Cannabis use in inflammatory bowel disease: new surveys announced
Two new surveys announced for patients using or considering using medicinal cannabis to ease the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease and for specialists caring for these patients.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an umbrella term describing chronic and relapsing inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Affected individuals experience abdominal pain, weight loss, diarrhoea and bleeding with a high risk of developing colorectal and small bowel cancers. It is a debilitating condition that often significantly affects a patient’s day to day quality of life, which is why some are turning to cannabis for symptom relief.
In 2016, clinical researchers at The University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics launched the Cannabis as Medicine Survey, 2016, surveying 1,749 Australians who reported using cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Of those surveyed, over 200 people reported using cannabis to manage symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
The newest Cannabis as Medicine Survey (2018), which closed earlier this year, is being analysed for publication and shows data consistent with the 2016 finding. This issue is not going away.
Patients report dissatisfaction managing their IBD with available treatment options. Anecdotal reports of cannabis improving symptoms of IBD paired with increased interest from the clinical and patient communities has prompted the Lambert Initiative to focus their attention on cannabis use specifically for IBD. Two surveys are now active and independently explore patient and specialist perspectives. This approach hopes to get a snapshot of Australian use and attitudes from both sides of the story.