Trial Data Shows Inhaled Marijuana Associated With Improvements in Ulcerative Colitis Patients

Trial Data Shows Inhaled Marijuana Associated With Improvements in Ulcerative Colitis Patients

A new study titled Cannabis is associated with clinical but not endoscopic remission in ulcerative colitis: A randomized controlled trial has found that inhaling herbal marijauna is associated with clinical improvements and increased quality of life in patients with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis (UC). The study was published by the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, and was epublished by the National Institute of Health.

 Cannabis is often used by patients with ulcerative colitis, but controlled studies are few”, states the study’s abstract. With that in minds, researchers “aimed to assess the effect of cannabis in improving clinical and inflammatory outcomes in ulcerative colitis patients.”

 

In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, patients received either cigarettes containing 0.5 g of dried cannabis flowers with80mgTetrahydrocannabinol (THC)or placebo cigarettes for 8 weeks. Parameters of disease including Lichtiger disease activity index, C reactive protein (CRP), calprotectin, Mayo endoscopic score and quality of life (QOL) were assessed before, during and after treatment.

 

Researchers found that “From a clinical perspective, we found that treatment with cannabis led to a significant reduction in the Lichtiger Disease Activity Index [an 8-item measure designed to assess disease activity in patients with ulcerative colitis across 8 symptoms] and improvement in major IBD-related clinical symptoms including abdominal pain and number of bowel movements per day. We also observed a significant improvement in quality of life, general health, appetite, libido, concentration, and patient satisfaction with the treatment.”

 

They ended the study by stating: “This study demonstrates that treatment with THC-rich cannabis in patients with mild to moderate UC is associated with clinical improvement. … This preliminary observation requires additional investigation in larger and longer intervention clinical studies. Such studies will enable us to determine whether cannabis has mainly a symptom relieving role or a more specific anti-inflammatory therapeutic effect.”

 

 

The study’s full abstract:

 

Background

 

Cannabis is often used by patients with ulcerative colitis, but controlled studies are few. We aimed to assess the effect of cannabis in improving clinical and inflammatory outcomes in ulcerative colitis patients.

 

Methods

 

In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, patients received either cigarettes containing 0.5 g of dried cannabis flowers with80mgTetrahydrocannabinol (THC)or placebo cigarettes for 8 weeks. Parameters of disease including Lichtiger disease activity index, C reactive protein (CRP), calprotectin, Mayo endoscopic score and quality of life (QOL) were assessed before, during and after treatment.

 

Results

 

The study included 32 patients. Mean age was 30 years, 14 (43%) females. Lichtiger index improved in the cannabis group from 10.9 (IQR 9-14) to5 (IQR 1-7), (p<0.000), and in the placebo group from 11 (IQR 9-13) to 8 (IQR 7-10)(p = 0.15, p between groups 0.001). QOL improved in the cannabis group from 77±4 to 98±20 (p = 0.000) but not in the placebo group (78±3 at week 0 and 78±17 at week 8;p = 0.459; p between groups 0.007). Mayo endoscopic score changed in the cannabis group from 2.13±1 to 1.25±2 (p = 0.015) and in the placebo group from 2.15±1to 1.69±1 (p = 0.367, p between groups 0.17).

 

Conclusion

 

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 for inflammation.(clinicaltrials.gov NCT01040910).

 

Conflict of interest statement

 

We declared the following potential competing interests:- Author Lihi Bar Lev Schlieder is an employee of Tikun Olam, A cannabis manufacturing company, The cannabis used in the study was supplied by Tikun Olam All other authors have no conflicts to declare. F.M.K. was supported, in part, by the Josefina Maus and Gabriela Cesarman Chair for Research in Liver Diseases, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. This does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

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