Nausea and Cathexia in HIV/AIDS
The allopathic treatment of cancer with chemicals (chemotherapy) inevitably leads to nausea, loss of appetite and cachexia (wasting). The use of marijuana to control nausea and increase appetite especially during chemotherapy is so well accepted it appears on mainstream television, for example recently on NBC’s ‘Parenthood’.
Several early clinical trials established the efficacy of marijuana to curb nausea:
Chang AE, Shiling DJ, Stillman RC, et al . Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol as an antiemetic in cancer patients receiving high-dose methotrexate: a prospective, randomized evaluation . Ann Intern Med. 1979;91(6):819-824
Chang AE, Shiling DJ, Stillman RC, et al . Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol as an antiemetic in cancer patients receiving adriamycin and cytoxan chemotherapy . Cancer . 1981;47(7):1746-1751
Levitt M, Faiman C, Hawks R, Wilson A . Randomized double-blind comparison of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and marijuana as chemotherapy antiemetics . In: Proceedings from the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology; May 6-8, 1984; Toronto, ON, Canada.
And stimulate appetite and weight gain:
Abrams DI, Hilton JF, Leiser R, et al . Short-term effects of cannabinoids in patients with HIV-1 infection: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial . Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(4):258-266 .
Haney M, Rabkin J, Gunderson E . Dronabinol and marijuana in HIV+ marijuana smokers: acute effects on caloric intake and mood . Psychopharmacology. 2005;181(1):170-178 .
Haney M, Gunderson EW, Rabkin J, et al . Dronabinol and marijuana in HIV+ marijuana smokers: caloric intake, mood, and sleep . J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr . 2007;45(5):545-554 .
But the old notion that smoking marijuana gives one the ‘munchies’ has been replaced by the finding that the CB-1 cannabinoid receptor is involved in appetite regulation in general. This article reviews the use of rimonabant, a CB-1 receptor antagonist for the treatment of obesity:
This survey showed marijuana users had better blood sugar and other diabetes risk factors:
While some conditions improved by marijuana require constant dosing, even self described past users of marijuana had better metabolic markers than abstainers, indicating a lasting effect. Given the mounting evidence that our standard American diet is largely responsible for our increasing and widespread metabolic dysfunction, one wonders if the occasional recreational or sleep time use would cure what ails us.