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UK Study Finds Cannabis Associated With Improvements In Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients

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Inflammatory bowel disease is an umbrella health term for two conditions – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both conditions are characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

It is still unknown exactly what causes inflammatory bowel disease, although it is tied in some way to a weakened immune system. Vitamins and supplements can help treat the condition, however, many patients are prescribed any number of pharmaceutical drugs to help treat the condition, many of which resulting in undesirable side effects.

The cannabis plant, and products derived from it, may possess the ability to successfully treat inflammatory bowel disease patients, as demonstrated by a recent study conducted in the United Kingdom. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

London, United Kingdom: The daily administration of cannabis products is associated with symptom improvements in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, according to observational trial data published in the journal Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

British investigators assessed the safety and efficacy of cannabis products in 76 patients diagnosed with either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. The study subjects were participants in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry and each of them possessed a doctor’s authorization to consume cannabis. Study participants consumed either cannabis extracts, THC-dominant flowers, or both for a period of three months.

Authors reported: “Initiation of CBMPs [cannabis-based medicinal products] was associated with an improvement in HRQoL [health-related quality of life] in the short term, with statistically significant improvements in IBD-specific and general HRQoL outcomes at 1 and 3 months after initiating treatment. Participants who previously consumed cannabis had greater improvements in HRQoL and fewer adverse events compared to naïve individuals. These findings highlight the potential utility of CBMPs as an adjunctive therapeutic option in the short term, especially in patients who continue to experience debilitating symptoms despite maximal medical therapy.”

Longitudinal data from Israel has similarly reported that the long-term use of whole-plant cannabis is associated with both symptom improvement and the reduced use of prescription medications in patients with treatment-resistant inflammatory bowel disease.

Subjects enrolled in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry with either post-traumatic stress or depression have also demonstrated symptomatic improvements following cannabis therapy.

Full text of the study, “The effect of medical cannabis on inflammatory bowel disease: Analysis from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry,” appears in Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. Additional information on cannabis and inflammatory bowel disease is available from NORML’s publication, Clinical Applications for Cannabis & Cannabinoids.

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