Is Cannabis the Answer to Colitis?
Cannabis might be the next big hope for inflammatory bowel disease.
Promising preclinical results are in for a cannabinoid drug that could treat colitis, a disease that causes the colon to become inflamed. Drug manufacturer Vitality Biopharma said tests on mice using the drug improved gastrointestinal health while reducing weight loss and damage to the colon, side effects common with other existing treatments.
Cannabis is thought to be the next big thing in the field of inflammatory bowel disease. There have been promising clinical trials and results for a cannabinoid drug to be used as treatment for colitis, a disease that causes inflammation in the colon. The tests carried out on animals showed improvement in their gastrointestinal health, as well as a reduction in the weight of the individual and decreased damage to the colon. Vitality Biopharma had induced colitis in animals such as mice by carrying out a clinical model known as dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis, or DSS. These mice were given water to drink which had a chemical in it that induced the excessing pro-inflammation chemicals common in colitis. This DSS method has been widely considered mostly for correcting any minor inflamed bowels present in humans. This compound is known to be “acute” as well as difficult to treat. Vitality Biopharma had mentioned in one press release that the current treatments for colitis, such as corticosteroids and TFS inhibitors, were ineffective when it came to treating mice for DSS. These animals were then treated with the cannabosides compound, which is a class of cannabinoid prodrugs. Since these drugs are consumed, their impact is limited mostly to the gastrointestinal tract, having no effect on the functioning of the brain or psychoactivity. The synthetic form of cannabis has grown popular for its ability to connect cannabinoids without causing the same side effects found in natural marijuana, which can be taken in the form of a pill.
Our body is known to naturally produce endocannabinoids, which are very similar to the cannabinoids present in marijuana. Endocannabinoids are said to help in regulating mood, memory, pain, GI mobility, immune function, and stress. These live throughout the entire body, including the brain, fat, and muscles. They are also present in colitis, or rather, the entire GI tract. The research on cannabis is currently at a very young stage and the restrictions on using it for medical work have only recently been relaxed. This means there are still studies going on for the first time looking at treatment for certain diseases. The trials conducted for colitis, for example, are small and pretty limited.
Cannabis comes with its own group of side effects just like other existing drugs. For instance, this cannabis is known to increase heart rate, impair motor skills, and lead to memory issues for a short period of time. However, if it is used for a longer duration, it can lead to cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, causing symptoms such as severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. It can also induce the onset of paranoia or anxiety attacks, and the individual’s IQ level will drop down as well. The new trials being conducted by Vitality Biopharma seem to be promising, and the reason is because they focus on reducing the impact of using traditional medical marijuana. However, there is still a need for more human trials and analysis.