A chemical component extracted from the cannabis, or marijuana, plant may relax the colon and reduce stomach cramping after eating, according to a study presented at the 71st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology. The study compared the effects of dronabinol and placebo on colonic motility and sensation in healthy adults.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota conducted a double-blind, parallel-group study of 52 volunteers who were randomly assigned placebo or a single dose of dronabinol, a synthetic THC and a naturally-occurring compound in marijuana, known as a non-selective cannabinoid agonist.
The researchers found that dronabinol relaxes the colon and reduces post-eating contractions and cramping. Further, the effects were most pronounced in females. "The potential for cannabinoids to modulate colonic motor function in disease deserves a further look," said study leader Tuba Esfandyari, M.D., MSc of the Mayo Clinic.