How does THC impact the gastro-intestinal system of a patient with IBD?
Cannabis might be a mediator within the gastrointestinal system, affecting inflammation, motility and the secretory response. Also, some cannabinoids increase appetite. A thorough 2021 review article summarized the current research evaluating the relationship between cannabinoid-based medicines and the treatment of IBD. A summary of their highlights include the following: “Patients with IBD often experience pain, nausea, and decreased appetite. As described here, in multiple studies, patients with IBD reported a significant improvement in symptoms and quality of life metrics with the use of cannabis. While initially promising, additional double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have found that even though CBD may improve perceived symptoms, it does not reduce inflammation or address underlying disease activity. These studies failed to demonstrate that when given cannabis, patients with IBD had an improvement in inflammatory markers [including CRP and calprotectin] or mucosal healing on endoscopy compared to patients with IBD in placebo conditions.”