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Study: Cannabis linked to clinical improvements in ulcerative colitis



According to the report, cannabis led to an improvement in symptoms of ulcerative colitis

The inhalation of cannabis has been associated with clinical improvements and increased quality of life in patients with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis (UC).

In a randomised, placebo-controlled trial, researchers in Israel compared the effects of cannabis flower, versus a placebo over an eight-week period in 32 patients with UC.

Twice daily, participants inhaled cannabis cigarettes containing either 16 percent THC or virtually no THC (placebo) in addition to their standard medications.

The findings, published in the journal PLoS ONE, reported that treatment with cannabis led to a “significant reduction” in disease activity and improvement in symptoms, including abdominal pain and number of bowel movements per day.

They also observed a “significant improvement” in quality of life, general health, appetite, libido, concentration, and patient satisfaction with the treatment.

Lead researcher, Dr Timna Naftali, gastroenterologist at the University of Tel Aviv, concluded: “This study demonstrates that treatment with THC-rich cannabis in patients with mild to moderate UC is associated with clinical improvement… However, these beneficial clinical effects were not associated with “significant anti-inflammatory improvement” in the Mayo endoscopic score or laboratory markers for inflammation.

She added: “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 indicates 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, such as Crohns.

Dr Naftali, was the first person to explore the effect of medicinal cannabis on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and has studied its impact on both Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis patients.

Speaking to Cannabis Health last year, she reported that of 50 Crohn’s disease patients, those who received medical cannabis – of a ratio of four to one CBD and THC – saw their symptoms improve over a period of eight weeks.

Patients reported less diarrhea, reduced abdominal pain, an increase in their appetite and an overall better quality of life.

While she saw no clinical improvement in the disease, Dr Naftali told Cannabis Health at the time that she believed the plant does have the potential to reduce inflammation.

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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