMMARY: Investigators suggested that inhaled cannabis had significantly beneficial anti-emetic effects on patients unresponsive to conventional medications.


J Ungerleider et al. Cannabis and cancer chemotherapy: a comparison of oral delta-9-THC and prochlorperazine, Cancer 50 (1982): 636-645.

SUMMARY: Investigators reported no statistically significant differences in the anti-nausea/anti-emetic effect of THC and prochlorperazine. More patients preferred THC to prochlorperazine.

FULL TEXT: unavailable

A. Chang et al. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol as an antiemetic in cancer patients receiving high-dose methotrexate, Annals of Internal Medicine 91 (1979): 819-824.

SUMMARY: Fifteen patients with osteogenic sarcoma receiving high-dose methotrexate chemotherapy were studied in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral and smoked delta-9-tetrahydrocannabiriol (THC) as an antiemetic. Each patient served as his or her own control. Fourteen of 15 patients had a reduction in nausea and vomiting on THC as compared to placebo.


S. Sallan et al. Antiemetic effect of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy, New England Journal of Medicine 293 (1975): 795-797.

SUMMARY: Patients had a significantly significant anti-emetic improvement after administration of THC compared to placebo. Investigators reported preliminary observations from several patients that cannabis inhalation produced equivalent anti-emetic effects to oral THC.

FULL TEXT: unavailable

Additional references
R. Schwartz et al. Marijuana as an antiemetic drug: how useful is it today: opinions from clinical oncologists, Journal of Addictive Diseases 13 (1994): 53-65.

M. Levitt. Cannabinoids as antiemetics in cancer chemotherapy. In R. Mechoulam (ed.) Cannabinoids as Therapeutic Agents, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1986.

M. Carey et al. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in cancer chemotherapy: research problems and issues, Annals of Internal Medicine 99 (1983): 106-114.

T. Sensky et al. Cannabinoids as antiemetics, British Medical Journal 286 (1982): 802.

D. Bateman et al. Therapeutic potential of cannabinoids, British Medical Journal 284 (1982): 1211-1212.

A. Chang et al. A prospective evaluation of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol as an antiemetic in patients receiving adriamycin and cytoxan chemotherapy, Cancer 47 (1981): 1746-1751.

Cannabinoids for Nausea, Lancet (January 1981): 255-256.

J. Neidhart et al. Comparative trial of the antiemetic effects of THC and haloperidol, Journal of Clinical Pharamcology 21 (1981): 385-425.

L. Orr et al. Antiemetic effect of tetrahydrocannabinol compared with placebo and prochlorperazine in chemotherapy-associated nausea and emesis, Archives of Internal Medicine 140 (1980): 1431-1432.

S. Sallan et al. Antiemetics in patients receiving chemotherapy for cancer: a randomized comparison of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and prochlorperazine, New England Journal of Medicine 302 (1980): 135-138.

S. Frytak et al. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol as an antiemetic in patients treated with cancer chemotherapy: a double comparison with prochloperazine and a placebo, Annals of Internal Medicine 91 (1979): 825-830.