Medical cannabis is probably one of the most controversial topics at the moment. Critics of the medical marijuana movement have claimed that there is hardly any evidence of therapeutic benefit and that the hype has far outpaced the science. On the other hand, cannabis reform activists have argued that due to its diverse medicinal properties, medical cannabis can be a great alternative to pharmaceuticals.
Quite recently, Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY) announced that Australian researchers have found that medical cannabis has shown promise as a treatment for nausea and vomiting for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy in a clinical trial. The trial’s preliminary findings, which showed a significant improvement in the control of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, were published in the Annals of Oncology. The pilot phase of the study consisted of 81 patients who had experienced nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy and it ran for two and a half years.
A quarter of the participants taking medical cannabis experienced no vomiting or nausea compared to 14 percent of people who took a placebo. “The side-effects associated with chemotherapy are some of the primary causes of treatment discontinuation,” says Philippe Lucas, Vice President of Global Research and Access at Tilray, “so improving the control of nausea and vomiting can not only improve the quality of life of patients, but by allowing those affected by cancer to complete their treatment it can also potentially save lives.”
At the moment, the most prescribed medicine for chemo-induced nausea is the synthetic drug Marinol, owned by biotech company AbbVie. However, plenty of patients have been unable to continue with it due to side effects such as mood changes, confusion, trouble concentrating, dizziness, and anxiety. “Nausea and vomiting are among the most distressing and feared consequences of chemotherapy,” says Peter Grimson, leader of the study, medical oncologist at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Associate Professor at the University of Sidney.
Although side effects such as sedation, drowsiness, and dizziness were present in moderate to severe levels in about one-third of the people using medical cannabis, researchers considered them manageable. “These encouraging results indicate medical cannabis can help improve quality of life for chemotherapy patients,” Grimson says.
“The trial will now move to a larger phase to determine with much more certainty how effective medicinal cannabis is and whether it should be considered for use in routine cancer care. The next phase of the trial is ongoing and will recruit an extra 170 people.” Grimson added.
Experts say this research goes a long way towards confirming what pot companies like Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) have always said about the myriad of benefits of marijuana.
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