Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Gastritis is a digestive disorder that affects the stomach lining. Also called the mucosa, this protective coating produces mucus and other enzymes that ensure your stomach is not dissolved by the acid that breaks down food. Your stomach becomes inflamed and swollen when affected by gastritis, which means the mucosa is unable to generate its protection as it should. This produces many gastrointestinal issues and causes the lining of the stomach to wear away gradually.
Medical studies are emerging which show that cannabis may have potential benefits for patients suffering from gastritis. Not only is medical marijuana an effective treatment for inflammation, the main contributor to gastritis, but it can also ease some of the other side effects caused by the condition, including:
In 2005, a UK-based research study explored how cannabis-based drugs could be used to treat inflammatory bowel disease. This study was a combined effort by researchers from the University of Bath and Bristol University. Based on anecdotal evidence that smoking marijuana helped patients with their IBD symptoms, those involved with this study sought to prove the validity of this claim by searching for scientific data to back it up.
They found that cannabinoid receptors in the gut could be influenced by cannabis. Not only did this allow cannabis-based medications to relieve symptoms caused by gastrointestinal issues, but there was also evidence that they could lead to wound closure caused by the disorders. The cannabinoid receptor, CB1, which is present in the brain, was also found in the gut. When activated, CB1 was shown to be involved in the repair of the stomach when it’s damaged.
A 2012 study performed by researchers based out of Tel Aviv University sought to explore the potential of cannabis to improve the quality of life of those with IBD and other gastrointestinal issues. They included participants with longstanding IBD accompanied by symptoms similar to other digestive disorders. The patients were assessed and interviewed before they were given any medical marijuana treatments.
After just three months of treatment, which included inhaling cannabis medication, the 13 participants all reported distinct benefits, including:
With these results being universally acknowledged by all participants, researchers concluded cannabis has distinct advantages to a patient’s quality of life for those struggling with IBD or other gastrointestinal issues.
A 2013 case study surveyed patients with IBD and other gastrointestinal issues. Conducted by doctors specializing in this field based out of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, the researchers’ goal was to find out if patients received any true or perceived benefits when using marijuana to treat their gastrointestinal issues.
The survey included 292 patients — 12% of patients were actively using marijuana, 39% had used marijuana in the past and 49% had never used any type of cannabis. More than 16% of the past and present marijuana users had attempted to treat their condition with cannabis. Most of these participants found it was very effective in treating:
Many patients who had never used medical marijuana expressed an interest in pursuing cannabis-based medications to treat their abdominal issues if it was legally available.
All over the country, public opinion is changing about the validity of treating medical conditions with cannabis. If you’re struggling with gastritis or some other gastrointestinal issue, you shouldn’t suffer in silence. Make an appointment with a marijuana doctor near you to explore your options. If cannabis is legal in your state, they may be able to recommend it as a treatment possibility.