The 5-HT3 antagonist, ondansetron (OND), and the cannabinoid, delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta9-THC), have been shown to interfere with emesis; however, their relative and/or combined effectiveness in suppressing vomiting produced by the chemotherapeutic agent, cisplatin, is unknown.
To evaluate the potential of: 1) a broad range of doses of delta9-THC and OND to prevent cisplatin-induced vomiting and retching in the Suncus murinus (house musk shrew), 2) combined treatment with ineffective individual doses of delta9-THC and OND to prevent cisplatin-induced vomiting and retching, 3) the CB1 receptor antagonist, SR141716, to reverse the antiemetic effects of OND, and 4) cannabidiol (CBD), the principal non-psychoactive component of marijuana, to reverse cisplatin-induced vomiting in the shrew.
Shrews were injected with various doses of OND (0.02-6.0 mg/kg), delta9-THC (1.25-10 mg/kg) and a combination of ineffective doses of each (0.02 mg/kg OND+1.25 mg/kg delta9-THC) prior to being injected with cisplatin (20 mg/kg) which induces vomiting. Shrews were also injected with CBD (5 mg/kg and 40 mg/kg) prior to an injection of cisplatin.
OND and delta9-THC both dose-dependently suppressed cisplatin-induced vomiting and retching. Furthermore, a combined pretreatment of doses of the two drugs that were ineffective alone completely suppressed vomiting and retching. CBD produced a biphasic effect, suppressing vomiting at 5 mg/kg and potentiating it at 40 mg/kg.
A low dose of the non-intoxicating cannabinoid CBD may be an effective anti-emetic treatment and combined doses of OND and delta9-THC that are ineffective alone suppresses cisplatin-induced emetic reactions in shrews.