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Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea, Vomiting

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Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is one of the most difficult short-term side effects resulting from undergoing all types of chemo regimens. Difficult by making the patient feel awful. Difficult by not adhering to the specified regimen. Difficult all the way around.

The studies linked and excerpted below talk about platinum-based chemotherapy regimens which can be some of the most nausea-causing regimens in oncology. In addition, the first study linked focuses on gynecologic cancer patients. In my experience as both a cancer survivor and cancer coach, CINV is a common side effect of all chemo regimens for all cancer types- not just gynecologic cancer patients.

CBD oil is an evidence-based but non-conventional therapy. The FDA approved, conventional therapy that is supposed to manage chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting is a class of drugs called antiemetics.  Although the use of antiemetic agents have improved, CINV remains an issue with most patients.

I think it is important to point out the antiemetics and CBD oil can be used together to combat CINV.

  • The top study discusses CBD oil as an individual therapy for CINV and the 
  • bottom study discusses CBD oil as a therapy in addition to antiemetic therapy-

A couple of issues to keep in mind if you are considering using CINV when you undergo chemo. The top study below talks about that CBD oil that also contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC):cannabinoid (CBD) (1:1) oil. Different strains, different brands of CBD oil may or may not contain THC. This is the component of cannabis that makes people high.

As an example, I don’t like the feeling of being high. So I use a brand of CBD oil called Charlotte’s Web. I want the benefit of helping me sleep and of enhancing my bone health- both documented attributes of CBD oil. But no THC so not the high sensation.

Secondly, CBD oil with THC is not legal at the federal level in the United States. As of Apr. 24, 2023, 38 states, three territories and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of cannabis products.

Lastly, the studies below do document side effects of CBD oil with THC- “adverse events such as sedation, dizziness, or disorientation…” 

CBD oil is a remarkable complementary therapy in many ways-

Have you been diagnosed with cancer? What type? What stage? Are you currently dealing with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting? Scroll down the page, post a comment or question and I will reply to you ASAP.

Hang in there,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Oral Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC):Cannabinoid (CBD) Cannabis Extract Adjuvant for Reducing Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting (CINV): A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial

Objective: To evaluate the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC):cannabinoid (CBD) (1:1) oil in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in gynecologic cancer patients who received moderate-to-high emetogenic chemotherapy…

Results: A total of 60 cases were recruited. After exclusion, 54 cases were included in the study. The mean age of participants was 54.4 years. The mean body mass index (BMI) was 26.5 kg/m2. Fifty-nine (21/54) percent cases were the advanced stages of cancer. The nausea score of TCEO and placebo groups were 2.11 and 2.99, respectively (P < 0.05). More than half of the participants (36/54) reported dizziness and sedation side effects. Dry mouth, confusion, anxiety, and palpitation of both groups were comparable.

Conclusion: The cannabinoid extract (THC:CBD) was an appropriate adjuvant agent to reduce CINV in patients with gynecologic cancer who received high-emetogenic chemotherapy. Dizziness and sedation were the major side effects…

Despite the usefulness and efficacy of chemotherapy, it is still associated with numerous side effects, especially chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). CINV is one of the most common adverse effects and leads to significant morbidity and deterioration of patients’ quality of life.1 As a consequence, noncompliance to chemotherapy treatment can be frequently observed.2,3..

CINV can be divided into five different phases:

  • The acute phase is defined as CINV occurring within 24 h post chemotherapy,
  • delayed phase is defined as CINV occurring within 24–120 h and may last 6–7 days,
  • anticipatory phase is when patients have CINV prior to administration of future chemotherapy,
  • breakthrough phase is when patients have CINV within 5 days of prophylactic antiemetic agents, and
  • refractory phase is when CINV occurs in subsequent chemotherapy cycles following prior failure of prophylactic treatment.4

Cannabis sativa L. (marijuana or hemp) (Cannabinaceae) belongs to a group of herbaceous shrubs. There are now over 700 varieties of cannabis from which hundreds of compounds have been identified. The main compounds for medical use include delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound, and cannabidiol (CBD) which is a non-psychoactive compound.10

Oral THC:CBD cannabis extract for refractory chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a randomised, placebo-controlled, phase II crossover trial

Background: This multicentre, randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, phase II/III trial aimed to evaluate an oral THC:CBD (tetrahydrocannabinol:cannabidiol) cannabis extract for prevention of refractory chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV)…

Thirty-one percent experienced moderate or severe cannabinoid-related adverse events such as sedation, dizziness, or disorientation, but 83% of participants preferred cannabis to placebo. No serious adverse events were attributed to THC:CBD…

Conclusion: The addition of oral THC:CBD to standard antiemetics was associated with less nausea and vomiting but additional side-effects. Most participants preferred THC:CBD to placebo. Based on these promising results, we plan to recruit an additional 170 participants to complete accrual for the definitive, phase III, parallel group analysis…”




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