Cannabinoids and the GI Tract

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“The synthesis and degradation of endocannabinoids, location of cannabinoid (CB) receptors, and cannabinoid mechanisms of action on immune/inflammatory, neuromuscular, and sensory functions in digestive organs are well documented. CB2¬†mechanisms are particularly relevant in immune and sensory functions. Increasing use of cannabinoids in the USA is impacted by social determinants of health including racial discrimination which is associated with tobacco and cannabis co-use, and combined use disorders. Several conditions associated with emesis are related to cannabinoid use, including cannabinoid hyperemesis or withdrawal, cyclic vomiting syndrome, nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Cannabinoids generally inhibit gastrointestinal motor function; yet they relieve symptoms in patients with gastroparesis and diverse nausea syndromes. Cannabinoid effects on inflammatory mechanisms have shown promise in relatively small placebo-controlled studies in reducing disease activity and abdominal pain in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Cannabinoids have been studied in disorders of motility, pain, and disorders of gut brain interaction. The CB2¬†receptor agonist, cannabidiol, reduced total Gastroparesis Cardinal Symptom Index and increased ability to tolerate a meal in patients with gastroparesis appraised over 4 weeks of treatment. In contrast, predominant-pain endpoints in functional dyspepsia with normal gastric emptying were not significantly improved with cannabidiol. The CB2¬†agonist, olorinab, reduced abdominal pain in IBD in an open-label trial and in constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome in a placebo-controlled trial. Cannabinoid mechanisms alter inflammation in pancreatic and liver diseases. In conclusion, cannabinoids, particularly agents affecting CB2 mechanisms, have potential for inflammatory, gastroparesis, and pain disorders; however, the trials require replication and further understanding of risk-benefit to enhance use of cannabinoids in gastrointestinal diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37678488/

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