The medical marijuana industry has received another boost thanks to a study showing it can significantly improve the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
An Israeli team of gastroenterology specialists from the University of Tel Aviv conducted a study on 46 sufferers of Crohn’s, a long-term bowel condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract and sparks a range of painful symptoms. They gave some of the sufferers cannabis oil and others a placebo.
The group receiving the cannabis derivative reported a significant reduction in their symptoms, and 65% met strict criteria for clinical remission. That compared with just 35% of those patients taking the placebo. Cannabis is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, but the study indicates that is not why the symptoms improved in Crohn’s patients, suggesting further medicinal benefits to cannabis that need to be explored in greater depth.
The researchers have just presented their findings at the United European Gastroenterology annual meeting in Vienna, Austria. Dr. Timna Naftali told the assembled medical community that he believes the endocannabinoid system could be a therapeutic target in Crohn’s disease and other gastrointestinal diseases.
Medical cannabis is already used to treat epilepsy and it has been endorsed by Epilepsy Action and the UK Epilepsy Society, while the US Food and Drug Administration has approved an oral CBD solution to treat Lennox–Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
Medical cannabis is also regularly prescribed for people suffering from multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, arthritis, and insomnia. Patients recovering from chemotherapy are also given cannabis to relieve nausea, while it is used to treat HIV/AIDS-related symptoms and given as palliative care. People suffering from shock, post-traumatic stress, aches and pains, sleeping disorders, asthma, glaucoma, and even Alzheimer’s have been given medical cannabis to relieve symptoms.
All of this has sparked a massive global medical marijuana industry, and it is expected to reach $28 billion in value by 2024. The industry was worth $8.28 billion in 2017 and it is expected to grow exponentially going forward as more countries legalize cannabis for medicinal use. The UK was the latest major economic powerhouse to usher in a medical marijuana industry, falling in line with much of Europe, North America, and South America.