Sommermeyer, L. (1935). Acute Pancreatitis. The American Journal of Nursing, 35(12), 1157.doi:10.2307/3412015
In 2017, a systemic review of the literature about Cannabis-Induced Acute Pancreatitis (AP) was made by a research group. The results showed that cannabis is a possible risk factor for development of acute pancreatitis especially in patients under the age of 35. Recurrent AP was also reported (57.7%) in patients, related to cannabis use, and (50%) of patients regarding further AP episodes after cannabis stopping. However, lack of parameters of cannabis use in this study impaired the ability to exanimate dose-dependent in the population. The mechanism remains unknown, but in animal models the activation of CB1 receptors by anandamide, a natural endogenous activator ligand, produced worsening of AP severity at high doses.
The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach and in front of the first and second lumbar vertebrae. It is made of lobules, small ducts come from each lobe and empty into a bigger duct, this pancreatic duct and the common bile duct join together and enter the duodenum (intestine). The pancreas produces both internal and external enzymes (proteins), which are necessary for digestion. Acute pancreatitis is a disease that consists of the sudden inflammation of the pancreas.
Benefits of cannabinoids in relieving acute pancreatitis
In 2017, a clinical study was conducted to analyse severity and outcomes of acute alcoholic pancreatitis in cannabis users. Patients were studied during the period from 2006 to 2015. Urine drug screen test for THC were performed to patients.
Today, data about cannabinoids and acute pancreatitis is conflicting, researchers are calling for new studies to better understand the molecular mechanism implicated in this painful and dangerous condition.
In 2013, a preclinical study showed the anti-inflammatory role of cannabidiol in mice with acute pancreatitis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychotropic bioactive component of cannabis with therapeutic properties.
Results demonstrated CBD treatment diminished TNF-alfa and IL-6. Both are pro-inflammatory proteins secreted mostly by T cells, macrophages, neutrophils and endothelial cells; all of these cells express endocannabinoid receptors on their structures. The presence of these receptors allows cannabinoids such as CBD to act on them and thus ameliorating pain and controlling acute pancreatitis.
Although studies haven’t yet looked at dosing for CBD in pancreatitis patients, one clinical study has found that CBD’s effects are dose-dependent. 57 participants took different doses of CBD — 150 mg, 300 mg, and 600 mg) before taking part in a simulated public speaking test.
CBD and other cannabinoids in CBD oil are derived from cannabis plants. This is the most common type of cannabinoids that can be used to treat pancreatitis. Other types include endocannabinoids (the ones produced in the body) and synthetic cannabinoids from laboratories.
A study performed on non-obese diabetic mice in 2016 found that CBD curbed inflammation markers in the pancreas of the subjects. The research team also suggested that CBD may lower the incidence of type 1 diabetes.
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Inflammation is the key player in acute and chronic pancreatitis.
The activation of digestive enzymes, while they’re still in the pancreas, is one of the main causes of pancreatitis. This occurrence triggers inflammation as it irritates the organ’s cells.
CBD’s effects on the symptoms of pancreatitis are also related to its interaction with the CB2 receptors in the immune system. On top of producing anti-inflammatory effects, CBD is also able to modulate the activity of the immune system, reducing hyperactivity without shutting it down like commonly prescribed immunosuppressants.
Pancreatitis treatment aims at managing pain, especially in the upper abdomen. Doctors typically prescribe painkillers for this condition.
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