, Volume 174, Issue 2, pp 254–259

A comparative analysis of the potential of cannabinoids and ondansetron to suppress cisplatin-induced emesis in the Suncus murinus (house musk shrew)

  • Magdalena Kwiatkowska
  • Linda A. Parker
  • Page Burton
  • Raphael Mechoulam
Original Investigation

DOI: 10.1007/s00213-003-1739-9

Cite this article as:
Kwiatkowska, M., Parker, L.A., Burton, P. et al. Psychopharmacology (2004) 174: 254. doi:10.1007/s00213-003-1739-9



The 5-HT3 antagonist, ondansetron (OND), and the cannabinoid, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-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 Δ9-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 Δ9-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), Δ9-THC (1.25–10 mg/kg) and a combination of ineffective doses of each (0.02 mg/kg OND+1.25 mg/kg Δ9-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 Δ9-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 Δ9-THC that are ineffective alone suppresses cisplatin-induced emetic reactions in shrews.


Vomiting Chemotherapy Serotonin Retching Nausea Anandamide Δ -THC Tetrahydrocannabinol Cannabidiol Ondansetron Cancer 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magdalena Kwiatkowska
    • 1
  • Linda A. Parker
    • 1
  • Page Burton
    • 1
  • Raphael Mechoulam
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products, Faculty of MedicineThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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