“If you do blood work, imaging or stool samples, patients’ numbers don’t change,” Kinnucan says. “While they may feel better, their inflammatory burden isn’t improving.”
The CBD study did report that the 10-week treatment improved quality of life. But the study’s participants also reported side effects, including dizziness, trouble paying attention, headache, nausea, and fatigue. Dizziness was the most common reason people in the CBD study dropped out. The marijuana study didn’t report on side effects or quality of life.
A recent review of the two clinical studies concluded that the effects of cannabis and CBD in people with UC remain uncertain. There’s no evidence that it can help to put people with UC into remission.
But it’s too soon to say whether it sometimes helps in other ways and how safe it is.
Kinnucan says it’s possible that cannabis could help some patients with UC and not others. For those with UC that’s controlled by medication, she says there’s no reason to think adding cannabis would help. It’s never a good idea to replace approved medicines with cannabis. There’s a risk that cannabis could hide symptoms and encourage people to stop needed treatments.
“At the end of day, if the hope is to control inflammation, there is no data to support that,” Kinnucan says.