Cannabis and cancer chemotherapy. A comparison of oral delta‐9‐thc and prochlorperazine

J. Thomas, Therese Andrysiak, Lynn Fairbanks, James Goodnight, Gregory Sarna, Kay Jamison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Delta‐9‐tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and prochlorperazine (Compazine) were found to be equally efficacious in reducing nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy across a wide range of chemotherapeutic regimens and tumor types. Both drugs were administered orally one hour before chemotherapy, then every four hours for a total of four doses. Compazine was administered in a fixed dose of 10 mg; THC was administered by body surface area (BSA): BSA < 1.4 m2 = 7.5 mg; BSA 1.4‐1.8 m2 = 10 mg; and BSA > 1.8 m2 = 12.5 mg. Two hundred and fourteen subjects (75% of whom had previously received Compazine with varying results) were evaluated employing a double‐blind, crossover design. Additional parameters evaluated were study drug effects on appetite, food intake, mood, activity, relaxation, interaction, and concentration. There were significant drug effects with THC: less ability to concentrate (P < 0.01), less social interaction (P < 0.05), and less activity (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences between the two drugs in the level of food intake or appetite. Patients of all ages did equally well on both drugs. Neither past marijuana use nor past Compazine use were related to study drug efficacy. Those patients who correctly identified their THC cycle did better on THC versus those who could not correctly identify which antiemetic they had received (P < 0.05). There were more drug‐related effects associated with THC, but these did not reduce the patients' preference for the drug, and were associated with nausea reduction (P < 0.05).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)636-645
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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