Chron’s Disease Marijuana Research
Cannabis finds its way into treatment of Crohn’s disease.
- Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
In ancient medicine, cannabis has been widely used to cure disturbances and inflammation of the bowel. A recent clinical study now shows that the medicinal plant Cannabis sativa has lived up to expectations and proved to be highly efficient in cases of inflammatory bowel diseases. In a prospective placebo-controlled study, it has been shown what has been largely anticipated from anecdotal reports, i.e. that cannabis produces significant clinical benefits in patients with Crohn’s disease. The mechanisms involved are not yet clear but most likely include peripheral actions on cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2, and may also include central actions.
Endocannabinoids and the gastrointestinal tract.
- Department of Physiological Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, 55099 Mainz, Germany
In the past centuries, different preparations of marijuana have been used for the treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, such as GI pain, gastroenteritis and diarrhea. Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; the active component of marijuana), as well as endogenous and synthetic cannabinoids, exert their biological functions on the gastrointestinal tract by activating two types of cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1 receptor) and cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2 receptor). While CB1 receptors are located in the enteric nervous system and in sensory terminals of vagal and spinal neurons and regulate neurotransmitter release, CB2 receptors are mostly distributed in the immune system, with a role presently still difficult to establish. Under pathophysiological conditions, the endocannabinoid system conveys protection to the GI tract, eg from inflammation and abnormally high gastric and enteric secretion. For such protective activities, the endocannabinoid system may represent a new promising therapeutic target against different GI disorders, including frankly inflammatory bowel diseases (eg, Crohn’s disease), functional bowel diseases (eg, irritable bowel syndrome), and secretion- and motility-related disorders.
Cannabidiol in inflammatory bowel diseases: a brief overview.
- Department of Physiology and Pharmacology Vittorio Erspamer, Faculty of Pharmacy and Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. email@example.com
This minireview highlights the importance of cannabidiol (CBD) as a promising drug for the therapy of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Actual pharmacological treatments for IBD should be enlarged toward the search for low-toxicityand low-cost drugs that may be given alone or in combination with the conventional anti-IBD drugs to increase their efficacy in the therapy of relapsing forms of colitis. In the past, Cannabis preparations have been considered new promising pharmacological tools in view of their anti-inflammatory role in IBD as well as other gut disturbances. However, their use in the clinical therapy has been strongly limited by their psychotropic effects. CBD is a very promising compound since it shares the typical cannabinoid beneficial effects on gut lacking any psychotropic effects. For years, its activity has been enigmatic for gastroenterologists and pharmacologists, but now it is evident that this compound may interact at extra-cannabinoid system receptor sites, such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma. This strategic interaction makes CBD as a potential candidate for the development of a new class of anti-IBD drugs.
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