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Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol may palliate altered chemosensory perception in cancer patients: result

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol may palliate altered chemosensory perception in cancer patients: result

  1. chaos69
    Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol may palliate altered chemosensory perception in cancer patients: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial
    T. D. Brisbois1, I. H. de Kock2, S. M. Watanabe2, M. Mirhosseini2, D. C. Lamoureux2, M. Chasen3, N. MacDonald4, V. E. Baracos2 & W. V. Wismer1*
    1Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science; 2Division of Palliative Care Medicine, Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, Edmonton; 3Division of Palliative Care Medicine, Department of Oncology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa; 4Cancer Nutrition and Rehabilitation Program, Department of Oncology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
    Received 10 August 2010; revised 8 November 2010; accepted 15 November 2010


    Background: A pilot study (NCT00316563) to determine if delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can improve taste and smell (chemosensory) perception as well as appetite, caloric intake, and quality of life (QOL) for cancer patients with chemosensory alterations.
    Patients and methods: Adult advanced cancer patients, with poor appetite and chemosensory alterations, were recruited from two sites and randomized in a double-blinded manner to receive either THC (2.5 mg, Marinol; Solvay Pharma Inc., n = 24) or placebo oral capsules (n = 22) twice daily for 18 days. Twenty-one patients completed the trial. At baseline and posttreatment, patients completed a panel of patient-reported outcomes: Taste and Smell Survey, 3-day food record, appetite and macronutrient preference assessments, QOL questionnaire, and an interview.
    Results: THC and placebo groups were comparable at baseline. Compared with placebo, THC-treated patients reported improved (P = 0.026) and enhanced (P < 0.001) chemosensory perception and food ‘tasted better’ (P = 0.04). Premeal appetite (P = 0.05) and proportion of calories consumed as protein increased compared with placebo (P = 0.008). THC-treated patients reported increased quality of sleep (P = 0.025) and relaxation (P = 0.045). QOL scores and total caloric intake were improved in both THC and placebo groups.
    Conclusions: THC may be useful in the palliation of chemosensory alterations and to improve food enjoyment for
    cancer patients.