Cannabis is measured into
containers in a pharmacy in Rotterdam. Derivatives of the active compound
in cannabis -- cannabinoids -- may have the potential for treating inflammatory
bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, UK researchers
Derivatives of the active compound in cannabis -- cannabinoids -- may have the
potential for treating inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative
colitis, UK researchers report.
"The system that responds to cannabis in the brain is present and functioning
in the lining of the gut," lead researcher Dr. Karen Wright, of the University
of Bath, explained to Reuters Health. "There is an increased presence of
one component of this system during inflammatory bowel diseases," she explained.
Wright and her colleagues established the location of cannabinoid receptors
CB1 and CB2 in human colon tissue, and used human colon cell lines to investigate
the binding of cannabinoid compounds and in wound-healing experiments. They
report their findings in the journal Gastroenterology
The team found that CB2 was increased in colonic tissue characteristic of inflammatory
bowel disease. Cannabinoids enhanced surface wound closure via CB1-related mechanisms.
"Cannabinoids, which we make ourselves, as well as synthetic cannabinoids,
can promote wound healing in the gut, which is extremely interesting given that
inflammatory bowel disease involves damaged gut linings," Wright said.
Although results are available yet, she added, relevant studies of the use
of cannabinoids are taking place in the UK and a clinical trial is being conducted