Timna Naftali

Meir Medical Center, Israel

Specialist in Gastroenterology, Director IBD Service in Meir Medical Center

Prof. Timna Naftali was involved with studies in IBD from the beginning of her residency when she initiated and conducted a study on the treatment of ulcerative colitis with cyclosporine. She was involved in several studies in the following years but lately, she has become interested in the question of the role of cannabinoids in IBD. She was intrigued by the subject by several patients of hers in whom she saw a significant improvement after commencing the consumption of cannabis. She realized then that no controlled study was ever conducted in human IBD. In the following years, she has conducted several studies investigating the use of cannabis by IBD patients including the first placebo-controlled trial of cannabis in Crohn’s disease and another study of cannabis in ulcerative colitis (presented in the ECCO conference in February 2018). Her presentation of the summary of her work in the annual conference of the Israeli gastroenterology association won the prize of the best presentation of the conference. The results of her studies led her to believe that cannabis has real potential in improving inflammation, disease activity and quality of life in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. However, current knowledge of the mechanism of action, active ingredients, appropriate dosage and mode of use is lacking. Cannabis research is blocked by many factors and is inherently difficult. Good quality randomized controlled studies are needed to further explore the question as to whether the observed benefit of cannabis reflects symptomatic improvement or a real effect on inflammation.

Currently Prof. Naftali is Head of the Center for Cannabinoid Research in Meir Hospital. In this center the team currently conducts several clinical trials regarding the role of the endocannabinoid system in disease pathogenesis  and the role  of phytocannabinoids in treating various diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatic diseases, endometriosis and chronic pain.