Cannabis Hope for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Chemicals found in cannabis could prove an effective treatment for the inflammatory bowel diseases Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease, say scientists.

Laboratory tests have shown that two compounds found in the cannabis plant — the cannabinoids THC and cannabidiol — interact with the body’s system that controls gut function.

Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, which affect about one in every 250 people in Northern Europe, are caused by both genetic and environmental factors. The researchers believe that a genetic susceptibility coupled with other triggers, such as diet, stress or bacterial imbalance, leads to a defective immune response.

Dr Karen Wright, Peel Trust Lecturer in Biomedicine at Lancaster University, presented her soon-to-be published work at The British Pharmacological Society’s Winter Meeting in London.

She said: “The lining of the intestines provides a barrier against the contents of the gut but in people with Crohn’s Disease this barrier leaks and bacteria can escape into the intestinal tissue leading to an inappropriate immune response.

“If we could find a way to restore barrier integrity in patients we may be able to curb the inflammatory immune response that causes these chronic conditions.”

Dr Wright, working with colleagues at the School of Graduate Entry Medicine and Health in Derby, has shown that cells that react to cannabinoid compounds play an important role in normal gut function as well as the immune system’s inflammatory response.

“The body produces its own cannabinoid molecules, called endocannabinoids, which we have shown increase the permeability of the epithelium during inflammation, implying that overproduction may be detrimental,” said Dr Wright.

“However, we were able to reverse this process using plant-derived cannabinoids, which appeared to allow the epithelial cells to form tighter bonds with each other and restore the membrane barrier.”

The research was carried out using cell cultures in a dish but, interestingly, when the team attempted to mimic the conditions of the gut by reducing the amount of oxygen in the cells’ environment, much lower concentrations of cannabinoid were needed to produce the same effect.

Dr Wright added: “What is also encouraging is that while THC has psychoactive properties and is responsible for the ‘high’ people experience when using cannabis, cannabidiol, which has also proved effective in restoring membrane integrity, does not possess such properties.”

Story Source:

Adapted from materials provided by British Pharmacological Society, via AlphaGalileo.

– Article from ScienceDaily.



  1. Anonymous on

    I too am I sufferer of Crohn’s Disease. If marijuana could have a positive role on this awful disease, it should most definitely be looked into! Perhaps if those apposing the use had the disease they would have a better understanding; definitely not something fun to suffer from!

  2. Kevin on

    Hey Brad – thanks for the kind words and intelligent discussion. Such a rarity on the internet!

    I AM a proud cannabis consumer…following suggestions from a friend a couple of years ago who thought it might help ease my ulcerative colitis symptoms (severe cramping, diarreha (sp), bloody stool, lost of appetite, etc.)

    Trust me, I’ve done ALOT of research and probably know more about the gastrointestinal system then a non-medical professional should. It ain’t pretty.

    With the exception of a full ileostomy, I have tried almost every medicine created for some relief. Asacol, Prednisone (which is EVIL in itself…turned me into a raging lunatic), Rowasa…the list goes on. I’ve even tried homeopathic, holistic and non-medical treatments. Everything from wheatgrass and chlorophyll to Chinese medicines and weird diets. Some things brought mild relief, but had terrible side effects. The prednisone alone nearly ended my marriage.

    Two days after beginning my cannabis treatment (small bowlful each evening and one in the morning on weekends), my symptoms eased. A week later I was able to eat regularly and actually had a normal BM. Well, sort of normal. Two years later – I’ve been flare-up free. I’ve even travelled, which was impossible before. I was even able to work the entire year without using my sick days up!

    Now – here’s the reality of the subject. Cannabis is NOT a cure for Coliti/Crohns/IBS. While there is no cure yet, and I’m sure as medicine advances we’ll see it. Cannabis sure controls my symptoms better than any pharmacutical ever did.

    Anyone who tells you that by following my diet or has a “miracle” cure is just selling snake-oil.

  3. Brad in Oz on

    I was resisting even visiting that Paul Nison site, but I thought that might almost make me a hypocrit so I did.

    I won’t ramble on here too much, so I’ll just say a few comments/pose a few questions:

    It’s funny (not really) that if you want to know the “cure” you have to pay for it as a book!?!

    It’s strange that if this guy knows the “cure” for every IBD patient: Why then has each person who’s been cured so far rushed to tell other IBD patients or IBD organisations or their doctors of this cure and for that matter told them the secret of the cure (which you have to pay for) for no charge?
    Why in fact hasn’t every IBD patient in the world been cured yet?
    I can’t see why such a simple and cheap cure wouldn’t spread like a contageous disease around the globe (pun intended)!

    Oh by the way I have the secret to making anyone a millionaire overnight – you just have to buy my book!

    ha ha ha ha…..

  4. Brad in Oz on

    Hooray for logical thinking and deductive reasoning (science).

    I’m glad to see a probable cannabis consumer has the neurons to realise the necessity to use the same skepticism directed towards politicians discussing cannabis policies in assessing the merit of claims by ANYONE of “cures” for ANY disease.

    Interestingly, even though:

    A single case of a patient who’s symptoms of a disease DISAPPEARED apparently following administration of a cure cannot in itself prove the cure actually worked;
    A single case of a patient who’s symptoms of a disease DID NOT DISAPPEAR (as with the above emailer) DOES PROVE that the supposed cure at least DOESN’T WORK in every patient!

    i.e. if the above colitis patient of 15 years has indeed done much research on the topic (which I don’t doubt for a second), then he/she will undoubtedly have heard these claims of “miracle diet cures” and probably even tried some (after research) to no evail.

    Q. How long have people talked about having “cures” for every disease known to humans?

    A. For as long as humans have been talking

    Ironically modern science undeniably will eventually (sooner or later) provide true cures (total remission of symptoms & no side effects) for all diseases…though patience can be very hard if you’re disabled by or dying of a disease.

    Good luck to the above colitis patient and keep up your research, one day you might find that bit of gold (truthful info eg.ignored research, new research etc.) in all the crap on the net – hey at least it’s freedom of speech.

    In the (distorted) words of Mr.T:
    “I pity the fool”…who can’t see past the scams on the net!

  5. Anonymous on

    I have been suffering with colitis for 15 years and have done much research on the subject. With the exception of a full ileostomy (a surgical procedure that removes the entire large intestine), there is NO cure. There is simply NO “magical” diet that will cure it.

    “IBD has been cured simply by changing to an all raw vegan diet. there is much evidence to prove this.”

    Can you please list the sources of this “evidence”? The Paul Nison website doesn’t count…I went there and read it already. I’m not convinced.

    Are you Paul Nison or affiliated with his website or…”ministry”?

  6. Brad in Oz on

    Type 1 diabetes cannot be cured without implanting a new pancreas (or stem cells) and no diet change will alter that.

    Type 2 diabetes can (sometimes) have a large proportion of its symptoms disappear, including a drop in insulin resistance, if the patients diet is reduced in its simple sugar and/or Glycaemic Index (if possible) – but still this is NOT A CURE.

    Fibromyalgia is a little controversial because of a lack of an objective diagnostic test to the point that some medical professionals don’t consider it a disease, though I personally disagree. However the fact that it lacks a test means that a patient may claim to have been “cured” by some lifestyle factor (eg. change in diet or cannabis), yet they have absolutley no evidence to prove this – which by the way doesn’t mean they were wrong, it’s just that to PROVE a cure is actually a cure it usually requires a placebo or control trial; preferably a double blind one (patient & admin don’t know diff between control & treatment), though that’s difficult in this case.
    Again single cases of patients claiming a cure actually provide very little information by themselves (but are useful as part of a larger study or trial).

    Colitis and Chron’s Disease (forms of IBD) are both autoimmune diseases (where the body attacks itself) and as such can either progress or go into remission for no apparent reason (visible reason that is – obviously caused at the molecular level) – this does not mean whatever the patient was consuming at the time (eg. food or cannabis) was a “cure”, nor does it mean it was a miracle. This is why controls and placebo’s are used in experiments and studies!

    You also stated “i just wanted to put the info out there that there are possible cures” – I agree, just not on what those cures are!

    You also stated “…even though the “medical” and “scientific” communties say there is no cure. they obviously want you to keep giving them your money.”
    Well actually any scientist (or knowledgable person) cannot deny that STEM CELL TECHNOLOGY AND/OR GENE THERAPY WILL PROVIDE A CURE for not only IBD, but almost every disease known at least to some extent.
    To suggest some sort of conspiracy is going on between both competing as well as colluding groups of researchers all over the globe just makes you sound like the stereotypical paranoid pot head that continues to provide ammunition for the ignoramouses fighting the repeal of cannabis prohibition!!!

    Try opening your mind to science – or at least ALWAYS BE WILLING TO CHANGE YOUR OPINION (like myself) in light of new evidence.

  7. Anonymous on

    I am not trying to offend anyone or say that using cannabis is wrong to ease the symptoms of any disease or cancer. i have used in past for certain conditions and had great results. i’m just saying that people have cured themselves of things such as diabetes 1 and 2, fibromyalgia, colitis, chron’s, and more… if we take out the refined and processed foods from our diet and only put in healthy raw food, such as; fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds and in limited amounts (not over eating and not late at night), it can have a tremendously positive effect on the human body. build the immune system and the body can fight off the dis-ease itself. the human body is very resilient! i just wanted to put the info out there that there are possible cures, even though the “medical” and “scientific” communties say there is no cure. they obviously want you to keep giving them your money. Merry Christmas and God Bless.

  8. Brad in Oz on

    To suggest that a “raw vegan diet” has “cured” IBD is jsut as wrong as to suggest cannabis (or THC & CBD) is a “cure” for IBD; neither are a cure.

    MAYBE a “raw vegan diet” (whatever that is precisely) can assist in treating IBD, but to suggest it is THE CURE is just plain ignorant – you’re suggesting that IBD is entirely caused by diet which is simply bullshit considering all the REAL scientific evidence!

    Americans (& anyone else USA saturated) have to learn that just because someone writes a book (or sets up a website) it doesn’t make what they’re saying is true!

    I don’t think a healthy diet can harm (although certain “healthy” foods may actually be bad for IBD), but removing any major dietary components is often a bad idea which can in the worst cases damage a persons body or even kill them (vitamin/mineral/amino-acid deficiencies, amino-acid imbalances etc…).

    Cannabis (or more precisely THC & CBD) has been shown in numerous in-vitro and in-vivo studies to possess multiple anti-inflammatory properties including activity specifically on reducing IBD in animal models.
    Yet even if cannabis (or THC and/or CBD) is found to be the best available therapy for IBD and totally abolishes all IBD symptoms, it is still ONLY A THERAPY requiring continued (chronic) use and NOT A CURE!

    I have no doubt that a true cure for IBD will come in the next few decades via gene therapy (genetic manipulation), but of course someone who restricts themselves to only “natural” substances may have trouble accepting such a man-(or human)made cure; oh well their loss!

    Sure processed foods have contributed to many peoples poor health, but to say they’re the sole cause of any disease is plainly stretching the limits of the evidence at hand.
    Sugars, salt, cholesterol, as well as saturated and trans fats are all natural – it’s just that we’ve developed foods containing excess amounts of them (and lacking other good components).
    As to uncooked food; sure cooking creates many bad chemicals (that’s what food’s made of folks), but it aids in digestion as well as creating flavours.
    In fact humans have cooked our food for so long (since before we were actually even human) that we no longer need the extra digestive action of a large chunk of our gastrointestinal tract which has shrunk over evolutionary time to become – our appendix!

  9. Anonymous on

    IBD has been cured simply by changing to an all raw vegan diet. there is much evidence to prove this. actually most dis-eases can be cured by this type of a diet. much easier and healthier than the normal medical route. the information is out there, so check it out. there is a man by the name of Paul Nison who is an author and a chef who cured himself of colitis with this diet and now lectures all over country helping others with what he has found. his website is tons of info on there. =)

  10. Anonymous on

    Too true, I suffer from IBS in the really severe category, cannabinoids have been my saviour. Never feel guilty about using medicine.

  11. Anon on

    Cannabis also greatly relieves the pain and discomfort of I.B.S. – Irritable Bowel Syndrome. My wife is a new convert to the healing benefits of the sacred plant. Bless Jah for he loved us enough to provide this wonderful herb as a virtual panacea for all our ills and rough times.

  12. ToxicSludge on

    My niece suffers from Chron’s disease.I will send her a link for this article.Coming from me alone,I doubt she would believe me.

  13. Anonymous on

    I too suffer chronic digestive problems that are lessened by the use of cannabis; but, I cannot imagine the extent your wife has gone through. I’m praying for her and for your whole family. God bless you.

  14. Anonymous on

    My wife has crohn’s. My wife has crohn’s so bad that her surgeon calls her a 5 percenter, as in only 5% of people with crohn’s have it as bad as she does. She has been asked by multiple doctors how she can function on a daily basis with the amount of pain and inflammation she lives with. Her answer to them is always the same “cannabis”.

    The docs have pumped her full of every horrible cancer medicine with there awful side effects. She has tried all the steroids that did nothing positive and made her feel like a mental case. She has had 8 surgeries, the last removing ALL of her large bowel and at 25 years old forcing her, a beautiful young women to live with an ileostomy (if you don’t know what that is google it cause it isn’t pretty.) Through all of this the only way she could get out of bed, the only way she could leave the house for more than 30 minutes, the only way she could eat a meal, was with the use of cannabis.

    We live in the U.S. in a state that currently does not have a medical marijuana law. In order to get her the only medicine that helps I would have to hope I could get in touch with some punk kid, hope that he had some cannabis to sell, hope that he felt like getting off his dead ass to sell it, drive to the hood pay 300 bills for an ounce of weed that was sure to be under weight, and then drive out of the hood hoping that I didn’t get pulled over by over zealous police officers fighting the “drug war”.

    After my wife’s ileostomy. She began to have a resemblance of a normal life. With the help of cannabis she was able to get out of the house like a normal person, get a job and she even became pregnant (she was told she would never have children). Her OB doctor told her to keep smoking cannabis as there is NO proof that marijuana effects children in the womb!(this from an OB in the problem pregnancy department of one of Boston’s best hospitals). Our daughter is quite healthy and there was no effects what so ever. And though she could not keep working as the stress of everyday work life brought back some symptoms our life is entirely better off. We now grow my wife’s medicine (only 4-6 plants under a 600w) as we just couldn’t keep doing the drive to the hood and hope method. This of course brings it’s own set of problems because if we get busted I am 100% positive that they will charge us as drug dealers. And as in the recent case in New Jersey I am sure they wouldn’t let my wife use her health condition as a defense. If that happens they will try to take our daughter away. If that is the case we will do what we have to do maybe run maybe fight who knows, but I do know that there is NO way in hell I am gonna stop providing a legit medicine to a loved one.