Cannabis Induces a Clinical Response in Patients with Crohn’s Disease

Type of Content: Clinical Study

Purpose: A prospective trial to determine whether cannabis can induce remission in patients with Crohn’s disease.

Scope of Study: 21 patients (mean age 40±14 years, 13 male) with Crohn’s Disease who did not respond to therapy with steroids, immunomodulators, or antitumor necrosis factor agents. Patients were randomly assigned to groups given cannabis, twice daily, in the form of cigarettes containing 11.5 mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or placebo containing cannabis flowers from which the THC had been extracted. Disease activity and laboratory tests were assessed during 8 weeks of treatment and 2 weeks thereafter.

Findings: Complete remission (a CDAI score <150) was achieved by 5/11 subjects in the cannabis group (45%) and 1/10 in the placebo group (10%; P=.43). A clinical response (a decrease in CDAI score of >100) was observed in 10/11 subjects in the cannabis group (90%; from 330±105 to 152±109) and 4/10 in the placebo group (40%; from 373±94 to 306±143; P=.028). Three patients in the cannabis group were weaned from steroid dependency. Subjects receiving cannabis reported improved appetite and sleep, with no significant side effects.

Further studies, with larger patient groups and a non-smoking mode of intake, are warranted.

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