HomeNewsMedical Cannabis Use in IBD Patients: New Insights

Medical Cannabis Use in IBD Patients: New Insights

Puerto Rico and USA researchers have shed more light on the use of cannabis medicinally among inflammatory bowel disease patients.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term that encompasses a group of chronic, debilitating conditions such as Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), which affect the gastrointestinal tract.

With no known cure as such, IBD treatments aim to alleviate symptoms and maintain remission, with varying degrees of side effects and success. As the search for effective alternatives continues, some patients have already turned to cannabis for relief. Various research has suggested the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of cannabis may be beneficial for IBD sufferers.

Among the more recent investigations, researchers from the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, Veterans Affairs Caribbean Health System and Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a study to assess the demographics, prevalence, and perceptions of cannabis use among IBD patients attending an IBD clinic.

Participants completed an anonymous survey during their clinic visit. A total of 162 adults participated in the survey, including 85 males – 77 of which had Crohn’s disease. Of these, 60 (37%) reported using cannabis, with 38 (63%) using it to alleviate their IBD symptoms. Interestingly, 77% of the respondents reported low to moderate knowledge about cannabis, while 15% claimed little to no knowledge.

Nearly half (48%) of the cannabis users had discussed their use with their physicians. However, a significant 88% of respondents said they would feel comfortable discussing medical cannabis as a treatment option for IBD. Among those who used cannabis to treat their symptoms, a substantial 85.7% reported improvement in their condition.

The results of this study highlight the importance of physicians being aware of the potential role of cannabis in IBD treatment. As a considerable number of patients are using it, often without their physician’s knowledge, it is vital that medical professionals understand the potential benefits and risks of cannabis use for IBD management. This understanding will enable them to offer appropriate guidance and counseling to their patients.

The full study report, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, can be found here.

Here in Australia, a survey a few years ago found a quarter of Australians with inflammatory bowel disease had used medicinal cannabis to ease their symptoms.

Gillian Jalimnson
Gillian Jalimnson is one of Hemp Gazette's staff writers and has been with us since we kicked off in 2015. Gillian sees massive potential for cannabis in areas of health, energy, building and personal care products and is intrigued by the potential for cannabidiol (CBD) as an alternative to conventional treatments. You can contact Gillian here.

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