Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Use as an Antiemetic

Many agents used in cancer chemotherapy produce severe nausea and vomiting in most patients. Symptoms can last for hours or days and have a major impact on patient nutrition and electrolyte status, body weight and physical and mental resilience to both the disease and its treatment. The current choice of available anti-emetics is limited and most are only partially effective, which may lead patients to refuse therapy all together, or for clinicians to use chemotherapeutic regimens which are less than optimum. For these reasons, the search for more effective antiemetics continues. Cannabis In the late 1960s and early 1970s, patients receiving various cancer chemotherapy regimes (including mustine, vincristine, prednisone and procarbazine) noted that smoking cannabis from illicit sources, before and during chemotherapy, reduced the incidence of nausea and vomiting to a variable degree. Only since the isolation of THC have formal clinical trials on the safety and efficacy of cannabis derivatives been conducted. As far as crude cannabis is concerned, we have only anecdotal evidence that inhaling its smoke is effective in a variable percentage of patients who vomit, despite supposedly adequate doses of standard antiemetics. There Read more […]

Asteraceae: Drug Interactions, Contraindications, And Precautions

Patient survey data from Canada, the U.S., and Australia show that one in five patients use prescription drugs concurrently with CAM. The inherent polypharmaceutical nature of complementary and alternative medicine increases the risk of adverse events if these complementary and alternative medicine either have pharmacological activity or interfere with drug metabolism. Since confirmed interactions are sporadic and based largely on case reports, advice to avoid certain drug-CAM combinations is based on known pharmacological and in vitro properties. Known Hypersensitivity to Asteraceae Cross-reactive sesquiterpene lactones are present in many, if not all, Asteraceae. Patients with known CAD from one plant may develop similar type IV reactions following contact with others. Affected patients are often advised to avoid contact with all Asteraceae, yet this advice is based on limited knowledge of cross-reactivity between relatively few members of this large family. Some authorities recommend avoiding Asteraceae-derived complementary and alternative medicine if, for example, the patient is known to have IgE-mediated inhalant allergy to ragweed. While a reasonable approach, this ignores a number of important facts: (1) Read more […]

Taxol (Paclitaxel) and Cancer Chemotherapy

Taxol is an antineoplastic agent. This compound, first isolated from the bark of the Western yew tree in 1971, exhibits unique pharmacological actions as an inhibitor of mitosis, differing from the vinca alkaloids and colchicine derivatives in that it promotes rather than inhibits microtubule formation. Following its introduction into clinical trial, the drug was approved for treatment of cisplatin-refractory ovarian cancer in 1992 and has promising activity against cancers of the breast, lung, esophagus, and head and neck. Malignant neoplastic diseases may be treated by various approaches: surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or chemotherapy, or a combination of these. The extent of a malignant disease (staging) should be ascertained in order to plan an effective therapeutic intervention. Plants have antineoplastic activities. A significant portion of the product derived from plants serve either as protective agents against various pathogens (e.g., insects, fungi, or bacteria) or growth regulatory molecules (e.g., hormonelike substances that stimulate or inhibit cell division and morphogenesis). Chemical Groups Of Natural Products With Anticancer Properties Cancer Chemotherapy Before discussing the specific Read more […]

Nausea And Vomiting Of Pregnancy

Nausea And Vomiting Of Pregnancy And Hyperemesis Gravidarum Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), generally referred to as “morning sickness,” is a common pregnancy discomfort. Its association with pregnancy was documented on papyrus dating as far back as 2000 bce. The earliest reference is in Soranus’ Gynecology from the 2nd century ce.s9 Some degree of nausea, with or without vomiting, occurs in 50% to 90% of all pregnancies. It generally begins at about five to six weeks of gestation and usually abates by 16 to 18 weeks gestation. As many as 15% to 20% of pregnant women will continue to experience some degree of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy into the third trimester, and approximately 5% will continue to experience it until birth. The socioeconomic impact of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy on time lost from either paid employment or household work is substantial, with one study reporting as many as 8.6 million hours of paid employment and 5.8 million hours of household work lost each year because of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Additionally, women experiencing more extreme versions of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy or hyperemesis gravidarum are vulnerable to social isolation, and possibly depression, Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Garlic

Allium sativum L. (Alliaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Ajo, Allium. Pharmacopoeias Garlic (US Ph 32); Garlic Delayed Release Tablets (US Ph 32); Garlic Fluid Extract (US Ph 32); Garlic for Homeopathic Preparations (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008); Garlic Powder (European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4, British Pharmacopoeia 2009); Powdered Garlic (US Ph 32); Powdered Garlic Extract (The United States Ph 32). Constituents Garlic products are produced from the bulbs (cloves) of garlic and are usually standardised according to the content of the sulphur-containing compounds, alliin, allicin (produced by the action of the enzyme alliinase on alliin) and/or γ-glutamyl-(S)-allyl-L-cysteine. Other sulphur compounds such as allylmethyltrisulfide. allylpropyldisulfide, diallyldisulfide, diallyltrisulfide, ajoene and vinyldithiines, and mercaptan are also present. Garlic also contains various glycosides, monoterpenoids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and flavonoids based on kaempferol and quercetin. Use and indications Garlic has been used to treat respiratory infections (such as colds, flu, chronic bronchitis, and nasal and throat catarrh) and cardiovascular disorders. It is believed Read more […]

Ginger: Uses

Clinical Use Although ginger is used in many forms, including fresh ginger used in cooking or chai (Indian spicy tea), pickled or glazed ginger, ethanol extracts and concentrated powdered extracts, preparations made with the root are used medicinally. Depending on the specific solvent used, the resultant preparation will contain different concentrations of the active constituents and may differ markedly from crude ginger. Although the great majority of research refers specifically to the species Zingiber officinale, there is the potential for confusion with other species or even with other genera. Furthermore, there are reported to be wide variations in the quality of commercial ginger supplements with concentrations of gingerols ranging from 0.0 to 9.43 mg/g. As such, the results of specific research can not necessarily be extrapolated to different preparations. PREVENTION OF NAUSEA AND VOMITING Many clinical studies have investigated the effects of ginger in the prevention and treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with different circumstances, including pregnancy, the postoperative period, motion sickness and chemotherapy. A recent systematic review of 24 RCTs covering 1073 patients suggest that results Read more […]


ANTIEMETICS are used to prevent vomiting. They are thus related to antinauseant drugs which are used to reduce or prevent the feeling of nausea that very often precedes the physical process of vomiting (emesis). Commonly, the terms are used synonymously, though it is usually an antinauseant action that is being sought. The type of antinauseant drugs used, and the likelihood of success, depends on the mechanism and origin of the nauseous sensation, and there are a number of ways it can be triggered. Motion sickness (travel sickness) can often be prevented by taking antinauseant drugs before travelling, e.g. the antihistamines meclozine and dimenhydrinate, and the anticholinergic hyoscine. Probably all these drugs act as central MUSCARINIC CHOLINOCEPTOR ANTAGONISTS. Similar drugs may be used to treat nausea and some other symptoms of labyrinthine disease (where the vestibular balance mechanisms of the inner ear are disturbed, e.g. in Meniere’s disease), though other antinauseant drugs may also be necessary, e.g. cinnarizine or phenothiazine derivatives such as chlorpromazine and prochlorperazine. Steroids, such as dexamethasone and methylprednisolone, are effective antiemetics that work by an undefined mechanism. In view Read more […]