Crohn’s disease is challenging. It can cause pain, feelings of embarrassment, and can make simple things like going to the bathroom difficult and time-consuming. People with Crohn’s don’t look sick on the outside, so it can be hard for others to understand what they are going through. If you’re curious about an alternative treatment that can help with the physical and emotional stress of Crohn’s diseases, keep reading because this article is for you. Let’s explore the link between cannabis and Crohn’s and whether it can help people find the relief they need to live a better life.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a chronic illness that’s part of a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel disease. It’s characterized by severe inflammation of the digestive system. While Crohn’s can affect any part of the digestive tract, it often targets the lower part of the small intestine called the ileum. It’s thought to be caused by a combination of factors including environmental, bacterial, and immune issues in people who are genetically susceptible to the disease.
The most common symptoms are abdominal pain and diarrhea. Other symptoms include weight loss, fever, and bleeding from the rectum. Crohn’s can also cause complications like intestinal ulcers, blockages, problems absorbing nutrients, joint pain, and skin issues.
Crohn’s disease involves more than just dealing with stomach pains. Patients also live with things like unpredictable flare-ups, frequent trips to the bathroom, frequent doctor visits, limitations to activity, uncomfortable medical tests, and medication side effects.
While a Crohn’s diagnosis can make the future look bleak, many patients are finding hope with alternative treatments like cannabis. Let’s take a look at how cannabis can help people with Crohn’s live a better quality of life.
Cannabis and Crohn’s Disease
The first-line approach for Crohn’s is usually to reduce inflammation of the bowls. Most treatment options include medications, nutritional supplements, or surgery to remove affected areas of the GI tract. While some of these options are effective, they don’t work for everyone and can come with a slew of unwanted side effects. The good news is that cannabis has the potential to help.
Cannabis has been used as a treatment for gastrointestinal issues for centuries, and there has been a lot of anecdotal evidence about its effectiveness for helping manage Crohn’s. How does it work? The cannabinoids found in cannabis can bind to the receptors in the brain that help the body regulate the gastrointestinal tract.
While both THC and CBD can help relieve Crohn’s symptoms, THC can reduce inflammation while also relieving pain, reducing nausea and vomiting, and stimulating a low appetite. For those who want a non-psychoactive option, CBD is a great choice. It can reduce inflammation while promoting clear-headed, calming effects. It’s also a powerful antibacterial that can help patients heal from infected fissures.
On top of providing physical relief, cannabis may help ease the anxiety and depression that often come along with a disease like Crohn’s. It may help reduce the constant worry about the next flare-up and the depression that can develop from embarrassment or feelings of hopelessness.
Research on Cannabis for Crohn’s
In addition to the anecdotal evidence, there are also new scientific studies that are uncovering how medical cannabis can treat Crohn’s. In a 2013 study, cannabis was shown to significantly impact patients suffering from Crohn’s compared to a placebo. In an 8-week course of THC-rich cannabis, 10 of the 11 patients experienced symptom reduction without side effects.
In another study at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Israel, Dr. Adi Lahat stated that treatment with inhaled cannabis improves the quality of life in patients with Crohn’s disease. He added that the data demonstrate a significant improvement in almost every aspect of a patient’s day-to-day life.
The Bottom Line?
We still need more research before the mainstream medical community can get on board with cannabis for Crohn’s, but what we do know is very promising. There are also thousands of reports from patients across the world who have found relief from inflammatory bowel disease by medicating with cannabis.
If you would like more information on how medical cannabis could help relieve your gastrointestinal issues, make an appointment with us today. Our knowledgeable staff is happy to answer any of your questions and help get you on the road to feeling better.