TUESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A synthetic form of a chemical component found in marijuana may help relax the colon and reduce stomach cramping after eating, says a Mayo Clinic study.
Researchers compared the effects of dronabinol and a placebo on colonic motility and sensation in 52 health adults. Dronabinol is a synthetic version of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana.
The study found that dronabinol relaxes the colon and reduces post-eating contractions and cramping. The effect was most apparent in women.
"The potential for cannabinoids to modulate colonic motor function in disease deserves a further look," study leader Dr. Tuba Esfandyari said in a prepared statement.
Currently in the United States, dronabinol is used to prevent nausea and vomiting for cancer patients after chemotherapy. But it's used only when other kinds of medicine for nausea and vomiting don't work. It's is also used to increase appetite in AIDS patients.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about dronabinol.