Clinical Trial: Cannabis Oil Capsules Provide Weight Gain in Patients with Advanced Cancer

Haifa, Israel:  The twice-daily intake of capsules containing plant-derived oil extracts of THC and CBD is associated with weight gain in patients with cancer-related cachexia and anorexia, according to clinical trial data published in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies.

Israeli investigators assessed the use of high-THC/low-CBD capsules in patients with advanced-stage cancer for six months. Among the subjects who completed the trial, half showed a weight increase of greater than 10 percent. Cannabis treatment was also associated with increased appetite and improved mood, as well as a reduction in pain and fatigue. Researchers identified some degree of tumor necrosis associated with cannabis treatment, but this improvement did not meet statistical significance. Several subjects dropped out of the study before its completion.

"The results justify a larger study with dosage-controlled cannabis capsules in CACS (cancer-related cachexia and anorexia syndrome)," authors concluded.

Synthetic THC encapsulated in sesame seed oil (aka dronabinol) is already FDA-approved in the United States for the treatment of anorexia in patients with AIDS. It is also approved as a treatment to offset chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director. Full text of the study, "Effects of dosage-controlled cannabis capsules on cancer-related cachexia and anorexia syndrome in advanced cancer patients: Pilot study," appears in Integrative Cancer Therapies.