A new study published in The UEG Journal reports that cannabis oil was found safe and effective in improving the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and the quality of life of patients but has no effect on gut inflammation. The findings of the study presented at UEG Week Vienna 2018 suggests that cannabis can produce clinical remission in up to 65% of individuals after 8 weeks of treatment, but this improvement does not appear to result from a dampening down of the underlying inflammatory process.
“Cannabis can produce clinical remission in up to 65% of individuals after 8 weeks of treatment, but that this improvement does not appear to result from a dampening down of the underlying inflammatory process, said lead author Dr. Timna Naftali.
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The researchers included 46 people with moderately severe Crohn’s disease and randomized them to receive 8 weeks of treatment with either cannabis oil containing 15% cannabidiol and 4% tetrahydrocannabinol or placebo. Symptom severity and quality of life were measured before, during, and after treatment using validated research instruments. Inflammation in the gut was assessed endoscopically and by measuring inflammatory markers in blood and stool samples.
The key study findings included are:
- After 8 weeks of treatment, the group receiving the cannabis oil had a significant reduction in their Crohn’s disease symptoms compared with the placebo group.
- 65%met strict criteria for clinical remission (versus 35% of the placebo recipients).
- The cannabis group also had significant improvements in their quality of life compared with the placebo group.
“We have previously demonstrated that cannabis can produce measurable improvements in Crohn’s disease symptoms but, to our surprise, we saw no statistically significant improvements in endoscopic scores or in the inflammatory markers we measured in the cannabis oil group compared with the placebo group,” said Dr. Naftali. “We know that cannabinoids can have profound anti-inflammatory effects but this study indicates that the improvement in symptoms may not be related to these anti-inflammatory properties.”
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Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.
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