IBD and Marijuana

Some IBD patients, particularly those with severe disease, use cannabis to relieve symptoms of pain, nausea, and appetite and to improve their overall mood.

However, cannabis use in human trials has failed to provide objective evidence of therapeutic efficacy on endoscopy, biopsy, and inflammatory marker levels in patients with IBD.

In addition, the safety profile of cannabis is still not well established and carries many adverse effects.

Adverse effects of acute use include anxiety, panic, psychosis, tachycardia, and increased appetite with dry mouth. Long-term use also raises concerns regarding development of dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal upon discontinuation. Symptoms of withdrawal include increased irritability, sleep disturbance, anorexia, and depression, yet it is estimated that only approximately 10% of cannabis users ever develop dependency, which is comparatively less than what is seen in tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, or heroin use. No deaths have been solely attributed to marijuana.

Chronic use of marijuana has been responsible for an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes, development of amotivational syndrome, altered adolescent neuro-psychological development, cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, gynecomastia, impaired immune function, and decreased fertility. Among the nearly 150 serious events were vomiting, urinary tract infection, and relapse of treated conditions.