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Cannabis Gives Cancer Patients the Munchies

Cannabis Gives Cancer Patients the Munchies

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy can benefit from the appetite stimulant qualities of cannabis, according to a Canadian study.

For many cancer patients, chemotherapy gives food an unpleasant metallic taste. The sight, smell, and texture of foods can become completely unappetizing. Chemotherapy can also cause a feeling of nausea that compounds the problem, causing many cancer patients, myself included, to lose weight. Too much weight loss can lead to other serious health concerns.

The pilot study, published in Annals of Oncology, was undertaken to determine if delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an ingredient in cannabis, could improve taste and smell perception, appetite, caloric intake, and quality of life for cancer patients who were experiencing changes in taste sensation.

Twenty-one patients with advanced cancer and poor appetites were given THC or placebos twice a day for 18 days. All were undergoing chemotherapy or had in the past.

Sixty-four percent of patients who were treated with THC reported an increase in appetite and improvement in food perception. Twenty-seven percent showed no change and no THC-treated patients reported a decrease in appetite.

The THC group also reported better quality of sleep and relaxation than those in the placebo group. Patients who were given the placebo reported decreased appetite or no change at all.

In a press release, Dr. Wendy Wismer (PhD), associate professor at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada), who led the study, said:

“This is the first randomized controlled trial to show that THC makes food taste better and improves appetites for patients with advanced cancer, as well as helping them to sleep and to relax better. Our findings are important, as there is no accepted treatment for chemosensory alterations experienced by cancer patients. We are excited about the possibilities that THC could be used to improve patients’ enjoyment of food…

Indeed, cancer patients are often told to ‘cope’ with chemosensory problems by eating bland, cold and odorless food. This may well have the result of reducing food intake and food enjoyment.”

Further research is necessary, but Dr. Wismer believes doctors could consider THC treatment for cancer patients.

 

Related Stories: 

Breast Implants Could Cause a Rare Form of Cancer

Medical Marijuana and the Workplace: Wal-Mart Suit Tests Some Limits

New App Connects Cancer Patients to Treatment

 

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Photo courtesy of photoXpress.com


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76 comments

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12:54PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

I am suffering from muscle spasms and nerve pain from shingles for three years...ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! the meds takes away my appetite...
i hate the law... but i love my country...

11:38PM PST on Mar 2, 2011

medical marihuana should be available world wide

3:34AM PST on Mar 1, 2011

bahahahahaha

5:09PM PST on Feb 28, 2011

I am suffering from muscle spasms and nerve pain from shingles for three years...ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! the meds takes away my appetite...
i hate the law... but i love my country...

10:12AM PST on Feb 28, 2011

If alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and sugar are legal, there is no reason why marijuana should still be considered a drug. It's an herb! The drug companies won't allow it to be legalized because they will lose TONS of profits since weed has so many different uses.

4:44AM PST on Feb 28, 2011

So much official hipocrisy behind legalization of marihuana use can only be expained by the systematic action of the chemical laboratories lobby; maximizing profits is their only goal, and time will come around when their drugs, with pot´s active principles in them, will be readily available. For the time being, grownups will continue to be treated as mentally handicapped children, and told what is good or not good for them.

6:32PM PST on Feb 27, 2011

The benefits are numerous for many different diseases and disorders not just cancer. For instance, those with anxiety disorders and sleep deprivation could benefit from its properties.

3:23PM PST on Feb 27, 2011

Munchies? Gee, who knew?

10:49AM PST on Feb 27, 2011

Deinitely, mariquana never killed anyone, look at all the people cigarettes killed.

9:09AM PST on Feb 27, 2011

Tests like these have been going on since the 1960's, and it's the drug companies that keep marijuana illegal. It's hard to change greed -induced thinking. As for as the results, I think they could have asked anyone who had smoked marijuana about the munchies. I always recommend to anyone with a loved one who has cancer, take them to a Traditional Chinese medical practitioner and allow them to start them on herbs before the western medicine chemo. This will help with the side effects.

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