In a small study, participants with Crohn’s disease saw symptoms dissipate after they began using cannabis oil.
It’s a painful, sometimes debilitating condition affecting millions of people in the United States.
But can cannabis oil provide relief for people with Crohn’s disease? A recent Israeli study suggests it can.
“Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is characterized by inflammation and can affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, but most commonly the small intestine,” explained Dr. Timna Naftali, the study’s lead researcher and a specialist in gastroenterology at Meir Hospital and Kupat Holim Clinic in Tel Aviv, Israel.
The symptoms include:
“Medications are often prescribed with the aim to control the inflammation. These commonly include antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, aminosalicylates (a type of anti-inflammatory drug), steroids, immune modifiers, or biologic therapies,” Naftali told Healthline.
In the first of its kind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, researchers found that cannabis produced clinical remission in more than half of patients after eight weeks of treatment.
Researchers recruited 46 people experiencing moderately severe Crohn’s disease for the study.
The severity of the participant’s symptoms and their quality of life was measured before, during, and after treatment.
Gut inflammation was checked using an endoscope and by checking markers of inflammation present in blood and stool samples.
Some received a placebo while others were given cannabis oil containing 15 percent cannabidiol and 4 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both are naturally occurring substances in cannabis oil.
The research was presented at the United European Gastroenterology conference held this week.
The study hasn’t been published yet in a peer-reviewed journal.
Naftali acknowledged the study had a small number of participants and said that “moving forward, larger and longer studies are required.”