A Survey of Cannabis Use among Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are chronic conditions of unknown cause or cure. Treatment seeks to reduce symptoms and induce and maintain remission. Many patients have turned to alternatives, such as cannabis, to alleviate living with IBD. This study reports the demographics, prevalence, and perception on cannabis use of patients attending an IBD clinic. Patients agreed to participate and completed an anonymous survey during their visit or online. Descriptive analysis, Fisher’s exact test, and Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney rank-sum test were used. One hundred and sixty-two adults (85 males, 77 with CD) completed the survey. Sixty (37%) reported use of cannabis, of which 38 (63%) used it to relieve their IBD. A value of 77% reported low to moderate knowledge about cannabis, and 15% reported little to no knowledge. Among cannabis users, 48% had discussed use with their physician, but 88% said they would feel comfortable discussing medical cannabis for IBD. Most saw improvement of their symptoms (85.7%). A considerable number of patients with IBD use medical cannabis for their disease, unknown to their physician. The study reinforces the importance that physicians understand the role of cannabis in the treatment of IBD in order to appropriately counsel patients.


Keywords:

cannabis; inflammatory bowel disease; medical marijuana.

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