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Study: Crohn's Patients Who Use Cannabis Report Fewer Surgeries, Are Less Likely To Use Prescription Drugs

Thursday, 22 September 2011

"All patients stated that consuming cannabis had a positive effect on their disease activity"

Tel Aviv, Israel: Cannabis use is associated with a reduction in Crohn's disease (CD) activity and disease-related surgeries, according to the results of a retrospective observational study published in the August issue of the Journal of the Israeli Medical Association.

Investigators at the Meir Medical Center, Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology assessed 'disease activity, use of medication, need for surgery, and hospitalization' before and after cannabis use in 30 patients with CD.

Authors reported, "All patients stated that consuming cannabis had a positive effect on their disease activity" and documented "significant improvement" in 21 subjects.

Specifically, researchers found that subjects who consumed cannabis "significantly reduced" their need for other medications. Participants in the trial also reported requiring fewer surgeries following their use of cannabis.

"Fifteen of the patients had 19 surgeries during an average period of nine years before cannabis use, but only two required surgery during an average period of three years of cannabis use," authors reported.

They concluded: "The results indicate that cannabis may have a positive effect on disease activity, as reflected by a reduction in disease activity index and in the need for other drugs and surgery. Prospective placebo-controlled studies are warranted to fully evaluate the efficacy and side effects of cannabis in CD."

Researchers at the Meir Medical Center are presently evaluating the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis for patients with CD and Ulcerative Colitis in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases. According to survey data published earlier this year in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, an estimated one-third of patients with colitis and one-half of subjects with CD acknowledge having used cannabis to mitigate their disease symptoms.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, "Treatment of Crohn's disease with cannabis: an observational study," appears in the Journal of the Israeli Medical Association. The study also appears online here: http://www.ima.org.il/imaj/ar11aug-01.pdf.





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