Last updated on: 5/30/2008 | Author: ProCon.org

Should Marijuana Be Used to Treat Nausea?

PRO (yes)

Pro

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice reported in its Feb. 2006 article “Survey of Medicinal Cannabis Use Among Childbearing Women: Patterns of Its Use in Pregnancy and Retroactive Self-Assessment of Its Efficacy Against ‘Morning Sickness'”:

“Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) may be used therapeutically to mitigate pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting…

92% of the respondents who had used cannabis therapy for morning sickness considered it ‘extremely effective or ‘effective’.”

Feb. 2006 - Survey of Medicinal Cannabis Use Among Childbearing Women Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

Pro

Francis L. Young, former Chief Administrative Law Judge at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), made the following statement in his 1988 ruling:

“The overwhelming preponderance of the
evidence in this record establishes that marijuana has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States for nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy treatments in some cancer patients. To conclude otherwise, on this record, would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.”

1988 - Francis L. Young

Pro

GW Pharmaceuticals stated on its website (accessed Jan. 2004):

“The anti-emetic properties of cannabis have been studied in humans more widely than any other indication. Nausea and vomiting following chemotherapy was felt to be one of the best supported therapeutic uses of cannabis and cannabinoids by the British Medical Association in their review of 23 studies, and was also supported by the American Institute of Medicine. This indication for cannabis has become common knowledge among patients, was the subject of a popular book, and has received some endorsement amongst American oncologists in a survey study.

A large body of knowledge has now been amassed in this context as a result of state-sponsored studies in the USA in cancer chemotherapy. Pooling available data in some 768 patients, oral THC provided 76-88% relief of nausea and vomiting, while smoked cannabis figures supported 70-100% relief in the various surveys.”

Jan. 2004 - GW Pharmaceuticals

Pro

Continuing Medical Education, Inc. (CME), when asked (on its website) in Jan. 2000 if treating cancer chemotherapy with medical marijuana was sound treatment, replied:

“It is established that marijuana does ease the pain of cancer and the nausea of cancer chemotherapy. So, to directly address your question: It is a medically sound treatment.”

Jan. 2000 - Continuing Medical Education, Inc.

CON (no)

Con

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) on Aug. 4, 2005 wrote in a website article, “Cannabis and IBD: A Fragile Connection,”:

“While marijuana might temporarily reduce pain and nausea… CCFA’s expert consensus remains: The harmful side
effects of marijuana far outweigh its potential benefits.”

Aug. 4, 2005 - Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)

Con

The Eagle Forum stated in its brochure “Facts You Need to Know About… Marijuana,” on the Eagle Forum website (accessed Mar. 1, 2006):

“There is no legitimate need for marijuana as medicine. Pills containing THC are already available with a physician’s prescription…

Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy often die from infection because chemotherapy weakens the body’s immune defenses. THC reduces the nausea experienced by chemotherapy patients, but can be dangerous to these patients because THC also damages the immune system.”

Mar. 1, 2006 - Eagle Forum

Con

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stated in its website section “Speak Out,” (accessed Mar. 2, 2006):

“Smoked marijuana is not scientifically approved medicine…

The active ingredient of Marinol is synthetic THC, which has been found to relieve the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy for cancer patients…

Unlike smoked marijuana… Marinol has been studied and approved by the medical community and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the nation’s watchdog over unsafe and harmful food and drug products.”

Mar. 2, 2006 - US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)