Cannabis oil could be used to improve the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease according to a new study. However, what surprised the researchers is that it isn’t the anti-inflammatory properties of the plant which proves effective at treating the symptoms.
Here, we’ll look at what the study revealed and whether cannabis oil could be an effective form of treatment for the disease.
Understanding the study in Crohn’s Disease treatment
After going over anecdotal reports which suggested people with Crohn’s Disease benefitted from cannabis, researchers decided to look into the connection. The team, led by professor and gastroenterologist Dr Timna Naftali from the Tel Aviv University, initially thought the benefits were down to cannabinoid action. However, the results of the study proved to be pretty surprising.
The placebo-controlled, randomised study involved 50 patients who had severe forms of Crohn’s Disease. They were given a 4:1 CBD to THC ratio of cannabis oil and 65% went on to enter clinical remission. They also claimed their quality of life was significantly improved. A separate group who were given placebo treatment, saw 35% enter clinical remission – a drastic reduction compared to the group treated with cannabis oil.
One of the more surprising findings of the study was that CBD oil didn’t have any impact on gut inflammation. The oil is renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties so the fact it didn’t appear to ease the inflammation was baffling for the team. This led to the theory that cannabis oil could interact with a patient’s biology, causing the symptoms of the condition to be treated without impacting inflammation.
How does cannabis oil work in treating Crohn’s Disease?
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoid compounds contained within the cannabis plant. It is known to react with the CB1 and CB2 receptors within the endocannabinoid system. These receptors are largely found in the immune cells and brain. It doesn’t have any psychotic effects and actively stops the high that users of cannabis typically experience.
This isn’t the first study Dr Naftali has carried out to link the use of cannabis with the improvement of Crohn’s Disease. Back in 2011, she carried out a smaller study in Israel, observing 30 patients with the condition. It was discovered that patients who smoked 1-3 joints a day, experienced positive effects on the severity of the disease. However, this new study shows that patients don’t need to smoke the cannabis to experience the positive effects. Instead, the oil appears to be just as effective.
Could cannabis oil be an effective Crohn’s Disease treatment option?
This new study does show that CBD oil could prove to be an effective treatment option for those suffering with Crohn’s Disease and legalisation of CBD oil has recently been relaxed in the UK. However, further, larger studies will need to be carried out in order to prove it is a viable treatment option.
For now, there are several treatment options available to treat Crohn’s Disease. Dietary changes, medicine and surgery are all effective ways of controlling the condition. To find out which treatment choice is right for you, you will need to undergo a consultation.