Rochester, MN: Cannabinoids reduce stomach cramping and may play a role in moderating various gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, according to clinical trial data presented this week at the 71st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.
Investigators at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota assessed the efficacy of a single dose of dronabinol (synthetic THC) on colonic motility in 52 volunteers participating in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Researchers reported that THC relaxes the colon and eases post-eating contractions and cramping compared to placebo.
Investigators said that these effects were more prominent in women volunteers than men.
"The potential for cannabinoids to modulate colonic motor function in disease deserves a further look," they concluded.
Survey data reported last fall in O'Shaughnessy's: The Journal of Cannabis in Clinical Practice found that Crohn's disease patients experience subjective benefits from cannabis, including pain relief and increased appetite.
Researchers in the United Kingdom also reported last year that cannabinoids promote healing in the gastrointestinal membrane, and may provide therapeutic relief to patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
More recently, investigators from Germany's Johannes Gutenberg University reported this spring in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation that the "endocannabinoid system may represent a new promising therapeutic target against different GI disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases, functional bowel diseases, and secretion and motility disorders."
Gastrointestinal disorders afflict more than one in five Americans, particularly women.
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Additional information on cannabinoids and GI disorders is available in NORML's new report, "Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids," available online at: http://www.norml.org//index.cfm?Group_ID=7002.