Survey: IBD Patients Frequently Report Using Medical Cannabis for Symptom Relief

San Juan, Puerto Rico: Nearly one in four patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (e.g., ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease) report using medical cannabis, according to survey data published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

A team of investigators from Puerto Rico and the United States surveyed 162 IBD patients regarding their attitudes toward cannabis. 

Twenty-three percent of respondents said that they consumed cannabis products specifically to address symptoms of IBD, such as pain, decreased appetite, insomnia, and anxiety. Over 85 percent of respondents who consumed cannabis for therapeutic purposes said that it improved their symptoms. 

The findings are consistent with those of other surveys showing that a significant percentage of IBD patients acknowledged using cannabis and gaining relief from it. 

“The use of medical cannabis to relieve symptoms is frequent in patients with IBD, although knowledge about cannabis among patients and physicians is limited,” the study’s authors concluded. “Our study supports the need for more investigation in this area, as well as an increase in educational programs for patients and physicians.”

Observational trials have previously documented that cannabis use by IBD patients is associated with fewer ER visits. In a randomized placebo-controlled trial involving 21 patients with refractory Crohn’s disease, nearly half achieved disease remission following their use of herbal cannabis.

Full text of the study, “A survey of cannabis use among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) appears in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Additional information on the use of cannabis for IBD is available from NORML’s publicationClinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids.

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