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Can Cannabis Chewing Gum Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

January 19, 2017
photo shot of chewing gum
A biotech firm has launched clinical trials in the Netherlands to test whether its CBD chewing gum could help treat irritable bowel syndrome.

Researchers will give a group of 40 adult patients CanChew Plus chewing gum, which contains 50 mg of hemp-derived cannabidiol per serving. Subjects will be able to take up to six servings per day under the study, which will record general relief of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms—most often stomach cramps, bloating, and lower abdominal pain—along with any “change in stool frequency,” according to a press release.

The mint-flavored chewing gum was developed by Axim Biotechnologies, which has offices in New York and the Netherlands.

“IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder and affects up to 15 percent of the worldwide population,” Axim CEO Dr. George E. Anastassov said in a statement, “and It has no sustainable cure.”


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The forthcoming IBS trials were developed by Axim and clinical investigators at the Wageningen University, a leading Dutch research institution and where the trials will be held.

“IBS is a very common and often painful disorder which is still difficult to manage,” Renger Witkamp, a nutrition and pharmacology professor at the school, said in a statement that accompanied the announcement. “People often experience sudden flare-ups and for many it has a negative impact on their quality of life. CBD has shown to have promising effects, but there has been a clear need for practical and effective formulations.”

While CBD is currently available in various forms, Witkamp claims that “providing it via a chewing gum results in sustained release of the compound and better bioavailability.”

Axim also makes CanChew, a controlled-release CBD chewing gum, and a combination CBD/THC gum called MedChew Rx, which is currently undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of multiple sclerosis-related pain and spasticity. Standard CanChew gum is already available in all 50 US states, the company says, as it contains only hemp-based CBD.

If the IBS trial is successful, said Axim CEO Anastassov, “we will be ready to proceed immediately with further trials on our pharmaceutical grade CanChew Rx products to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.”

In a legal disclosure, the company says it “does not sell or distribute any products that are in violation of the United States Controlled Substances Act”—although the DEA might disagree.

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Leafly Staff

Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis information resource, empowering people in legal cannabis markets to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs. Our team of cannabis professionals collectively share years of experience in all corners of the market, from growing and retail, to science and medicine, to data and technology.

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  • Open Minds

    Leafly should be ashamed for printing this stuff.
    Axim Biotechnologies is part of Medical Marijuana Inc. Just google “Medical Marijuana Inc scam” to find out more. Then google “Medical Marijuana, Inc. Prepares To Spit Out Canchew Biotechnologies” to find out more about how Canchew flopped. These are penny stock companies who are trying to move the needle on their penny stocks.
    Moreover, it has been proven that THC plays a major role in IBS related diseases (see link below). So CBD alone won’t do it.

  • Shajay

    Curious as to what else is in the gum. I find sugar substitutes, sugar alcohols, and sugar of any kind an irritant to my GI tract. Stevia sweetened would be a good choice, as long as whole leave, not processed, but from the white color of the gum shown I doubt Stevia whole leaf is being used.

  • Momofpurrs Felini

    It would be wonderful if this could be perfected with a blend of CBD and THC that wouldn’t be too strong and interfere with responsible daily functions …like working or driving! Not so good with artificial ingredients though, and I would not be able to use it if it was made with stevia or any other artificial or ‘natural’sweetener other than real sugar ….due to extreme allergies and sensitivities and extremely severe IBS for the past 50+ yrs.

    • Jo Jones

      I wouldn’t think cbd in anything would be a good thing.?????

  • Jo Jones

    I have had ibs for many years. Put a name to it when I was around 20. I am 65 now. I have been smoking pot for about 50 yrs. Now. I smoke pot every day. Never associated any difference in my ibs. I am very interested in this study. As pain relief-I find pot hightens my pain. I do like the fact while being high I can tolerate the pain because I go into stoned mode. Don’t understand how pot can help with this other than in stoned mode-everything is great.

  • Cannabis certainly has a lot of medical benefits and can provide relief for gastrointestinal disorders. The available clinical evidence and anecdotal reports are fascinating and hopefully, we will continue to hear more success stories of patients on their path to recovery.