Cannabis and Turmeric as Complementary Treatments for IBD and Other Digestive Diseases

  • Sandra M. QuezadaEmail author
  • Raymond K. Cross
Small Intestine (D Sachar, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Small Intestine


Purpose of Review

Complementary therapies for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have earned growing interest from patients and investigators alike, with a dynamic landscape of research in this area. In this article, we review results of the most recent studies evaluating the role of cannabis and turmeric for the treatment of IBD and other intestinal illnesses.

Recent Findings

Cannabinoids are well-established modulators of gut motility and visceral pain and have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. Clinical trials suggest that there may be a therapeutic role for cannabinoid therapy in the treatment of IBD, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nausea and vomiting, and GI motility disorders. Recent reports of serious adverse effects from synthetic cannabinoids highlight the need for additional investigation of cannabinoids to establish their efficacy and safety. Turmeric trials have demonstrated some promise as adjuvant treatment for IBD, though not in other GI disease processes.


Evidence suggests that the use of cannabis and turmeric is potentially beneficial in IBD and IBS; however, neither has been compared to standard therapy in IBD, and thus should not be recommended as alternative treatment for IBD. For cannabis in particular, additional investigation regarding appropriate dosing and timing, given known adverse effects of its chronic use, and careful monitoring of potential bleeding complications with synthetic cannabinoids are imperative.


Inflammatory bowel disease Complementary therapy Cannabis Cannabinoids Turmeric Curcumin 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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