The use of cannabis is common among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to survey data to be published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

An international team of researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom surveyed one hundred patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and 191 patients with Crohn’s disease (CD) attending a tertiary-care outpatient clinic.

A comparable proportion of patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease reported lifetime (51 per cent and 48 per cent) or current (12 per cent and 16 per cent) cannabis use, investigators reported. Of lifetime users, 33 per cent of patients with colitis ulcerosa and 50 per cent of patients with Crohn’s disease acknowledged having used the substance to mitigate symptoms related to inflammatory bowel disease, including abdominal pain, diarrhea and reduced appetite.

Authors concluded: “Cannabis use is common amongst patients with IBD for symptom relief, particularly amongst those with a history of abdominal surgery, chronic abdominal pain and/or a low quality of life index. The therapeutic benefits of cannabinoid derivatives in IBD may warrant further exploration.”

According to the US government website, investigators at the Meir University Center in Israel are presently conducting a double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effect of cannabis inhalation on patients with IBD.