Study: Inhaled Cannabis Reduces Crohn's Symptoms

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Study: Inhaled Cannabis Reduces Crohn's SymptomsTel Aviv, Israel: Inhaling cannabis reduces symptoms of Crohn's disease compared to placebo in patients who have not been responsive to traditional therapies, according to clinical trial data published online in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Researchers at the Meir Medical Center, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Israel assessed the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis versus placebo in 21 subjects with Crohn's disease who failed to respond to conventional treatments.

Eleven participants smoked standardized cannabis cigarettes containing 23 percent THC and 0.5 percent CBD (cannabidiol) twice daily over a period of eight weeks. The other ten subjects smoked placebo cigarettes containing no active cannabinoids.

Investigators reported, "Our data show that 8-weeks treatment with THC-rich cannabis, but not placebo, was associated with a significant decrease of 100 points in CDAI (Crohn's Disease and activity index) scores." Five of the eleven patients in the study group also reported achieving disease remission (defined as a reduction in patient's CDAI score by more than 150 points).

Researchers reported that "no significant side effects" were associated with cannabis inhalation.

The study is the first placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess the consumption of cannabis for the treatment of Crohn's.

Israeli researchers had previously published observational trial data reporting that Crohn's patients require fewer disease-related surgeries following their use of cannabis.

According to survey data published in 2011 in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, some one-half of Crohn's disease patients 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, "Cannabis Induces a Clinical Response in Patients with Crohn's Disease: a Prospective Placebo-Controlled Study," appears online in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.