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Study: Many IBD Patients Report Subjective Relief From Cannabis

Boston, MA: An estimated one-in-six patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) report using cannabis therapeutically, according to survey data published in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.

Researchers assessed survey responses from 292 IBD patients seeking treatment at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Crohn’s and Colitis Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Investigators reported that over half of all respondents possessed first-hand experience with cannabis, and that just over 16 percent had used it to mitigate symptoms of the disease.

“We found that approximately 16.4 percent of patients with IBD cared for at a tertiary referral center have used marijuana to treat their IBD symptoms since their diagnosis,” authors reported. “We found that patients perceive that medical marijuana is helpful for treating abdominal pain, poor appetite, and nausea associated with IBD.”

Authors also reported that at least one-third of IBD patients would consider participating in a clinical trial to objectively assess the plant’s therapeutic efficacy.

Previous surveys from other countries have also reported elevated rates of cannabis use among populations with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s.

According to clinical trial data published earlier this year in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, cannabis inhalation reduces symptoms of Crohn’s disease compared to placebo in patients who have not been responsive to traditional therapies.

Separate observational trial data reports that Crohn’s patients require fewer disease-related surgeries following their use of cannabis.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “Marijuana use patterns among patients with inflammatory bowel disease,” appears in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.