Study: IBS Patients with a History of Cannabis Use Have Fewer Hospitalization Costs

Chicago, IL: Cannabis use is associated with a decrease in inpatient healthcare utilization in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to data published in the journal Cureus.

A team of investigators affiliated with the Rush University Medical School and the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago assessed health care utilization and costs among hospitalized patients with IBS over a four-year period.

They reported that IBS patients with a history of cannabis use were less likely than non-users to undergo endoscopic procedures, averaged shorter lengths of stay, and averaged lower costs associated with their hospitalization.

“Our study is the first nationwide cohort study to evaluate the association between cannabis use and healthcare utilization in patients with IBS,” authors concluded. “Our study provides evidence to suggest that cannabis use may decrease healthcare utilization and costs among hospitalized patients with IBS. These findings are likely attributable to the effects of cannabis’ active compound, THC, on gastrointestinal motility and colonic compliance.”

Survey data of patients with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis frequently report using cannabis therapeutically for symptom control.

Full text of the study, “Association between cannabis use and healthcare utilization in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: A retrospective cohort study,” appears in Cureus. Additional information on cannabinoids and gastrointestinal disorders is available from NORML.