Valhalla, NY: The use of marijuana significantly reduces abdominal pain in patients with refractory gastroparesis, according to data published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. (Gastroparesis involves the partial paralysis of the stomach; symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, heartburn, and weight loss.)
Researchers affiliated with New York Medical College and with Westchester Medical Center University Hospital assessed the effects of either plant cannabis or dronabinol (FDA-approved oral THC) on pain in a cohort of 24 patients with treatment-resistant gastroparesis.
While both the administration of oral THC and cannabis was associated with reductions in patients’ self-reported pain, whole-plant cannabis was associated with greater improvements.
“Our study shows that cannabinoids may play an important role in the management of gastroparesis-related abdominal pain,” authors concluded. “There are currently no treatments shown to be effective for gastroparetic pain in clinical trials, and cannabinoids may serve a niche for this under-treated symptom.”
Separate data assessing the relationship between cannabis use and gastroparesis, published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, further reports that patients who consume cannabis possess “better hospitalization outcomes, including decreased length of stay and improved in-hospital mortality” as compared to those with no history of recent use.
Prior observational studies have similarly reported that marijuana use is associated with a decreased risk of in-hospital mortality among patients suffering from congestive heart failure, cancer, COPD, pancreatitis, HIV, burn-related injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and various other types of severe trauma.
Full text of the study, “Cannabinoids lead to significant improvement in gastroparesis-related abdominal pain,” appears in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Full text of the study, “Trends and socioeconomic health outcomes of cannabis use among patients with gastroparesis: A United States nationwide inpatient sample analysis,” appears in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. Additional information on cannabis and pain management is available from NORML.