Marijuana Reduces Symptoms of Gastroparesis, States Study

Marijuana use significantly reduces symptoms in those with refractory gastroparesis. This is according to a new study published in the journal Cureus and titled “Impact of cannabinoids on symptoms of refractory gastroparesis: A single-center experience”. Gastroparesis is a stomach condition: It’s often associated with abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, heartburn and vomiting.

marijuana terminology

For the study researchers evaluated the effects of cannabinoids on disease symptoms in 24 patients with treatment-resistant gastroparesis. As noted by NORML, Patients in the study utilized either herbal cannabis or oral THC (dronabinol) for at least 60 days.

Researchers reported, “[C]annabinoids dramatically, and significantly, improve[d] all symptoms of gastroparesis. … When compared directly, marijuana was superior [to dronabinol] in improving overall symptoms.”

They concluded: “[C]annabinoids dramatically improve refractory gastroparesis symptoms, including abdominal pain. Marijuana may be superior to dronabinol in improving these symptoms, though both cannabinoids seem to be promising as novel therapeutic options in gastroparesis. … This role in pain management represents a breakthrough for gastroparesis-associated abdominal pain treatment, for which there are currently no validated therapies.”

The study’s full abstract:

Background and aims

Cannabinoids are increasingly used for medicinal purposes, including neuropathy. Gastroparesis is a neuromuscular disorder and neuropathy plays a large role in its pathogenesis. It is thus reasonable that cannabinoids can serve a beneficial role in the management of gastroparesis. Our study evaluates the effect of cannabinoids on gastroparesis symptoms.

Methods

Twenty-four (n=24) patients with gastroparesis and refractory symptoms were selected from a single gastroenterology practice associated with a tertiary care medical center. The ‘Gastroparesis Cardinal Symptom Index’ (GCSI) and an analog scale rating abdominal pain were applied to prospectively assess the effect of cannabinoids, in the form of dronabinol and medical cannabis, on refractory gastroparesis symptoms. Patients completed a GCSI form and rated their abdominal pain, before and after treatment. There was a minimum of 60 days of cannabinoid use between reporting intervals. Total composite GCSI symptom scores, GCSI symptom subset scores, and abdominal pain scores were calculated before and after treatment.

Results

A significant improvement in the GCSI total symptom composite score was seen with either cannabinoid treatment (mean score difference of 12.8, 95% confidence interval 10.4-15.2; p-value < 0. 001). Patients prescribed marijuana experienced a statistically significant improvement in every GCSI symptom subgroup. Significant improvement in abdominal pain score was also seen with either cannabinoid treatment (mean score difference of 1.6; p-value <0.001).

Conclusions

Cannabinoids dramatically improve the symptoms of gastroparesis. Furthermore, an improvement in abdominal pain with cannabinoids represents a breakthrough for gastroparesis-associated abdominal pain treatment, for which there are currently no validated therapies.

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