Transdermal Delivery of Cannabinoids for Treatment of Cancer Patients

  • Stinchcomb, Audra (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Cannabinoids (active ingredients in marijuana) have been shown to be useful in the treatment of some cancer patients. The main current therapeutic use for cannabinoids is in the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. Cannabinoid treatments have also significantly reduced pain and improved the quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, spasticity, cancer, and chronic neuropathic pain. Another important therapeutic use for a cannabinoid treatment in patients is appetite stimulation. in AIDS and cancer weight-loss, and general anorexia as well. Dronabinol (Marinol) is a cannabinoid in capsule form that some cancer chemotherapy patients take to get relief from nausea and vomiting side effects. However, severely nauseated patients may not be able to keep the capsules in their stomachs long enough for the drug to take effect. At this time, the only practical cannabinoid dosage form available in the United States is the dronabinol capsule. This research project wil1 help to determine the feasibility of making a cannabinoid transdermal patch and "rescue" nasal spray. A "rescue" nasal spray wil1 al10w patients to titrate their own cannabinoid dose during patch therapy, by al10wing smal1 doses of drug to be absorbed quickly and squelch any severe nausea or pain bouts. A cannabinoid patch that would be worn for several days would be an ideal way for a cancer patient to receive his/her anti-nausea medication during chemotherapy treatment. Transdermal cannabinoid patches should reduce the side effects (dizziness, drowsiness, panic attacks) associated with other types of cannabinoid treatments, because they reduce the high drug level peaks that occur with smoking and oral doses. Patches and nasal sprays are painless and convenient to use as well. Many cancer patients can benefit from an alternative drug, like a cannabinoid, when traditional therapies fail. Society frowns on the smoking of marijuana cigarettes for medical treatment, not to mention the fact that smoking anything is extremely unhealthy. A transdermal patch/nasal spray combination that contains the active marijuana ingredients that some cancer patients need to get relief from chronic pain, lack of appetite, or nausea would be a great improvement in cancer patient care.
Effective start/end date7/1/046/30/09


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