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Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 Oct 2023 - 20 Oct 2023

2023 Sep 28

Int J Mol Sci




Pharmacohistory of Cannabis Use-A New Possibility in Future Drug Development for Gastrointestinal Diseases.


Thapa D, Warne LN, Falasca M


Humans have employed cannabis for multiple uses including medicine, recreation, food, and fibre. The various components such as roots, flowers, seeds, and leaves have been utilized to alleviate pain, inflammation, anxiety, and gastrointestinal disorders like nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). It has occupied a significant space in ethnomedicines across cultures and religions. Despite multi-dimensional uses, the global prohibition of cannabis by the USA through the introduction of the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 led to prejudice about the perceived risks of cannabis, overshadowing its medicinal potential. Nevertheless, the discovery of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, and the endocannabinoid system renewed scientific interest in understanding the role of cannabis in modulating different conditions, including gastrointestinal disorders. Preparations combining cannabidiol and THC have shown promise in mitigating gut symptoms through anti-inflammatory and motility-enhancing effects. This review revisits the ethnomedicinal use of cannabis in gastrointestinal diseases and emphasizes the need for further research to determine optimal dosages, formulations, and safety profiles of cannabis-based medicines. It also underscores the future potential of cannabinoid-based therapies by leveraging the role of the expanded endocannabinoid system, an endocannabinoidome, in the modulation of gastrointestinal ailments.