Cannabis is a drug that is in most parts of the world negatively categorised and said to be harmful to the human body. It is commonly associated with the narcotics industry and heavily perceived as an addictive leading to its illegality in recreational and medical use in over one hundred countries across the world. Cannabis is comprised of around four-hundred and eighty-three compounds, permitting it to have various effects on the body: increased pulse rate, bloodshot eyes, increased appetite and intermittent dizziness.
Alongside its recreational uses; it also has many medical uses catalysing debates on its legality whilst providing a focus to critically evaluate the opportunities and obstacles cannabis introduces. Should it be legalised worldwide?
Many countries have permitted the use of cannabis for exclusively medical use. The main psychoactive compound in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinols, commonly known as THC. This psychoactive compound contains derivatives that allow cannabis to act as an anti-nausea drug in chemotherapy, relieve intra-ocular pressure in glaucoma, which is damage to the eyes optic nerve, patients, stimulate one’s appetite and help with spinal cord spasticity.
Chemotherapy is a treatment used on cancer patients to eradicate cancer cells by stopping their reproduction. They will damage the RNA of the cancer cell, preventing successful reverse transcription to DNA for increased replication of cancer cells. Advancing with chemotherapy as a cancer patient also attracts multiple side effects. Examples include nausea, fatigue, hair loss, anaemia and loss of appetite. Findings from a trial conducted on the 12th of November 2015 show that from 23 randomised controlled trials fewer people who received cannabis-based medicines experienced nausea and vomiting than people who received placebo.
These findings demonstrate that cannabis can act as an anti-nausea drug in chemotherapy. However, is it the most efficient and most suitable anti-nausea drug to use? From the same trial, further side effects such as sedation, ‘feeling high’ and dysphoria were felt an more people left the study due to the side effects of cannabis. These results confirm that cannabis is effective to an extent, it should be specifically prescribed to those patients who respond poorly to other anti-nausea drugs.