Supporting gut health with medicinal cannabis in people with advanced cancer: potential benefits and challenges

Hannah R. Wardill, Luke T. Wooley, Olivia M. Bellas, Katrina Cao, Courtney B. Cross, Madele van Dyk, Ganessan Kichenadasse, Joanne M. Bowen, Andrew C.W. Zannettino, Sepehr Shakib, Gregory B. Crawford, Jaroslav Boublik, Mellar M. Davis, Scott D. Smid, Timothy J. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The side effects of cancer therapy continue to cause significant health and cost burden to the patient, their friends and family, and governments. A major barrier in the way in which these side effects are managed is the highly siloed mentality that results in a fragmented approach to symptom control. Increasingly, it is appreciated that many symptoms are manifestations of common underlying pathobiology, with changes in the gastrointestinal environment a key driver for many symptom sequelae. Breakdown of the mucosal barrier (mucositis) is a common and early side effect of many anti-cancer agents, known to contribute (in part) to a range of highly burdensome symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, infection, malnutrition, fatigue, depression, and insomnia. Here, we outline a rationale for how, based on its already documented effects on the gastrointestinal microenvironment, medicinal cannabis could be used to control mucositis and prevent the constellation of symptoms with which it is associated. We will provide a brief update on the current state of evidence on medicinal cannabis in cancer care and outline the potential benefits (and challenges) of using medicinal cannabis during active cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Volume130
Issue number1
Early online date26 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Chemotherapy
  • Digestive signs and symptoms

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