Survey: Half of Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease Report Having Tried Cannabis

Dunedin, New Zealand: Many patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) report using cannabis for symptom relief, according to survey data published in the New Zealand Medical Journal

A team of New Zealand researchers surveyed IBD patients’ use of cannabis and their perspectives about it. Of the 334 respondents, 51 percent reported having had prior experience with cannabis. Among those, just under one-third reported using it for the purpose of reducing their IBD symptoms. Subjects were most likely to report using cannabis to reduce feelings of abdominal pain and cramping, as well as to reduce nausea and to improve appetite. 

Authors concluded, “Overall, our research aligns with previous observational research that reports improvements in symptoms of IBD with cannabis use.”

Last month, data from a randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted in Israel reported that the inhalation of herbal cannabis is associated with clinical improvements and increased quality of life in patients with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. Observational data has similarly shown that cannabis may alleviate symptoms of other IBD-related disorders, like Crohn’s disease

Full text of the study, “Attitudes towards and use of cannabis in New Zealand patients with inflammatory bowel disease: An exploratory study,” appears in the New Zealand Medical Journal. Additional information on cannabinoids and IBD-related disorders is available from NORML.