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Does Marijuana Help

Posted 1/27/2016

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  Some people have been using marijuana to help with chemo side effects for at least 35 years. I know this because that is, more or less, when I began to work at BIDMC (then Beth Israel Hospital), and there were often questions from patients about access and value. Most of those questions were almost whispered behind my office door. Through the years, and especially recently as the use of medical marijuana has become legal in Massachusetts, this often feels like another option to try.

  Since there have not been many studies directly looking at whether it works, for whom it is most likely to work, comparing it to other anti-nausea medications, there is a lot of uncertainty and vague pronouncements. I was very pleased to see this report from the Cochrane Collaboration that carefully examines these questions. Here is the start and a link to read more

Cannabis-based medicine for nausea and vomiting in people treated with chemotherapy for cancer

As many as three-quarters of people who receive chemotherapy experience nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting (being sick), which many find distressing. While conventional anti-sickness medicines are effective, they do not work for everyone, all of the time. Therapeutic drugs based on the active ingredient of cannabis, known as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), have been approved for use as anti-sickness medicines in some countries.

Review question 
This review evaluated how well cannabis-based medicines work for treating nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy treatment in people with cancer, and what the side effects were.

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