Daniel W. Bushyhead, MD, Gorav Kalra, MD, Lisa L. Strate, MD, MPH
University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA
Introduction: Cannabinoids are compounds derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. These include the psychoactive delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), although non-psychoactive compounds such as cannabidiol also exist. Given the prevalence of cannabinoid receptors in the enteric nervous system, use of cannabinoids may contribute to the pathophysiology or treatment of gastrointestinal motility and functional disorders. However, little is known about the prevalence of cannabinoid use in patients referred to out-patient gastroenterologists. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of cannabinoid use, and its relation to specific gastrointestinal symptoms, in patients seen in gastroenterology clinic.
Methods: An optional survey was administered to patients attending gastroenterology clinic at a county hospital in a state where both recreational and medical cannabis use are legal. The study period was January to May of 2019. The survey queried subjects on type of cannabinoid product used, frequency of use, whether cannabinoids were used for treatment of gastrointestinal symptoms, and efficacy. Diagnosis was recorded following review of the electronic medical record. Patients who were unable to consent or those who did not demonstrate proficiency with written English were excluded. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics using Excel (Version 16.23). Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.
Results: A total of 60 subjects completed the survey. Forty-nine (82%) respondents were female, and median age was 43-years-old. Twenty-nine (48%) subjects reported use of cannabinoids within the past year; the most common substances were marijuana (90%) or marijuana and cannabidiol (48%). The most common diagnosis for these subjects was chronic abdominal pain (see Figure 1). Thirty-one percent of patients reported using cannabinoids more than once daily. Twenty-eight percent of subjects reported use of cannabinoids to alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms, with a median improvement of 6 on a scale of 0-10 (0 representing no relief, 10 representing full relief). The most common reported symptom for this subset of patients was abdominal pain (see Figure 2).
Discussion: Use of cannabinoids, including both marijuana and cannabidiol products, was common in subjects with gastrointestinal symptoms referred to a gastroenterology clinic in a state where use is legal. More than half of subjects using cannabinoids did so for relief of a wide variety of gastrointestinal symptoms.
Citation: Daniel W. Bushyhead, MD, Gorav Kalra, MD, Lisa L. Strate, MD, MPH. P2159 - PREVALENCE OF CANNABINOID USE IN PATIENTS WITH GASTROINTESTINAL SYMPTOMS. Program No. P2159. ACG 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting Abstracts. San Antonio, Texas: American College of Gastroenterology.