Study: Inhaled Cannabis Reduces Crohn’s Symptoms

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 13, 2013

    Inhaling cannabis reduces symptoms of Crohn’s disease compared to placebo in patients non-responsive to traditional therapies, according to clinical trial data published online ahead of print in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

    Researchers at the Meir Medical Center, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Israel assessed the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis versus placebo in 21 subjects with Crohn’s disease who were nonresponsive to conventional treatments.

    Eleven participants smoked standardized cannabis cigarettes containing 23 percent THC and 0.5 percent CBD (cannabidiol) twice daily over a period of eight weeks. The other ten subjects smoked placebo cigarettes containing no active cannabinoids.

    Investigators reported, “Our data show that 8-weeks treatment with THC-rich cannabis, but not placebo, was associated with a significant decrease of 100 points in CDAI (Crohn’s Disease and activity index) scores.” (The CDIA is a research tool used to quantify the symptoms of Crohn’s disease patients.) Five of the eleven patients in the study group also reported achieving disease remission (defined as a reduction in patient CDAI score by more than 150 points).

    Researchers also reported that “no significant side effects” were associated with cannabis inhalation. Subjects in the study group reported improvements in appetite and sleep compared to those in the placebo group. Cannabis inhalation was also associated with “significantly less pain” among the participants.

    The study is the first placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess the consumption of cannabis for the treatment of Crohn’s.

    Israeli researchers had previously published observational trial data reporting that Crohn’s patients require fewer disease-related surgeries following their use of cannabis.

    According to survey data published in 2011 in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, some one-half of Crohn’s disease patients acknowledge having used cannabis to mitigate their disease symptoms.

    31 responses to “Study: Inhaled Cannabis Reduces Crohn’s Symptoms”

    1. Barbara A Lucas says:

      I am a retired trauma nurse. Diagnosed with Rhuematoid arthritis, osteo arthritis and osteoporosis. I have been on every opoid made over the course of the past ten years. I now am off all opiods and only smoke pot. Howvever pot is not legal for me. It cures my pain more than anything else ever has. Tell me what I can do to help.

    2. joe says:

      As a person with crohns I agree its always helped me at times when I can’t eat. I’m not a burnout but I do smoke when j need to. Its a lot better then my other alternatives like drinking beer which helps also but I know its destroying my insides.

    3. mexweed says:

      Next step: compare with a vaporizer administration method– or a 25-mg-serving size one-hitter (how many hundred mg’s in those “standardized cannabis cigarettes”?).

      The basic process of a cigarette is that it BURNS– destroying a part of the cannabinoid– and provides a bonus drug cocktail of heat shock, carbon monoxide, combustion toxins etc. which may partly sabotage some benefits of the cannabis.

    4. disvet13 says:

      wait until they start eating a mature bud fresh off the plant. it may not be the best tasting but it works wonders for stomach problems.

    5. I’ve had Crohn’s 22 years now. Conventional medicines have not worked for me. Now my GI doctor wants me to go back on Humira but I am quite frankly afraid of the long term side effects which can give me cancer & other more significant problems down the road. My 22 yr old daughter was also diagnosed with this same horrible disaease @ age 14. so obviously I am afraid for her future also dealing with this disease of a lifetime.

    6. Galileo Galilei says:

      “Israeli researchers had previously published observational trial data reporting that Crohn’s patients require fewer disease-related surgeries following their use of cannabis.”

      Surgeries are expensive. Anything that will help minimize the need for their use helps drive down health care costs and benefits us all, the sick and the healthy.

    7. Jimmy John says:

      Typically drugs tested by the FDA look over long terms consequences for an 18 month period before they are approved. Cannabis has been around for thousands of years.
      There are more likely better delivery systems than simply smoking (oils, pastes, edibles, vaporizers, etc.).
      I am still amazed at how reticent people are to admit that marijuana helps them:
      As a person with crohns I agree its always helped me at times when I can’t eat. I’m not a burnout but I do smoke when j need to. Its a lot better then my other alternatives like drinking beer which helps also but I know its destroying my insides.

      EVERYTHING is in the DOSING. Do you not think that Big Pharma’s ‘wonder drugs” are ‘destroying your insides’?

    8. Miles says:

      One of the things the DEA, being the medical experts they think they are, keep saying is that smoked marijuana has no medical benefit. I love the fact that this study used smoked marijuana!!!It truly gives those control freaks one less talking point…

    9. Julian says:

      @mexiweed, you are correct about the vaporizer, but I would go further to recommend a fuel cell. They produce pure THC, increasing medication, and they don’t produce smelly combustive smoke. There is a need for patients to medicate themselves in privacy. They sell propane fuel cells for smoking “tobacco” at any smoke shop or they can order you one if you don’t want to link your laptop or phone to an order and go on line. They can run around $200 but they save more in efficiency and privacy. They look more or less like a dugout or a large lighter like you see

    10. Julian says:

      “In any gas station” was what I was going to say. (Jeez, there’s ONE advantage to ordering in person: not pressing “enter” by mistake).
      My nephew has Chrone’s Disease. It looks like my sister’s three other kids who are past puberty now are showing signs. A few years ago my nephew was busted smoking pot and his parents cut out his college fund and told him he would have to go to work after high school. They’re strict and by the rules. In light of this evidence I feel compelled to forward the news to my sister, but I regret she would only be offended. The state of Texas is the last state that I ever expected to even introduce decriminalization legislation. For that I send a very heart felt “thank you” to NORMAL.
      Many of us who accept weed know that we live in an overly prescribed society. Diseases like chrons disease and some forms of autism hit around adolescence- a time when young minds and hearts are grappling with an overwhelming variety of growing pains, depression and possible diseases. Weed is a natural pain relief that humans have gravitated to like any wounded animal in the forest for millenea. We have cultivated it for so long marijuana is in the muscle memory of our behavioral development in every major civilisation we have created world wide. Yet because of the C.S.Act and a pharma/insurance complex in our overprescribed society it took research in Isreal to diagnose weed as direct medicine for the CB1 cannabinoid that people with Chrone’s disease lack. To be fair, Jewish people have more Chrones Disease in the family than most, so Isreal is good testing grounds. But medical policy is so bad here in the U.S. that we are suffering an epidemic of prescribed medications such as zanex- which when mixed with even a little alcohol can leave you wondering how you woke up taking down someones fence, killing someone, or as with the recent incident with the DA in Austin Texas, driving up the wrong way of the shoulder with a half empty bottle of vodka and some prescription medication. (Thank you, mrs. DA of Austin for refusing to resign to prove how stubbornly misregulated our drug policy really is).
      There’s no excuse for the continued outlaw of marijuana.
      For parents who are worried about their kids getting “high” while they are getting an education under medication, listen: We can even separate the pschoactive ingredient THC from the CB1-simulating cannabinoid! But our system is so screwed up by big pharma that kids are being diagnosed for what they don’t have while kids who could benefit from weed are being denied what they need; without all the side effects of prescribed medicine to distrupt their education.
      Instead of overprescribing the weight-gaining, diabetes-causing, liver-damaging medicines they have been prescribing for any kid with misdiagnosed autism or ADD just for acting out in class, or even well diagnosed for Chrone’s Disease, we could be giving our kids weed without the pscychoactive effect of being “high.” (Which might not hurt in language or art class, relatively speaking).
      I know I have to change the laws to convince my sister. That’s why I’m donating to NORMAL. Its so encouraging to know there’s a non for profit lobby out there making American Democracy work for us instead of letting the country go to Hell with Pfizer and the DEA at the helm of our marijuana policy.
      Meanwhile, parents and young adults who wish to graduate without their parents worries, go look for a propane fuel cell to inhale your medicine. And if you find the holy grail: a hydrogen fuel cell inhaler– than blog me back! I don’t care WHAT it costs, that’s gold!