Can recreational and/or medicinal cannabis cause gastrointestinal side effects? Original paper

In this systematic review, the use of recreational and/or medicinal cannabis was associated with gastrointestinal side effects. However, the quality of the evidence was low.

This Study Summary was published on February 7, 2024.

Quick Summary

In this systematic review, the use of recreational and/or medicinal cannabis was associated with gastrointestinal side effects. However, the quality of the evidence was low.

What was studied?

Whether the use of recreational and/or medicinal cannabis is associated with gastrointestinal side effects.

Who was studied?

A total of 79,779 participants (ages 15 and above) who used recreational or medicinal cannabis.

How was it studied?

A systematic review was performed. The review included 2 systematic reviews, 1 retrospective cohort study, 1 retrospective chart review, 2 cross-sectional studies, 1 survey, and 6 case reports.

What were the results?

The most common side effect observed with the use of medicinal and/or recreational cannabis was vomiting (9 studies). Other gastrointestinal side effects associated with cannabis use were diarrhea and nausea. Additionally, 2 studies found an association between long-term and excessive use of cannabis and cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which is characterized by chronic, severe nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Five studies found an association between cannabis and adult intussusception, a condition in which part of the intestine folds into a segment adjacent to it.

Anything else I need to know?

The majority of the studies included in this review were observational, and therefore, it’s not possible to establish causality between cannabis use and gastrointestinal side effects.

Additionally, the dosing and duration of cannabis use, as well as the proportion of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) varied significantly across the studies included in this systematic review.

This Study Summary was published on February 7, 2024.