Marijuana and Chemotherapy - An Alternative Medicine for Nausea


Published: 11/21/2011

by David A


medical marijuana nausea

Patients often experience nausea due to their illness or disease, some even face nauseous side effects due to their prescribed medicine.  Logically, it does not make any sense for a patient to swallow a pill that supposedly “cures” their nausea.  I know that when I have felt nauseous in the past, the last thing I want to do is swallow a pill! 


An alternative medicine to help cure antiemetic, or anti-nausea, symptoms is medical marijuana.  Dr. Stephen Sallan of the Sidney Farber Cancer Center stated, “The {marijuana} smoke route is in some ways ideal. Certainly when we want a drug to be absolutely sure, general anesthesia, we put it on the face, they breathe it across their lungs, it's in their bloodstream immediately.”  The great thing about marijuana is that it can be ingested in ways that most other medicines can’t! 


If a nauseous patient does not want to inhale marijuana, a great alternative is marijuana soda or cannabis tea.  The carbonation, with the addition of marijuana, is a great way to settle one’s stomach and decrease their nauseous feeling!  Cannabis tea also is a great way to soothe one’s nausea & relax their muscles.


In 1999, the Institutes of Medicine report concluded that “…pills are generally
ineffective, because of the difficulty in swallowing or keeping a pill down, and slow onset of the drug effect. Thus an inhalation (but, preferably not smoking) cannabinoid drug delivery system would be advantageous for treating chemotherapy-induced nausea.” 


In addition to the positive effects of marijuana to treat chemotherapy, the cannabis alternative would also be a great way to help the economy!  According to the American Cancer Society’s 2003 data, more than 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year.  At least 300,000 of these patients will undergo chemotherapy, in which a large population of them may have cannabis recommended to them as an alternative medicine.  If marijuana was taxed, the government would greatly benefit from both insurance companies and patients that cover marijuana under their practice of medicine.


Medical marijuana has a positive effect on both patients and the economy.  Nausea, one of the many symptoms that marijuana helps, also has a correlating positive effect on our economy.  It is an unfortunate situation, but the fact that over a million patients are diagnosed with cancer leads to the rise of medical marijuana.  These patients can use medical marijuana to help their nausea, as well as help improve our economic condition. 



Joy al (1999) Eds. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base.

Washington, DC: Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Health, Institute of Medicine.