Medical cannabis has shown promise in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to a report by MedPage Today covering new research unveiled at Digestive Disease Week, which is taking place this week in Washington D.C.

Dr. Mark Silverberg, MD, Ph.D. presented his review of using cannabis to treat IBD and reported that “when you have exhausted other treatments, it isn’t unreasonable” to try medical cannabis, but more research is needed to fully understand the plant’s effects on IBD symptoms.

“It is not clear if cannabis can be used to induce remission in IBD. Further research is warranted to determine if cannabis can be used as an adjunctive therapy to treat symptoms such as nausea, pain, and anorexia.” — Mark Silverberg, MD, PhD, of Sinai Health System in Toronto

Preliminary research has also shown that consuming cannabis for 8 weeks can be helpful for patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), a specific type of IBD.

Dr. Timna Naftali, MD, whose team investigated the use of cannabis to treat UC, said that the control participants of her study — who were consuming two .5 gram cannabis joints per day — reported significant improvements in their Disease Activity Index (DAI) over the placebo group.

“It’s not a magic bullet, but it certainly does have an effect, and I think should be explored further.” — Timna Naftali, MD, of Meir General Hospital and Tel Aviv University in Israel

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