Cannabis could help treat inflammatory bowel diseases which affect millions, first study shows

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Chemicals in cannabis can mimic the signals the body uses to regulate inflammation in the gut and could help treat serious chronic bowel conditions like Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis, scientists have said. Research from the University of Bath said the findings could help explain why some patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) report medical marijuana can help their symptoms. The trials are only in mice at this stage, but could lead to new drug targets for disorders which affect millions of people around the world. Professor Randy Mrsny, from the University of Bath’s Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, said: “We need to be clear that while this is a plausible explanation for why marijuana users have reported cannabis relieves symptoms of IBD, we have only worked in mice and have not proven this experimentally in humans. “However our results may provide a mechanistic explanation for anecdotal data that cannabinoid exposure benefits some colitis patients. “For the first time we have identified a counterbalance to the inflammation response in the intestine and we hope that these findings will help us develop new ways to treat bowel diseases.” Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease and affect 300,000 people in the UK, according to Crohn’s and Colitis UK. They are chronic conditions and over a life-time the repeated damage from inflammation to the cells of the gut and intestine can require surgery for complications. Cannabis could help treat inflammatory bowel diseases which affect millions, first study shows

thumbnail courtesy of independent.co.uk

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