Cannabis-laced chewing gum could cure irritable bowel syndrome, scientists believe.
Until now, doctors have struggled to find an effective treatment for the condition, which affects around 3.5 million Americans a year, according to Daily Mail.
But a team at Wageningen University in the Netherlands claims CBD - a key property in cannabis - could ease the colon spasms that seem to be the root cause of symptoms.
Next month, the trial will begin, testing a cannabis-infused chewing gum made by US firm Medical Marijuana Inc.
The study is the first to test a relationship between CBD (one of the two main properties in cannabis) and IBS.
Specifically, it will test a new product called CanChew, developed my AXIM Biotechnologies, Medical Marijuana Inc's major investment company.
Preliminary research suggests the product could reduce painful stomach cramps, control bloating, and normalize stool.
This, they say, is because the drug would interact with the endogenous cannabinoid receptors in sufferers' digestive tract, loosening tension.
The trial is welcome progress for the medical cannabis industry, after a large-scale report slammed most of cannabis's "medical benefits" as "unproven" and "untested".
It is also a landmark for IBS research, since the syndrome is linked to US$21 billion in medical expenses, work absenteeism, and loss of productivity.
"We are excited to see that AXIM has reached another milestone in its clinical development program," said Dr. Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc.
"IBS is one of the most common disorders in the world affecting up to 15 percent of the global population, with no real treatment options available.
"This is the first advancement in cannabinoid research for treatment of IBS in medical history and gives a clear example of how far ahead AXIM is in its clinical development programs."
IBS is the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists.
It accounts for up to 12 percent of total visits to primary care providers, accumulating between US2.4 and US3.5 million annual physician visits in the United States.
Women are most commonly affected, with 60 percent of IBS sufferers female, compared to 40 percent male.
The gum will be given to 40 trial participants, aged between 18 and 65, alongside matching placebo gums.
All of the patients will have been diagnosed with IBS according to ROME III criteria - the gold standard for medical professionals.
In the trial, the gum will contain 50mg of CBD per serving.
Patients will be allowed up to six chewing gums a day to control their stomach cramps, bloating, pain and other symptoms.
"The cost to society in terms of direct medical expenses and indirect costs associated with loss of productivity and work absenteeism tied to IBS is considerable," Dr Titus said.
AXIM believes CanChew products could also treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
A spokesman said they are ready to proceed immediately with further trials on its pharmaceutical grade if this trial is a success.
- Daily Mail