Clinical Studies and Case Reports

On this site you will find clinical studies with cannabis or single cannabinoids in different diseases and case reports on the use of cannabis by patients.
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TitleThe cannabinoid receptor agonist delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol does not affect visceral sensitivity to rectal distension in healthy volunteers and IBS patients.
Author(s)Klooker TK, Leliefeld KE, Van Den Wijngaard RM, Boeckxstaens GE.
Journal, Volume, IssueNeurogastroenterol Motil. 2011 Jan;23(1):30-5
Major outcome(s)THC did not modify visceral perception to rectal distension.

BACKGROUND: Visceral hypersensitivity to distension is thought to play an important role in the pathophysiology of the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Cannabinoids are known to decrease somatic pain perception, but their effect on visceral sensitivity in IBS remains unclear. Therefore, we evaluated the effect of the mixed CB(1) /CB(2) receptor agonist delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9) -THC, dronabinol) on rectal sensitivity. METHODS: Ten IBS patients and 12 healthy volunteers (HV) underwent a barostat study to assess rectal sensitivity using an intermittent pressure-controlled distension protocol before and after sigmoid stimulation. Repetitive sigmoid stimulation is a validated method to increase visceral perception in IBS patients, consisting of a 10-min period of 30 s stimuli (60 mmHg), separated by 30 s of rest (5 mmHg). The effect of placebo and Δ(9) -THC (5 and 10 mg in healthy volunteers and 10 mg in IBS patients) on rectal sensitivity was evaluated on respectively three and two separate days in a double blind, randomized, crossover fashion. KEY RESULTS: All participants (HV and IBS) reported central side effects during the highest dose of Δ(9) -THC, most frequently increased awareness of the surrounding, light-headedness and sleepiness, whereas no side effects where reported during placebo. Although blood pressure was not affected, heart rate increased in both HV and IBS, but was most pronounced in IBS patients. The cannabinoid agonist Δ(9) -THC did not alter baseline rectal perception to distension compared to placebo in HV or IBS patients. Similarly, after sigmoid stimulation there were no significant differences between placebo and Δ(9) -THC in sensory thresholds of discomfort. CONCLUSIONS & INFERENCES: These findings imply that Δ(9) -THC does not modify visceral perception to rectal distension and argue against (centrally acting) CB agonists as tool to decrease visceral hypersensitivity in IBS patients.

Dose(s)5-10 mg
Duration (days)1
Participants10 patients with irritable bowel syndrome
DesignControlled study
Type of publicationMedical journal
Address of author(s)Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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