Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, including functional bowel diseases like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel diseases afflict more than one in five Americans, particularly women. While some of these disorders could be controlled by diet and pharmaceutical medications, others are poorly moderated by conventional treatments. GI disorder symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, inflammation of the lining of the large and/or small intestine, chronic diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and weight loss.
Virtually no clinical trial work has been performed in this area although several anecdotal reports and a handful of case reports exist in the scientific literature supporting the use of cannabinoids to treat symptoms of GI disorders, aside from a 2007 clinical study assessing the impact of oral THC on colonic motility.
However, many preclinical studies have demonstrated that activation of the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors exert biological functions on the gastrointestinal tract. Many experts now believe that cannabinoids and/or modulation of the endogenous cannabinoid system represent a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of numerous GI disorders — including inflammatory bowel diseases, functional bowel diseases, gastro-oesophagael reflux conditions, secretory diarrhea, gastric ulcers, and colon cancer.
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