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Eur J Pharmacol. 2014 Jan 5;722:134-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.09.068. Epub 2013 Nov 1.

Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system.

Author information

1
Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 4N1. Electronic address: ksharkey@ucalgary.ca.
2
Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.

Abstract

Nausea and vomiting (emesis) are important elements in defensive or protective responses that animals use to avoid ingestion or digestion of potentially harmful substances. However, these neurally-mediated responses are at times manifested as symptoms of disease and they are frequently observed as side-effects of a variety of medications, notably those used to treat cancer. Cannabis has long been known to limit or prevent nausea and vomiting from a variety of causes. This has led to extensive investigations that have revealed an important role for cannabinoids and their receptors in the regulation of nausea and emesis. With the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, novel ways to regulate both nausea and vomiting have been discovered that involve the production of endogenous cannabinoids acting centrally. Here we review recent progress in understanding the regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, and we discuss the potential to utilize the endocannabinoid system in the treatment of these frequently debilitating conditions.

KEYWORDS:

Brainstem; CB(1) receptor; CB(2) receptor; Cannabis; Emesis; Insular cortex; Serotonin

PMID:
24184696
PMCID:
PMC3883513
DOI:
10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.09.068
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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