In the United States, approximately 1.6 million people are living with such disorders. Almost 70,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
Older studies and anecdotal reports have shown that people who use cannabis experience and maintain remission of the condition. Cannabis users say that the drug helps them to successfully manage “abdominal pain, joint pain, cramping, diarrhea, poor appetite, weight loss, and nausea.”
What could explain this therapeutic effect? For the first time, researchers were able to find a biological mechanism that shows how cannabis relieves intestinal inflammation in IBD.
The scientists were led by Beth A. McCormick, vice chair and a professor of microbiology and physiological systems at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.
How cannabinoids stop the inflammation
Prof. McCormick and her colleagues started their research by acknowledging an already known inflammation process that occurs when the body is infected with a pathogen.
The so-called neutrophil influx is a normal reaction of the immune system that sends neutrophils — a type of white blood cell — to fight against foreign microorganisms such as viruses or bacteria.