The medicinal value of the cannabis plant is well-known and consistently under-valued by mainstream medicine. However, it seems that the medical industry is finally catching up and is beginning to accept that yes, a plant can indeed be medicine. Thousands of studies have demonstrated the plant’s clear medicinal value in a variety of conditions. Recognition of the plant’s benefits is continuing to garner steam, so much so that we may soon see it popping up for a number of uses. In fact, cannabis-laced chewing gum may even be on the market soon.
It was recently announced that Dutch researchers would be testing a United States-based company’s cannabis gum for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, which is commonly referred to simply as “IBS.” The study will be one of the first to analyze the potential effects that CBD — a cannabinoid of the marijuana plant– may have on IBS.
IBS is a disorder that is primarily characterized by abdominal pain and other symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, or intermittent periods of both. Estimates suggest that between 25 and 45 million Americans alone are affected by IBS. Approximately two-thirds of IBS sufferers are female. The exact cause of IBS is not yet fully understood, but one thing is certain: it is a common condition that can be hard to treat. Not all treatments work for everyone, and many people never even seek out treatment.
Could this new marijuana gum be the ticket to helping millions of people? Maybe. This new product, called CanChew Plus, was formulated by AXIM Biotechnologies, Medical Marijuana Inc’s major investment company. This latest product was preceded by CanChew, which is already on the market as a “nutraceutical.” The new formulation features CBD, or cannabidiol, which is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound found in the marijuana plant.
Dr. Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc., commented, “We are excited to see that AXIM has reached another milestone in its clinical development program.”
Stuart went on to say, “This is the first advancement in cannabinoid research for treatment of IBS in medical history and gives a clear example of how far ahead AXIM is in its clinical development programs.”
For the trial, a total of 40 patients will be given the gum, alongside another group of participants that will be given a placebo. All the study participants will be between the ages of 18 and 65, and all have been diagnosed with IBS according to ROME III criteria – which is the favored criterion for medical professionals. The gum will contain 50mg of CBD per serving for the trial.
Initial research has indicated that the gum can provide relief from some of the symptoms of IBS like painful abdominal cramps and bloating, as well as normalize stools. These relieving effects are likely due to the plant compound’s ability to interact with the endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the digestive tract — where they can reduce tension.
Previous research has indicated that the endocannabinoid system could play a role in the onset of IBS, and could also be a viable pathway for treatment of the condition. A 2008 study published in the journal Neurogastroenterology and Motility noted this possibility. The researchers also noted that turning on the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system helped to reduce hypersensitivity and motility in the gut, and that drugs capable of altering the levels of cannabinoids in the system could also help to reduce inflammation. While the research team commented that it was “too early” to draw any conclusions, they commented that further research and clinical trials would be useful in “elucidating the potential benefit of cannabinoid drugs in IBS.”
Cannabis has a long history of being used to treat gastrointestinal distress. There is extensive anecdotal evidence of patients with IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other GI issues using cannabis to help treat their condition. Hopefully, the legal issues surrounding cannabis will soon be resolved so this valuable plant can be made more readily available to people with debilitating conditions, in whatever form they may choose.