Cannabis Offers Relief for Patients with Bowel Problems
Interest in medical marijuana among patients with various bowel disorders is on the rise, according to an article published by David Wild in Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News. Wild references a 2014 study that shows “between 16% and 50% of IBD [Inflammatory Bowel Disease] patients report using cannabis to control their symptoms, and the majority claim the drug is ‘very helpful’ (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2014;20:472-480).” Many patients with Crohn’s disease have also expressed interest in exploring cannabis to treat symptoms. Patients considering medical marijuana treatments should be aware of possible side effects and risks, including a potential increased risk of needing surgery for IBD patients. While anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that cannabis can be very helpful in mitigating symptoms in patients, Gil Melmed, MD, director of the clinical IBD program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, urges caution because there is not yet any hard evidence that cannabis therapy is useful in treating the diseases themselves.