Rochester, MN: The administration of synthetic THC (aka dronabinol) decreases colonic motility compared to placebo in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to clinical trial data to be published in the journal Gastroenterology.

Investigators at the Clinical Enteric Neuroscience Translational and Epidemiological Research (CENTER) in Rochester, Minnesota assessed the impact of oral THC versus placebo in a randomized trial of 75 patients with IBS.

Researchers reported that active THC decreased motility of the large intestine during fasting compared to placebo in all of the study’s participants. Dronabinol administration yielded the most significant results in IBS patients with diarrhea and in subjects with alternating diarrhea and constipation.

“[D]ronabinol may provide potential benefit to those [IBS patients] with accelerated transit,” researchers concluded.

Dronabinol is presently a schedule III controlled substance. It is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of severe nausea and cachexia (wasting syndrome).

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) refers to a disorder that involves abdominal pain and cramping, as well as changes in bowel movements. It is a different condition than inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Earlier this month, survey results published online in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology reported that patients with IBD commonly use cannabis therapeutically.