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Research: Cannabis as a Treatment for Digestive Diseases

Liquid Life Research: Cannabis and Digestive Diseases

Introductions and image by @SuperFunker.

1) Borrelli et al (2013) expanded the understanding of the phytocannabinoids found in Cannabis by assessing the effect of CBG (cannabigerol) - not CBD (cannabidiol) - on inflammatory bowel disease. A nominal dose of 1 mg/kg was an effective preventive treatment and 5 mg/kg proved to have a curative effect. The most potent curative dose was 30 mg/kg which reduced inflammation, corrected intestinal permeability, counteracted oxidative stress and protected gut flora.

Title: "Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease."

Abstract
"Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an incurable disease which affects millions of people in industrialised countries. Anecdotal and scientific evidence suggest that Cannabis use may have a positive impact in IBD patients. Here, we investigated the effect of cannabigerol (CBG), a nonpsychotropic Cannabis-derived cannabinoid..."

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2) Lin et al (2018) explored the use of a variety of complementary and alternative medicines among patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Up to 60% of those who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease add alternative medicines to prescribed treatment, because:

  • They feel that herbal remedies are less toxic.
  • Conventional therapy does not work.
  • Pharmaceuticals may be plagued by side-effects.
  • And they seek more control over the disease so as to improve the quality of their life.

Cannabis as an alternative therapy may:

  • Attenuate colitis.
  • Reduce inflammation.
  • Relieve pain.
  • Mitigate nausea.
  • And control diarrhea. 

Title: "The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease."

Abstract
"Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) includes products or medical practices that encompass herbal and dietary supplements, probiotics, traditional Chinese medicines, and a variety of mind-body techniques. The use of CAM in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is increasing as patients seek ways beyond conventional therapy..."

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3) Naftali (2019) offered the following editorial review in the Israel Medical Association Journal. Naftali highlights that Cannabis users who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease regard Cannabis as “very helpful” in relieving abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea. Those who use Cannabis and suffer from ulcerative colitis, demonstrated a lower prevalence of colectomies, lessened bowel obstructions and shorter hospital stays. Although Cannabis appears to exhibit a therapeutic benefit, the dynamic phytochemical profile, various modes of consumption and differing dosages have not yet been fully rationalized.

Title: "Cannabis for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Should We Follow the Wisdom of the Crowd?"

Abstract
"Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are chronic debilitating diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract. Crohn’s disease may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, and the inflammation may penetrate through the bowel wall into the abdominal cavity. Ulcerative colitis, however, will solely affect the large intestine..."

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4) Zhang et al (2019) obtained human gastric cancer SGC-7901 cells to test the anti-cancer function of CBD. The results demonstrated that CBD effectively inhibited colony formation, induced cell cycle arrest and caused death of the cancer cells. Specifically:

  • "Protein expression levels of CDK2 and cyclin E in the SGC-7901 cells decreased after CBD treatment, which in turn reduced the formation of CDK2/cyclin E complexes, ultimately arresting SGC-7901 cells at the G0–G1 phase."
  • "After treatment with CBD, ATM protein expression levels increased, and the ATM protein was activated in SGC-7901 cells. Meanwhile, CBD increased the expression of p21 and downregulated the expression of p53 in SGC-7901 cells, which in turn led to cell cycle arrest at the G0–G1 phase."
  • "Considering that the mitochondria-mediated caspase-dependent pathway is a major apoptotic pathway, we then examined the levels of anti- and pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins in the mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway. We found that CBD upregulated Bax and downregulated Bcl-2 in CBD-treated SGC-7901 cells, leading to a decrease in the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax."
  • "CBD significantly decreased the mitochondrial transmembrane potential, released mitochondrial cytochrome C into the cytoplasm, and activated Apaf-1 and caspase-9 and -3, which ultimately resulted in SGC-7901 cell apoptosis."
  • "These results indicated that CDB-induced cell cycle arrest and cell apoptosis of SGC-7901 cells were associated with the increasing intracellular ROS levels."

In conclusion, Zhang maintains that his results support the development of a CBD protocol to directly treat gastric cancer.

Title: "Cannabidiol Induces Cell Cycle Arrest and Cell Apoptosis in Human Gastric Cancer SGC-7901 Cells."

Abstract
"The main chemical component of cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), has been shown to have antitumor properties. The present study examined the in vitro effects of CBD on human gastric cancer SGC-7901 cells. We found that CBD significantly inhibited the proliferation and colony formation of SGC-7901 cells. Further investigation showed that CBD significantly..."

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