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Cannabis-Based Drugs Could Aid in Treating Bowel Disease 8/5/05 intox.com
A research team in the United Kingdom has found evidence that medications that bind to cannabinoid receptors could benefit patients with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, BBC News reported July 31.
Bath University researchers, whose findings were reported in the journal Gastroenterology, found that individuals with inflammatory bowel disease had a large number of CB2 receptors in their intestinal tract, which may be part of the body's attempt to reduce the inflammation. A medication binding to these receptors could produce significant results, the researchers believe.
"Targeting drug development to components of the in-built cannabinoid system could be the way forward," said lead researcher Dr. Karen Wright.
While researchers agree that these early findings offer hope, they add that much work needs to be done to identify specifically how the signaling pathways controlled by cannabinoid receptors could be targeted to treat these illnesses.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health's Dr. George Kunos suggests that as an alternative to developing cannabis-based medications, researchers could test compounds that would act to block the natural destruction of cannabinoids in the intestinal area.