Can Marijuana Help With Crohn’s Disease?
Medical marijuana has recently been developed into a treatment for painful gastrointestinal disorders that involve bowel inflammation and cramping. These diseases include colitis, Crohn’s disease, and Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Mostly, with these diseases’ patients can suffer from cramping, inflammation, chronic pain, weight loss, and diarrhea. Medical marijuana is often able to reduce these symptoms substantially.
Crohn’s disease represents a chronic autoimmune inflammatory bowel disorder that causes intense, serious pain and the cause of this disease is unknown. Digestion is severely affected, and in very few cases it can be fatal. This disease is very destructive to the intestine and we have over 500,000 people in the US who suffer from Crohn’s disease. In the states that have approved medical marijuana, Crohn’s disease is an accepted condition for usage.
Traditional medications used for Crohn’s include immunosuppressive ones such as Imuran, methotrexate, steroids, Mesalamine, and Remicade. These medications often cause the same symptoms as the disease including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Steroids have some side effects that may include adrenal dysfunction, bone thinning, ulcers, and glucose intolerance.
Different studies have shown promising results for medicinal marijuana alleviating the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s and it has been proven that medical marijuana helps as an anti-inflammatory. Users of medical marijuana for Crohn’s disease found themselves able to reduce – if not eliminate – the need for steroid treatment and to reduce the immunosuppressive medications, as well as Mesalamine.
A study from 2001 called Cannabinoids and the Gastrointestinal Tract found that the cannabinoids found in marijuana represent a potentially excellent option that can treat numerous Gastrointestinal disorders – including inflammatory bowel diseases, functional bowel diseases, gastroesophageal reflux conditions, secretory diarrhea, gastric ulcers, and colon cancer. There are receptors both in the brain and the GI system named CB1 receptors. In animals the study revealed that agonists for these receptors delayed gastric emptying and inhibited gastric acid secretion. CB1 receptors are mostly located in the brain.
Another study in 2005 published in O’Shaughnessy’s found that marijuana assisted a lot with the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. It was a pilot study using marijuana at the Society of Cannabis Clinicians in a dozen patients with Crohn’s and the patients described significant improvement for appetite, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and depression. It resulted in less flare-ups and fewer stools per day and patients were able to decrease the amount of immunosuppressive medications necessary as well. For all the signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease evaluated in the study, the patients described marked improvements with the use of marijuana. Beneficial effects were reported for appetite, pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, activity, and depression. Patients also reported that marijuana use resulted in weight gain, fewer stools per day and fewer flare-ups of less severity.
Medical marijuana has been utilized to increase appetite, reduce depression, anxiety, vomiting and weight loss, as well as used as a pain suppressant for lots of individuals with other diseases. Multiple sclerosis, chronic pain sufferers and cancer patients have all discovered these benefits with the use of medical marijuana. Therefore, it is no surprise that cannabis is also being used by people who suffer from Crohn’s disease for the same symptoms.