Did you know? Nearly 3 billion Americans have Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s is a subtype of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and causes inflammation in the digestive tract which leads to pain, fatigue, diarrhea, bleeding, mouth ulcers, fever and weight loss.
The inflammation can affect the different areas, from the mouth to the anus, of the digestive tract in different people.
However, it is found in the small intestine in a majority of cases. All layers of the affected bowel tissue are inflamed and with ulcers in this medical condition. This is why Crohn’s is painful and life disturbing as well.
Even worse, there is no cure for Crohn’s disease. Treatment helps manage the symptoms.
Can Marijuana Cure Crohn’s Disease?
Marijuana is being looked at as an effective treatment for several inflammatory bowel disorders like Crohn’s disease. In fact, marijuana has been documented in several ancient texts as medicine for bowel inflammation.
How does it work? How can weed benefit or treat digestive track?
To understand this, it is important to have a basic knowledge of the endocannabinoid system or ECS.
Endocannabinoid system is a set of neurotransmitters, which help the human body regulate mood, appetite, pain, memory, emotions, stress and immune function.
According to recent research, Cannabidiol could be a Modulator of Endocannabinoid Signalling.
ECS works by stimulating the receptors located in the areas like muscles, fat, brain and digestive tract. The low level of ECS may lead to depression, loss of appetite, stress, pain, and inflammation. It clearly means that one should have an ideal level of ECS in the body to lead a healthy life.
And marijuana can help you in that.
The wall of the digestive tract is lined with all components of the endocannabinoid system.
Both THC and CBD work together to reduce inflammation, improve appetite, ease pain and improve sleep pattern, providing much-needed relief in Crohn’s disease.
These benefits clearly establish marijuana as an effective remedy.
For more information on our endocannabinoid system, here is a great video with Dr John Teh, Cannabinoid Clinician:
What does Research say about Marijuana as Treatment for Crohn’s Disease?
Over the past few years, many studies have found marijuana as an effective treatment for Crohn’s disease. Some of them are given below.
- A 2011 study, which was published in the Israel Medical Association Journal, showed the positive results of weed on the patients with Crohn’s.
These 30 patients had not responded to traditional or prescribed treatment. They admitted seeing improvement in their conditions with medical marijuana.
- In another study reviewing the weed’s effect on inflammatory bowel diseases, 13 patients were treated with cannabis therapy for three months. After the trial, all respondents reported large improvement in their symptoms.
- Marijuana was also found effective in minimizing colonic inflammation when it was tested on rats.
How Can Marijuana Help Treat Crohn’s Disease?
Marijuana has anti-inflammatory properties, making it an effective remedy for the inflammatory conditions like Crohn’s.
Though standard medications reduce bowel inflammation, they can pose side effects and cause dependence. Marijuana doesn’t cause dependence while its only side effect (which is actually a positive) is that it increases appetite.
People with Crohn’s are relied on antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress in the GI tract. Oxidative stress leads to signs of diarrhea and pain.
Marijuana is useful here as it’s cannabinoids like THC and CBD have antioxidant effects. They not only minimize oxidative stress in the bowels but also reduce the damage to the digestive tracts.
Inflammatory bowel disease may increase the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body, which can kill tissues and affect neurons in the intestines and the colon.
This can lead to thwarting of anti-inflammatory neurons in the GI tracts. Consequently, nervous system fails to control inflammation, aggravating the symptoms of IBD in later stages.
Marijuana addresses this concern among the patients as it is packed with the neuroprotective properties. It protects the neurons that also include the one which controls the digestive function. So here marijuana benefits the GI tract indirectly.
How to Use Marijuana for Crohn’s Disease?
So you must have understood how marijuana benefits the people with IBD. But it is equally important to understand the ways to use marijuana for Crohn’s disease.
Smoking marijuana is a common and effective way to treat Crohn’s.
But some patients are prone to coughing and respiratory problems when they smoke. Here they can choose to vaporize cannabis, though this is not that effective for Crohn’s disease.
Marijuana can also be taken as edibles like brownies and cookies.
Marijuana can be an effective alternative or at least can be a therapy to prevent Crohn’s from getting worse. However, you should consult your physician to know the ideal amount of marijuana for your condition.