Cannabis and the Gastrointestinal Tract

“Cannabis has been used for its medicinal purposes since ancient times. Its consumption leads to the activation of Cannabis receptors CB1 and CB2 that, through specific mechanisms can lead to modulation and progression of inflammation or repair. The novel findings are linked to the medical use of Cannabis in gastrointestinal (GI) system.

Purpose: The objective of the present paper is to elucidate the role of Cannabis consumption in GI system. An additional aim is to review the information on the function of Cannabis in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Methods and results: This review summarizes the recent findings on the role of cannabinoid receptors, their synthetic or natural ligands, as well as their metabolizing enzymes in normal GI function and its disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and possible adverse events. The synergism or antagonism between Cannabis’ active ingredients and the “entourage” plays a role in the efficacy of various strains. Some elements of Cannabis may alter disease severity as over-activation of Cannabis receptors CB1 and CB2 can lead to changes of the commensal gut flora. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) contributes to gut homeostasis. The ability of ECS to modulate inflammatory responses demonstrates the capacity of ECS to preserve gastrointestinal (GI) function. Alterations of the ECS may predispose patients to pathologic disorders, including IBD. Clinical studies in IBD demonstrate that subjects benefit from Cannabis consumption as seen through a reduction of the IBD-inflammation, as well as through a decreased need for other medication. NAFLD is characterized by fat accumulation in the liver. The occurrence of inflammation in NAFLD leads to non-alcoholic-steatohepatitis (NASH). The use of Cannabis might reduce liver inflammation.

Conclusions: With limited evidence of efficacy and safety of Cannabis in IBD, IBS, and NAFLD, randomized controlled studies are required to examine its therapeutic efficacy.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32762830/

https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/jpps/index.php/JPPS/article/view/31242

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Association Between Cannabis Use and Healthcare Utilization in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Cureus | LinkedIn“Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a frequent cause of abdominal pain and altered bowel habits, which is associated with significant healthcare utilization.

The effects of the active compound of cannabis, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), on gut motility and tone have been studied in several experimental models. It is unknown whether these effects correlate with improved healthcare utilization among cannabis users.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of cannabis use on inpatient length of stay and resource utilization for patients with a primary discharge diagnosis of IBS.

Cannabis users were less likely to have the following: upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (17.9% vs. 26.1%; adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 0.51 [0.36 to 0.73]; p<0.001) and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy (21.1% vs. 28.7%; aOR: 0.54 [0.39 to 0.75]; p<0.001). Additionally, cannabis users had shorter length of stay (2.8 days vs. 3.6 days; p=0.004) and less total charges (US$20,388 vs. US$23,624). There was no difference in the frequency of CT abdomen performed.

Cannabis use may decrease inpatient healthcare utilization in IBS patients. These effects could possibly be through the effect of cannabis on the endocannabinoid system.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32528750/

“Our study provides evidence to suggest that cannabis use may decrease healthcare utilization and costs among hospitalized patients with IBS. These findings are likely attributable to the effects of cannabis’ active compound, THC, on gastrointestinal motility and colonic compliance. The role of cannabis in the treatment for IBS has potential for significant impact at the individual and population level given the burden of IBS on individual quality of life and healthcare expenditures.”

https://www.cureus.com/articles/30417-association-between-cannabis-use-and-healthcare-utilization-in-patients-with-irritable-bowel-syndrome-a-retrospective-cohort-study

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Cannabinoid agonists possibly mediate interaction between cholinergic and cannabinoid systems in regulating intestinal inflammation.

Medical Hypotheses“Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is idiopathic, chronic and affects the gastrointestinal tract. It results from the association of genetic, environmental and immune deregulation, which culminates in the development and progression of the inflammatory process. In an attempt to reverse colonic inflammation, endogenous systems involved in intestinal physiology are studied and the cholinergic system is fundamental for this process. In addition, this system has anti-inflammatory action in experimental models of IBD. Another important endogenous system in regulating the exacerbated inflammatory response in the gut is mediated by endocannabinoids, which play an important role in restoring bowel functionality after the onset of the inflammatory process. There are several reports in the literature showing the interconnection between the cannabinoid and cholinergic systems in different tissues. Considering that the activation of the cholinergic system stimulates the production of cannabinoid agonists in the intestine, our hypothesis is that the interaction between the muscarinic system and the cannabinoid in the control of intestinal inflammation is mediated by endogenous cannabinoids, since they are stimulated by the activation of muscarinic receptors.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32085982

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S030698771931429X?via%3Dihub

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Endocannabinoid system in irritable bowel syndrome and cannabis as a therapy.

Complementary Therapies in Medicine“Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) global burden is underestimated despite its high prevalence. It’s a gastrointestinal disease having obscure pathophysiology with multiple therapies yet unsatisfactory remedies.

The Endocannabinoid system (ECS) of our body plays a key role in maintaining normal physiology of the gastrointestinal tract as well as involves abnormalities including functional diseases like IBS. This review highlights the importance of the Endocannabinoid system, its connections with the normal gastrointestinal functions and abnormalities like IBS.

It also discusses the role of cannabis as medical therapy in IBS patients.

A literature search for articles related to endocannabinoids in IBS and medical cannabis in PubMed and Google Scholar was conducted. The studies highlighted the significant participation of ECS in IBS. However, the breach in obtaining the promising therapeutic model for IBS needed further investigation in ECS and uncover other treatments for IBS.

This review summarizes ECS, highlights the relationship of ECS with IBS and explores cannabis as a potential therapy to treat IBS.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31987224

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229919310179?via%3Dihub

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Gastrointestinal Adverse Events of Cannabinoid 1 Receptor Inverse Agonists suggest their Potential Use in Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

 Image result for J Gastrointestin Liver Dis“Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders characterized by pain and impaired bowel movements. Currently available drugs show limited efficacy.

Cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1) inverse agonists (CB1-RAN) cause diarrhea and may be candidates for the treatment of constipation-predominant IBS (IBS-C). We evaluated the effects of CB1-RAN in clinical trials for their potential use in IBS-C.

METHODS:

Database search identified all clinical trials published up to May 2018 that reported rimonabant and taranabant treatment for at least one month and detailed the GI adverse events (AEs). Categorical outcomes (subgroups of AEs) were analyzed using the odds ratio (OR).

RESULTS:

Eighteen trials met the inclusion criteria. Rimonabant 20 mg produced significantly more overall AEs (OR=1.35, CI: 1.19-1.52, p<0.0001), psychiatric events (OR=1.79, CI: 1.46-2.21, p<0.001) and GI AEs (OR=2.05, CI: 1.65-2.55, p<0.001) compared to placebo. Taranabant at doses ranging from 0.5 to 8 mg produced significantly more overall AEs (OR=1.36, CI: 1.13-1.64, p<0.002), psychiatric AEs (1.82, CI: 1.54-2.16, p<0.001) and GI AEs (OR=1.75, CI: 1.29-2.37, p<0.001) compared to placebo.

CONCLUSIONS:

The approach to target CB1 in the gut for the treatment of IBS-C or chronic constipation seems a promising therapeutic option. Prospective clinical trials on the possible targeting of CB1 and the endocannabinoid system are warranted.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31826058

https://www.jgld.ro/jgld/index.php/jgld/article/view/265

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Cannabinoid-induced relief of hypermotility in a rat model of the irritable bowel syndrome.

Publication cover image

“Cannabinoid-2 receptor agonists may be useful in treating intestinal motility disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31094052

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/nmo.13613

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Cannabis Oil Use by Adolescents and Young Adults With Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Image result for j pediatr gastroenterol nutr

“The aim of the study was to describe use of oral or sublingual cannabis oil (CO) by adolescent and young adult patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

METHODS:

A descriptive study of IBD patients 13 to 23 years of age seen between January 2015 through December 2017 at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Information obtained included chart abstraction, electronic and interview self-report, and serum cannabinoid levels. We compared CO users and cannabis non-users for clinical characteristics and perceptions of risk. Users of CO provided information on routes, patterns, motivations, and perceived benefits and problems with use.

RESULTS:

The 15 users and 67 non-users were similar for clinical characteristics and pain and appetite scores. 9 of 15 (60%) CO users had used in the past 30 days, an average of 22 ± 9 times; and 4 used daily. A variety of strengths and CBD:THC ratios were reported. Most common perceived effect of use was on sleep quality, nausea, and increase in appetite. Of the 15 users, 6 used only CO and no additional forms of cannabis. Of these 6 CO only users, 5 reported a medical reason for use, most commonly to relieve pain.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adolescent and young adults with IBD used oral CO and many used other cannabis products as well. Users perceived some medical benefit. Care teams should strive for open communication about use until further information on safety and efficacy becomes available.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30801394

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Palmitoylethanolamide and Cannabidiol Prevent Inflammation-induced Hyperpermeability of the Human Gut In Vitro and In Vivo—A Randomized, Placebo-controlled, Double-blind Controlled Trial

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

“We aimed to examine, for the first time, the effect of cannabidiol (CBD) and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) on the permeability of the human gastrointestinal tract in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo.

Results
In vitro, PEA, and CBD decreased the inflammation-induced flux of dextrans (P< 0.0001), sensitive to PPARα and CB1 antagonism, respectively. Both PEA and CBD were prevented by PKA, MEK/ERK, and adenylyl cyclase inhibition (P < 0.001). In human mucosa, inflammation decreased claudin-5 mRNA, which was prevented by CBD (P < 0.05). Palmitoylethanolamide and cannabidiol prevented an inflammation-induced fall in TRPV1 and increase in PPARα transcription (P< 0.0001). In vivo, aspirin caused an increase in the absorption of lactulose and mannitol, which were reduced by PEA or CBD (P < 0.001).

Conclusion

Cannabidiol and palmitoylethanolamide reduce permeability in the human colon. These findings have implications in disorders associated with increased gut permeability, such as inflammatory bowel disease.”

https://academic.oup.com/ibdjournal/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ibd/izz017/5341970?redirectedFrom=fulltext

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Activation of cannabinoid 2 receptor relieves colonic hypermotility in a rat model of irritable bowel syndrome.

Neurogastroenterology &amp; Motility banner

“Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disease with intestinal dysmotility, whose mechanism remains elusive.

The endocannabinoid system is emerging as an important modulator of gastrointestinal (GI) motility in multiple diseases, but its involvement in IBS is unknown.

We aimed to determine whether cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptor modulates intestinal motility associated with stress-induced IBS.

CONCLUSION:

CB2 receptor may exert an important inhibitory effect in stress-induced colonic hypermotility by modulating NO synthesis through p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. AM1241 could be used as a potential drug to treat disorders with colonic hypermotility.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30793435

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/nmo.13555

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Cannabis and Turmeric as Complementary Treatments for IBD and Other Digestive Diseases.

 “Complementary therapies for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have earned growing interest from patients and investigators alike, with a dynamic landscape of research in this area. In this article, we review results of the most recent studies evaluating the role of cannabis and turmeric for the treatment of IBD and other intestinal illnesses.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Cannabinoids are well-established modulators of gut motility and visceral pain and have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. Clinical trials suggest that there may be a therapeutic role for cannabinoid therapy in the treatment of IBD, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nausea and vomiting, and GI motility disorders. Recent reports of serious adverse effects from synthetic cannabinoids highlight the need for additional investigation of cannabinoids to establish their efficacy and safety. Turmeric trials have demonstrated some promise as adjuvant treatment for IBD, though not in other GI disease processes. Evidence suggests that the use of cannabis and turmeric is potentially beneficial in IBD and IBS; however, neither has been compared to standard therapy in IBD, and thus should not be recommended as alternative treatment for IBD. For cannabis in particular, additional investigation regarding appropriate dosing and timing, given known adverse effects of its chronic use, and careful monitoring of potential bleeding complications with synthetic cannabinoids are imperative.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30635796

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11894-019-0670-0

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