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J Support Oncol. 2004 Jul-Aug;2(4):305-14; discussion 314-6.

Mechanism of action of cannabinoids: how it may lead to treatment of cachexia, emesis, and pain.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia campus, Richmond 23298-0613, USA.


Many patients with life-threatening diseases such as cancer experience severe symptoms that compromise their health status and deny them quality of life. Patients with cancer often experience cachexia, pain, and depression,which translate into an unacceptable quality of life. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has led to a renewed interest in the use of cannabinoids for the management of nausea, vomiting, and weight loss arising either from cancer or the agents used to treat cancer. The endocannabinoid system has been found to be a key modulator of systems involved in pain perception, emesis, and reward pathways. As such, it represents a target for development of new medications for controlling the symptoms associated with cancer. Although the cannabinoid receptor agonist tetrahydrocannabinol and one of its analogs are currently the only agents approved for clinical use, efforts are under way to devise other strategies for activating the endocannabinoid system for therapeutic uses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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