Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy have had access to FDA-approved synthetic THC pills to combat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, a common side effect of the treatment. These pills commonly referred to and sold as Marinol and Cesamet have been available for over 20 years now, but a study shows that many patients prefer medical marijuana for four commonly cited reasons.
- Advantages of self-titration with the smoked marijuana
- Unable to swallow pills while experiencing nausea
- Faster onset for the inhaled or injected THC than oral delivery.
- A combination of the action of other cannabinoids with THC that are found in marijuana.
Let’s skip to point two. The debate for oral synthetic THC vs. smoked marijuana has been the topic of discussion for years. In a 1999 report from the Institute of Medicine, they noted that patients who are already dealing with extreme and severe symptoms of nausea and vomiting find the pill to be ineffective because of the inability to swallow or keep the pill down.
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Essentially, trying to swallow a pill when you already feel sick runs the risk of regurgitation.
Now to point three. A study from the American Cancer Society shows that the THC pill takes hours to absorb fully, thus taking too long to provide immediate and, sometimes, desperate relief. When cannabis is smoked or vaporized, THC enters the bloodstream faster, reacts with your body’s cell receptors quickly and triggers the brain to settle and calm your stomach, in minutes.
The ACS study also shows that ingesting a pill means that it travels through your digestive tract and broken down by the liver, proving this process less effective for battling an upset stomach.
Finally, A 2015 study from the United Patient’s Group concluded that “inhaled marijuana achieves superior results in reducing nausea and vomiting” because the body is able to absorb it more quickly since it’s similar to the cannabinoids the body already produces.
So while we may have not fully put the synthetic vs. natural marijuana debate to rest, we can at least provide with you some convincing arguments and facts in favor of the latter. You be the judge.