Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients Who Use Marijuana Report Decreased Emergency Room Visits

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology has found that those with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) report improved symptoms and fewer emergency room visits following marijuana use.

Conducted by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Northwestern University and Stony Brook University Hospital, the objective of the study according to its abstract was to “investigate medical cannabis (MC) use patterns and adverse effects in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).”

A cross-sectional anonymous survey was conducted (October 23, 2020 to January 24, 2021) among patients accessing medical cannabis (MC) dispensaries in New York and Minnesota. The eligibility criteria was those age 18 years or older with a IBD diagnosis and who purchases marijuana from a dispensary.

“Survey questions included IBD characteristics, MC and healthcare utilization, and MC effects/adverse events.” In addition, “Participant characteristics were analyzed with descriptive statistics. Utilization patterns and symptoms before and after MC use were compared using the Stuart Maxwell test.”

Among the 236 participants they “reported fewer emergency room visits in the 12 months after versus before MC use (35.2 vs 41.5%, P<0.01) and less impact of symptoms on daily life.”

The study notes that “Most respondents reported euphoria with MC use (75.4%). The other common side effects were feeling drowsy, groggy, or with memory lapses (4.2%), dry mouth/eyes (3.4%), and anxiety/depression or paranoia (3.4%). Few respondents reported MC diversion (1.3%).”

“MC users with IBD perceive symptom benefits and report decreased emergency room visits without serious adverse effects”, the study concludes. “Further studies are needed to confirm these results with objective measures of healthcare utilization and disease activity.”

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