Medical cannabis research is growing, but it is still nowhere near as big and deep enough as it should be by the standards of the medical world for ruthless investigation. But due to years of anecdotal evidence for cannabis, the plant has bypassed many of the trials a potential cure would normally have to go through en route to a legitimate drug.
With this in mind, Meir Hospital embarked on an endeavor that would benefit both the cannabis and medical worlds – medical studies conducted with a conservative approach.
Retrospective study of inflammatory bowel disease
Meir Hospital started inflammatory bowel disease with a retrospective observational study in which they “collected data on disease activity before and after cannabis use”.
Cannabis after this first test, however, the lack of a control group, and the variability in cannabis use took some of the shine away from the results.
Meir Hospital conducted “several double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of cannabis in inflammatory bowel disease”.
The first concerned Crohn’s disease, unprecedented in the fact that it was the first double-blind, placebo-controlled study to look at how cannabis affects this condition by using uniform cannabis in all patients, prospectively.
After weeks of weight, the patients who received real cannabis had “a significantly lower disease activity index, but no change in markers of inflammation was observed”. However, the study was not without its limitations, namely its short duration, the small size of the group, and the fact that endoscopic disease activity was not measured.
In another study that focused on CBD alone as a cure for Crohn’s disease, the researchers found no difference between the condition of the control group and the participants who received the real active ingredient.
However, due to the low dosage of CBD that was administered – 20 mg per day, the oral method of ingestion and the good safety profile of CBD, and the promising anti-inflammatory results in previous experimental models, scientists gave CBD the benefit of the doubt. You are currently conducting another double-blind, placebo-controlled study of CBD in steroid-dependent patients with Crohn’s disease.
The researchers also tried to study CBD as a “steroid-sparing therapy” in patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU).
“The study is ongoing and the data has not yet been pooled. Investigators’ impression, however, is that CBD has had a significant beneficial effect on a sizable cohort of patients. This is supported by the positive feedback from patients. “
The Meir Hospital researchers conclude that cannabis does indeed show promise as a viable drug. However, they also point out the inherent obstacles cannabis poses to research – its psychoactivity, which makes creating a compelling placebo difficult and can also have side effects; its federal illegal status; the variety of chemovars that account for many variables; and the inconsistent nature of extracts that “can never achieve the reproducibility required for a drug”.