Clinical Trial: Cannabis Inhalation Associated with Clinical in Patients with Ulcerative Colitis

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The inhalation of herbal cannabis is associated with clinical improvements and increased quality of life in patients with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis (UC), according to randomized, placebo-controlled trial data published in the journal PLoS ONE.

Israeli researchers compared herbal cannabis versus placebo over an 8-week period in 32 patients with UC. Twice daily, participants inhaled cannabis cigarettes containing either 16 percent THC or virtually no THC (placebo) in additional to their standard medications.

Researchers reported: “From a clinical perspective, we found that treatment with cannabis led to a significant reduction in the Lichtiger Disease Activity Index [an 8-item measure designed to assess disease activity in patients with ulcerative colitis across 8 symptoms] and improvement in major IBD-related clinical symptoms including abdominal pain and number of bowel movements per day. We also observed a significant improvement in quality of life, general health, appetite, libido, concentration, and patient satisfaction with the treatment.”

They concluded: “This study demonstrates that treatment with THC-rich cannabis in patients with mild to moderate UC is associated with clinical improvement. … This preliminary observation requires additional investigation in larger and longer intervention clinical studies. Such studies will enable us to determine whether cannabis has mainly a symptom relieving role or a more specific anti-inflammatory therapeutic effect.”

Survey data indicate that cannabis use is relatively common among patients with inflammatory bowel diseases and observational data has previously shown that cannabis may alleviate symptoms of certain IBD-related disorders, like Crohns.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis is associated with clinical but not endoscopic remission in ulcerative colitis: A randomized controlled trial,” appears online here. Additional information on cannabinoids and IBD-related disorders is available from NORML here.

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