Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be frustrating and isolating for patients, and affects roughly 11% of the global population. IBS is considered to be a chronic disease. Some patients experience mild and manageable symptoms, while for others this condition has serious implications on their daily life. Research has even suggested that those battling with IBS miss 3 times as many workdays as those with regular bowel functioning.
What the Studies are Saying
Researchers at Rutgers University have suggested in a recent study that cannabis can help manage the pain that IBS patients experience, particularly those with severe symptoms.
The researchers analysed data from the Nationwide Readmissions Database, from 2016, from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – comparing IBS patients who consumed cannabis against those who did not.
Among non-cannabis consumers all-cause 30 day readmission rates were 12.7%; while those who consumed cannabis had a readmission rate of 8.1%. The research also noted that medical cannabis consumption was linked with shorter stays in the hospital.
The study was conducted with 6 798 adult IBS patients, of which 357 stated they were cannabis consumers. The non-cannabis group had an average age of 53, and the cannabis consumers an average of 36 years. Women were the best represented gender in both cannabis consumers (62%) and non-consumers (81%) – which is expected as IBS affects more women than men.
IBS has no cure, but a 2005 report indicated that cannabis could provide much needed relief for IBS symptoms in these patients. Unfortunately, more studies need to be conducted to substantiate these theories.
A 2015 survey found that 70% of IBS patients who consumed CBD experienced an improvement in symptoms and even mood. Before the consumption of CBD, participants reported an average pain score of 7; while after the consumption of CBD they reported average pain scores of 4.
As with many things in cannabis these days, we are seeing a lot of potential! However, we need more data and evidence to substantiate these claims and theories before medical cannabis can be freely prescribed and provide relief for IBS patients.