For centuries, cannabis and its components have been used to manage a wide variety of symptoms associated with many illnesses. Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases are no exception in this regard. Individuals suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are among those who have sought out the ameliorating properties of this plant. As legal limitations of its use have eased, interest has grown from both patients and their providers regarding the potential of cannabis to be used in the clinical setting. Similarly, a growing number of animal and human studies have been undertaken to evaluate the impact of cannabis and cannabinoid signaling elements on the natural history of IBD and its associated complications. There is little clinical evidence supporting the ability of cannabis or related products to treat the GI inflammation underlying these disorders. However, 1 recurring theme from both animal and human studies is that these agents have a significant impact on several IBD-related symptoms, including abdominal pain. In this review, we discuss the role of cannabis and cannabinoid signaling in visceral pain perception, what is currently known regarding the efficacy of cannabis and its derivatives for managing pain, related symptoms and inflammation in IBD, and what work remains to effectively utilize cannabis and its derivatives in the clinical setting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Pharmacology (medical)