Cannabis is associated with clinical but not endoscopic remission in ulcerative colitis
New study from Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba found that cannabis use in people with inflammatory bowel disease resulted in pain relief, reduced drug use and increased appetite and sexual desire. Surprising statistic: In fact, the placebo group reported memory impairment.
Cannabis is often used by patients with ulcerative colitis, but controlled studies are rare. We aimed to assess the effect of cannabis on improving clinical and inflammatory outcomes in patients with ulcerative colitis.
In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, patients were given cigarettes containing 0,5 g of dried cannabis flowers with 80 mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or placebo cigarettes for 8 weeks. Disease parameters including Lichtiger's disease activity index, C reactive protein (CRP), calprotectin, Mayo endoscopic score, and quality of life (QOL) were assessed before, during, and after treatment.
In the study, published last week in the prestigious PLOS ONE scientific journal , the subjects used the Erez strain, one of the oldest strains in the Tikun Olam strain catalog, as well as one of the first in the legal cannabis industry in and around Israel. the world.
One of the interesting data seen in the study concerns reports of increased libido in users. A surprising finding is that the subjects who received a placebo (placebo) were the ones who reported memory impairment, while among those who received real cannabis, 0% reported such impairment.
Adverse effects of cannabis use according to the study were: 41% of those who received real cannabis who reported coughing, versus 20% in the placebo group. Likewise, 35% reported dizziness vs. 6% in placebo and 29% reported confusion vs. 6% in placebo.
In terms of positive effects: 82% of those who received real cannabis reported a good general feeling of health, compared to 6,7% in the placebo group. In addition, about 54% reported improvement in disease severity, about 62% reported improvement in bowel activity, and about 27% reported improvement in quality of life, compared to the placebo group who did not. 'reported almost no change.
The other major effects of cannabis use reported by the subjects were improvement in appetite, concentration and a positive feeling about the treatment, as well as an increase in the feeling of libido (sexual desire) and relief. pain. Other parameters such as mood, sleep, daily functioning and more, remained relatively unchanged.
As in many other studies, it was found that subjects who used cannabis had a significant decrease in drug use, in this case with the usual medications for the colitis treatment such as the drug "Salsin" and other antibiotics, steroids, and more.
The colonoscopy itself, which was performed before and after the treatment, revealed a significant improvement in the severity of the disease and some of the treated patients even achieved remission, but the difference between the two groups was not significant. .
In the study, 32 patients with an average age of 30 received treatment for 8 weeks with cigarettes containing half a gram of cannabis inflorescence crushed with 80 mg of THC. The placebo group received cigarettes with no THC at all.
The study (double-blind, placebo-controlled) was conducted by Dr Timna Naftali and the Gastroenterology Department at Meir Medical Center and by Tikkun Olam-Kanbit principal investigator Lehi Bar-Lev Schleider in patients with of colitis between the ages of 26 and 40.
Colitis, such as Crohn's disease, which is on the list of contraindications to a medical cannabis license, is an intestinal disease in which treatment is not always successful and in which about 40% of patients may not respond to existing treatment or lose a response, of where the need to find additional or complementary treatments. The disease starts in the colon and is accompanied by pain and bleeding that can lead to weakness and fatigue.
According to data from the Association for the Support of Patients with Crohn's Disease and Colitis, there are currently around 50 patients with chronic bowel disease in Israel, including around 000 children and around 2 million patients. in the world. The disease generally represents a significant personal, social and economic burden due to its impact on quality of life and daily functioning.
Despite the development of many new treatments in recent years, there is still a large percentage of patients who do not respond or partially respond to these treatments, which is why many patients seek alternative or complementary treatment, and many consume cannabis. to relieve symptoms.
Dr Timna Naftali, Gastroenterology Specialist, Meir Hospital: “Once again, the treatment of medical cannabis for gastro patients has been shown to be effective, although it is not a cure for the disease, but the data are certainly encouraging. "Patients with colitis mainly suffer from abdominal pain which can interfere with their daily functioning and our research has shown that medical cannabis from the 'Erez' strain significantly alleviates symptoms associated with the disease as well as reduced consumption of drugs.
Lehi Bar-Lev Schleider, Chief Researcher at World Cannabis Correction: “For many years we have witnessed the effectiveness of treating intestinal illnesses with medical cannabis, intestinal illnesses are among the earliest recognized indications. for the processing of medical cannabis by the Ministry of Health. This is our 16th clinical study in the process of being published, this study shows the safety and therapeutic efficacy of the 'Erez' strain in the symptomatic relief of intestinal diseases whose conventional treatment has many side effects.
Avinoam Sapir, CEO of Tikun Olam-Cannabit: “This clinical study, along with our other clinical studies, is our greatest asset in the treatment of medical cannabis. All colitis drugs are largely funded for the patient as part of the drug basket, and it is time for the state to recognize medical cannabis as a drug and fund it for the patients it has dispensed. licenses. “Today, patients pay with their money, this is not a situation that we are ready to accept, we are working to change that and invite anyone who has a problem to join us. "
Short-term treatment with THC-rich cannabis induced clinical remission and improved quality of life in patients with mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis. However, these beneficial clinical effects were not associated with significant anti-inflammatory improvement in the Mayo endoscopic score or laboratory markers of inflammation (Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01040910).