Q:

What are the medicinal uses for THC pills?

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Quick Answer

THC pills are used to manage nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy and to treat loss of appetite and weight loss in patients with HIV, states WebMD. THC pills contain a synthetic version of tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the active natural ingredient in marijuana.

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THC pills are usually prescribed to cancer patients when other drugs to control nausea and vomiting don’t work, notes WebMD. Possible side effects of THC pills include drowsiness, dizziness and mood changes. The risk of dizziness can be reduced by getting up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. More serious side effects include fainting, pounding heartbeat, anxiety and paranoia.

While severe allergic reactions to THC pills are rare, symptoms include rash, itching, swelling of the face, tongue or throat, and trouble breathing. Seek immediate medical attention if such symptoms occur.

Withdrawal symptoms including irritability, restlessness and hot flashes may occur if use of the medication suddenly stops. A gradual reduction in dose can prevent withdrawal reactions.

As of 2015, commercially available TCH pills include Marinol, dronabinol, Cesamet and Sativex, notes Mayo Clinic. Cannabis-based products such as Sativex are also used to treat different types of pain. Sativex is approved in Canada and some parts of Europe and is being studied in the United States to treat pain from cancer and multiple sclerosis.

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