Cannabosides for Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s & Colitis)

Independent clinical trial results suggest that cannabinoids will help induce remission in Crohn’s disease patients, even in patients who are heavily medicated and have not responded to corticosteroids, anti-TNF-alpha drugs (Remicade, Humira, etc.), or immunomodulators. In an independently-conducted and placebo-controlled trial, with an 8 week course of treatment, 45% of of these drug-resistant patients went into remission, and there was a statistically significant change in their Crohn’s Disease Activity Index (CDAI). The vast majority of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients using cannabis report symptomatic relief, including 84% that report improvement of visceral pain, and 77% that report improvement in abdominal cramping.

Approximately 1.4 million Americans are affected by inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Most patients are diagnosed before age 30 and require life-long treatment. Many different classes of drugs are used to treat IBD, including corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, biologics, and antibiotics, as well as drugs that relieve the symptoms of disease such as diarrhea, constipation, and pain. A market research report by Visiongain predicts that in 2017 drug revenues for treatment of IBD will reach $9.6 billion.

The ultimate goal of clinical treatment of IBD is to obtain complete disease control and to stop disease progression. This includes remission of disease without use of steroids or opiates, normalization of inflammatory markers in the blood, and also healing of the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract, which typically leads to better clinical outcomes, reduced healthcare costs, and an improved quality of life.

“In this trial, cannabis induced clinical remission in (nearly) 50% of patients. Taking into account that our participants had longstanding Crohn’s disease, with 80% nonresponse or intolerance to anti–TNF-a, this result is impressive.”
Naftali et. al., 2013