“Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease affects over a million people in the United States, with an estimated indirect cost from work loss of $3.6 billion annually. Many of these individuals suffer from pain, diarrhea and poor ability to digest their food, and in up to half of those with IBD, the disease is so severe that it ultimately requires surgery to remove the affected bowel segment.
Historically, marijuana has been used to treat diarrhea and has been advocated for the treatment of a variety of other gastrointestinal problems, including Crohn’s disease.
More recent pharmacological studies have clearly established that cannabinoids inhibit gastrointestinal motility and secretion by acting on CB1 receptors located on the terminals of both intrinsic and extrinsic submucosal neurons.
When administered to mice with chemically induced enteritis, cannabinoids also reduce inflammation and fluid accumulation in the gut.
Cannabinoids inhibit motility and secretion in the intestine.
They are now assigned the additional task of curbing excessive inflammation, suggesting that drugs targeting the endogenous cannabinoid system could be exploited for inflammatory bowel disease.
These findings may offer a new therapeutic approach to IBD.”