Medical Cannabis can help treat symptoms of irritable bowel disease, study finds


Medical marijuana users experienced decreased IBD symptoms and fewer visits to the emergency room.

A new study looking into the effects of cannabis on irritable bowel disease (IBD) has revealed some good news: Patients who used marijuana experienced fewer symptoms of IBD than those who didn’t.

IBD encapsulates two conditions: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In the U.S., about 3 million adults are diagnosed with the condition and with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, IBD is a generalized gastrointestinal tract condition that can target any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the intestines.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and examined patients with IBD and their history with cannabis. Researchers conducted an anonymous survey on IBD patients over the age of 18 and made medical marijuana purchases on dispensaries in New York or Minnesota.

Survey questions ranged from the patients’ IBD symptoms to their medical marijuana habits, including their purchase history and adverse side effects.

The results were mostly positive, with the majority of IBD cases ranging from mild to moderate, with the median frequency of medical marijuana use being about once weekly. Most patients preferred to vape cannabis, mainly with high amounts of THC.

The study concluded medical marijuana users experienced decreased IBD symptoms and fewer visits to the emergency room. Medical cannabis seemed to have a positive impact on patients’ lives, lessening their everyday IBD symptoms.

In terms of side effects, the majority of respondents reported feeling euphoric (75.4 per cent) after using cannabis, with only a small minority feeling negative effects, such as drowsiness (4.2 per cent), dry mouth/eyes (3.4 per cent) and anxiety, depression and paranoia (3.4 per cent).

More studies are needed to paint a clearer picture of medical cannabis’s effect on IBD. For now, it appears as though there’s an existing connection, suggesting marijuana can have a positive impact on patients experiencing IBD.


Region: North America