Ingredient in cannabis restores taste for cancer patients

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 19:17 EDT
google plus icon
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

PARIS – The ingredient that gives cannabis its “high” and famously whets the appetite can help cancer patients recover lost pleasure in food, according to a study published on Wednesday.

Researchers in Canada enrolled 21 patients who had been treated with chemotherapy for advanced cancer, and gave them either capsules containing THC — delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis — or dummy lookalike pills.

The volunteers took the tablets for 18 days, and were asked to fill in questionnaires.

Seventy-three percent of those who took the THC reported an increased liking for food and 55 percent said the medication “made food taste better”. In the placebo group, these figures were only 30 percent and 10 percent.

Both groups consumed roughly the same total of calories, but the THC patients said they ate more protein than before the start of the experiment and enjoyed savoury foods more.

The THC-takers also reported better quality of sleep and relaxation than in the placebo group.

The experiment is small scale but the first to explore the touted qualities of THC through random selection of volunteers and use of a “control” group by which to make a comparison.

Lead investigator Wendy Wismer, an associate professor at the University of Alberta, said the findings were important because cancer, or its treatment, can cripple appetite and lead to dangerous weight loss.

Many cancer patients, for instance, complain that meat smells and tastes unpleasant, so they eat less of it.

“For a long time, everyone has thought that nothing could be done about this,” Wismer said in a press release.

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

Wismer said that doctors should consider THC treatment for cancer patients suffering from loss of taste, smell and appetite.

THC was well tolerated, and in terms of side effects there were no differences between the THC and placebo groups, which suggests that long-term therapy is also an option, she said.

The study appears in the journal Annals of Oncology, published by the European Society for Medical Oncology.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCRNBMCPGAOEFGLTXYZVLQ2QPA Razi Masoud

    It does more than restore the taste, it actually fights the cancer with full potential without the side-effects of chemo-therapy. So it is basically the cure for cancer.

    To all who want to know more about curing cancer with Marijuana, please look up the Rick Simpson story.
    Rick Simpson had terminal skin cancer. He used Hash oil and the cancer disappeared and didn’t come back.

    This won’t go mainstream because it would collapse the entire pharma industry, since marijuana is also good for other illnesses (and even hangovers).

  • Guest

    Supercritical extraction is commonly used to extract the pure essence of many medicinally beneficial herbs.

    Imagine the therapeutic possibilities of super-critically extracted cannabinoids from whole organically grown Cannabis.

    The majority of research of cannabinoids has utilized synthetic cannabinoids, and smoked marijuana.
    Smoking marijuana, although convenient, is a horrible method for therapeutic administration of Cannabis.
    Synthetic cannabinoids are also threapeutically inferior to the full spectrum of natural cannabinoids found in whole organically grown Cannabis.

    Big Pharma can’t make money from a plant. They need isolates that they can patent.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MSVG73USMG342DWORQKIEJ6HVQ Bob

    Cannabinoids are good for you! They have many beneficial and therapeutic effects. Yet the FDA insists they are of no benefit because the US government wants you to get your drugs from pharmaceutical companies. Who would make a profit if you grew the medicine at home? Your doctor, your druggist, the pharmaceutical industry and the medical insurance industry are depending on those profits, so the FDA serves up a big, steaming pile of implausible denial to shield you from the facts.

  • Guest

    The MIRACLE PLANT! If they would just let it be what it can be.

  • Guest

    I was told to use it for PTSD by a VA hospital provider–unofficially of course–and it DEFINITELY helps.

  • Anonymous

    The full story of Rick Simpson is at http://phoenixtears.ca/ . Cannabis oil treatments have yielded in vivo remission of various cancers.

  • Anonymous

    No wonder I love eating so much!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FONW6K3ZWV4BU4ZTCDCSZHHH6E Mick Jagger

    It also suppresses tumor growth…that’s why it itself has been suppressed by the powers that be.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/GCPX7DXZGK2H2CPNYRR5IS5A64 Turnip Mcgee

    I”m about to therapeutically administer a dose right now. o_O

  • Anonymous

    Ingredient? Is there a recipe for cannabis? Nope, it’s all natural. Of course, AFP would rather you associate it with manufactured drugs…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCRNBMCPGAOEFGLTXYZVLQ2QPA Razi Masoud

    We have 3 cannabinoid receptors in our body; the central nerve-system, lungs and liver.
    I’d say we have it for a reason maybe.

  • http://www.lynchgraphics.com David Lynch

    Cannabis giving people the munchies is breaking news???

  • DesertSun59

    The munchies will do that to ya!