A review of nabilone in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
Mark A Ware, Paul Daeninck, Vincent Maida
Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in cancer patients places a significant burden on patients’ function and quality of life, their families and caregivers, and healthcare providers. Despite the advances in preventing CINV, a substantial proportion of patients experience persistent nausea and vomiting. Nabilone, a cannabinoid, recently received Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment of the nausea and vomiting in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy who fail to achieve adequate relief from conventional treatments. The cannabinoids exert antiemetic effects via agonism of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). Clinical trials have demonstrated the benefits of nabilone in cancer chemotherapy patients. Use of the agent is optimized with judicious dosing and selection of patients.
Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system
Keith A. Sharkey, Nissar A. Darmani, Linda A. Parker
Nausea and vomiting (emesis) are important elements in defensive or protective responses that animals use to avoid ingestion or digestion of potentially harmful substances. However, these neurally-mediated responses are at times manifested as symptoms of disease and they are frequently observed as side-effects of a variety of medications, notably those used to treat cancer. Cannabis has long been known to limit or prevent nausea and vomiting from a variety of causes.
This has led to extensive investigations that have revealed an important role for cannabinoids and their receptors in the regulation of nausea and emesis. With the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, novel ways to regulate both nausea and vomiting have been discovered that involve the production of endogenous cannabinoids acting centrally. Here we review recent progress in understanding the regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, and we discuss the potential to utilize the endocannabinoid system in the treatment of these frequently debilitating conditions.