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68% of IBD patients saw improvements with cannabis – study

Although the study highlighted that a large percentage did not discuss their usage with their doctor or specialist.



IBD: A woman holding her stomach in pain from IBD

A study revealed that more than a quarter of patients who were diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) use cannabis therapeutically.

The researchers associated with the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine studied IBD patients about their use of medical cannabis. Medical cannabis was made legal in Puerto Rico in 2017 for certain conditions including inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s.

IBD usually describes two different conditions, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. They are both long term conditions that cause inflammation of the stomach. Ulcerative colitis usually affects the colon while Crohn’s can affect any part of the digestive system. Symptoms can include pain, cramps or swelling in the stomach, extreme fatigue and weight loss. It can a painful condition that interferes with a person’s daily life.

IBD is thought to affect 300,000 people in the UK, which is roughly equal to one in every 210 people.

IBD study results

The researchers took one hundred patients who were 21 or older and had a confirmed diagnosis of IBD. They were then asked to fill in a questionnaire about their cannabis use.

The results revealed that 27 per cent of the participants confirmed they used cannabis for medical purposes with the majority at 68 per cent saying it improved their symptoms. The results also showed that 78 per cent did not discuss their cannabis use with their doctor. A further 53 per cent reported little to no prior knowledge of medical cannabis.

Authors wrote: “Cannabis is frequently considered by patients as a treatment option for IBD but most have limited knowledge about its use. The low number of patients that discuss cannabis use with their physician suggests the need for physician awareness of unreported use.

It should also lead to the development of strategies for patient orientation regarding the uses, properties, and expectations of cannabis as a therapy.”

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