Cannabinoids are a group of chemical compounds naturally occurring cannabis plant (cannabis sativa). Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of these chemicals and research has shown that it has anti inflammatory properties to heal animals with nervous system disorders. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another one of these compounds in the marijuana plant that wields a psychoactive effect in animals. Major cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) are found in the endogenous cannabinoid system and allow cannabinoids to bind and do their job in the body. This paper will look at how cannabinoids can be used therapeutically in the body to help alleviate pain from chemotherapy related nausea and vomiting in patients with advanced cancer.
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Synthetic cannabinoids can be used in cancer management
The cannabinoids nabilone (Cesamet) and dronabinol (Marinol) are used for the mediation of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in cancer patients who did not respond properly to normal antiemetic treatment. The endocannabinoid system mixes with a number of other systems and pharmaceutical cannabinoids target specific CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, thus alleviating nausea and vomiting and pain. The benefits of these novel drugs in cancer may be prolonged beyond nausea and vomiting as indicated by data from preclinical studies and animal models
Cannabinoids can be used to reduce inflammation
Preclinical investigation has documented the benefits of both CB1 and CB2 receptor agonists in a number of pain types. These receptor agonists produce specific biochemical effects in the periphery and central nervous system in response to tissue injury or inflammation. While much remains unknown about their mechanisms in humans, their therapeutic activity in various types of pain and their impacts on neurotransmitters provide antinociception through multiple pathways and introduce a number of benefits in the treatment of one or more types of pain. As an example, CB1 induces a reduction in the nerve growth factor, a factor a part of neuroplasticity and brian related pain. Advantages of cannabinoid therapy were demonstrated in patients with multiple sclerosis related central neuropathic pain in one study.
The results from these studies should help more fully elucidate the benefits, distinct advantages and any disadvantages of cannabinoids. Patient tolerability and safety will be assessed in all studies. This information will be instrumental in establishing the role cannabis products in supportive care of the cancer patient with minimal side effects.