Patients suffering from common forms of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) might find relief through cannabis treatment, according to a new study on mice.
A study published on Monday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that gut inflammation is regulated by two important processes, which are constantly in flux.
The first process promotes an aggressive immune response that destroys dangerous pathogens but can also damage intestinal lining.
Researchers go on to describe that the second process can switch off inflammation by using a naturally-produced molecule similar to cannabinoids found in cannabis.
“For the first time, we have an understanding of the molecules involved in the process and how endocannabinoids and cannabinoids control inflammation,” said Beth McCormick, vice chair and professor of microbiology and physiological systems at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a co-author of the study.
“This gives clinical researchers a new drug target to explore to treat patients that suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases, and perhaps other diseases, as well,” McCormick added.
“There is now some support for those individuals who may have felt social pressures or uncertainties about the rationale of using medical marijuana to treat intestinal inflammatory diseases, by framing a scientific understanding of how endocannabinoids function to suppress inflammation in the intestine,” said Randy Mrsny, the study’s co-author and professor at Britain’s University of Bath Centre for Regenerative Medicine.
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