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How Can Medical Cannabis Help Manage Nausea and Increase Appetite?

The use of medical cannabis in recent years has stirred much interest and debate amongst the public and the scientific community. One of the health benefits it is purported to have is its potential aid in managing nausea and increasing appetite, especially important for people undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy.


What is Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis refers to using the cannabis plant and its fundamental extracts to alleviate the symptoms of various health conditions. The plant houses over 400 different chemicals, approximately 70 of them being cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are the primary compounds offering the alleged therapeutic effects of the plant. Two of the most well-known cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Cannabis and Nausea Management

Medical cannabis, particularly in the form of cannabinoids, has shown promise for being an effective treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). For patients who do not show improvement after preferential treatment, it can be seen as a reasonable option. Studies have even suggested that cannabinoids can be more efficient than some conventional antiemetics like prochlorperazine, promethazine, and metoclopramide in managing CINV. However, its use in controlling CINV can cause side effects such as dizziness, hallucinations, and dysphoria.

How Cannabis Helps Increase Appetite

Medical marijuana may be employed to improve appetite, helping those who lose significant weight due to conditions like HIV/AIDS and cancer. Cannabis interacts with our neural pathways, influencing bodily functions such as increasing appetite. The THC in cannabis assists in stimulating appetite, making food seem more appealing, and making it easier for patients to maintain a healthy caloric intake.

Additional Potential Benefits

Aside from managing nausea and stimulating appetite, medical cannabis can potentially aid in relieving chronic pain. Strains high in CBD might help with sleep issues due to chronic pain. It can also calm stiffness and tight muscles in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Medical cannabis may also be employed in mitigating symptoms of other conditions such as:

  • Glaucoma
  • Epilepsy
  • Crohn's disease
  • Arthritis
  • Migraines

However, it should be noted that additional research into these areas is required to establish reliable evidence of these benefits.

Understanding the Limitations of Cannabis use

Despite its potential benefits, it's essential to understand the limitations and potential risks associated with the use of medical cannabis. Its use may lead to side effects, including dizziness, changes in mood, tiredness, and hallucinations. In some cases, long-term use might lead to a condition known as Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS), characterised by nausea and vomiting.

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