Compounds found in cannabis may be useful as part of an effective treatment for certain inflammatory bowel diseases, a new study has found.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, two of the more prevalent bowel diseases, are caused by genetic and environmental factors such as diet, stress and bacterial imbalance.
Researchers found that two cannabis compounds—THC and cannabidol—can play an important role in normal bowel 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 Karen Wright, author of the study.
"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," she added.
While THC is responsible for the "high" associated with using cannabis, cannabidol, which is also effective in restoring membrane integrity, does not have any psychoactive properties.
Meanwhile, independent research has indicated that cannabis may also be helpful in controlling symptoms associated with glaucoma and certain forms of cancer.