Cannabis and Crohn’s Disease: Can It Help Reduce Symptoms?  

Even though there has been no large research on Crohn’s disease and medical marijuana, surprisingly even in Israel, Europe, or the United States, there haven’t been any. Despite the paucity of substantial research available, despite the lack of evidence to support it.

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects millions of people worldwide. When looking at broader cannabinoid and IBD research, the general trend of patient-reported symptom alleviation persists. This study suggests that further research on Crohn’s disease and marijuana is needed, with possible therapeutic applications in this group including pain modulation, nausea management, and intestinal motility.

At this time, there is no clinical data demonstrating that cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can reduce Crohn’s disease symptoms. However, animal and human studies continue to suggest promise, and they are still being examined. Because there are no large-scale studies and the dosages used in the small studies varied widely, there is currently insufficient evidence to determine cannabis doses for people with Crohn’s disease. Continue reading to learn about why many Crohn’s patients utilize medical marijuana to alleviate certain symptoms.

Considerations for Cannabis

Marijuana users who have Crohn’s disease may experience the following benefits:

  • Management of pain improved
  • Quality of life improved
  • Appetite regained
  • A decrease in anxiety and depression caused by the condition
  • An increase in appetite
  • Steroid needs are reduced 
  • Diarrhea decreased

Cannabis uses for Crohn’s disease have the following downsides:

  • Interactions between some medications and other medications, such as anxiety and depression medications and alcohol
  • Many insurance companies do not cover medical marijuana
  • Liver damage is possible
  • Anxiety can be increased if you take too much at once
  • Cannabis can cause mild side effects such as dry mouth, drowsiness, sleepiness, mood fluctuations, feeling “high”, nausea, anxiety, and paranoia.

Patients occasionally combine cannabis with tobacco, according to Crohn’s disease experts. This is not suggested since nicotine in tobacco may aggravate Crohn’s signs and cause other negative health consequences, according to the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research. Other methods of ingestion, such as cannabis oil and edibles, are also accessible.

How Cannabis Can Help Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that generally affects the end of the small intestine and beginning of the colon. The other type of IBD is ulcerative colitis. The intestines become scarred and inflamed, causing severe belly discomfort, diarrhea, and a loss of appetite. It can also lodge in other bodily tissues, such as the eyes, skin, and joints, as well as necessitating emergency intestinal surgery and hospitalization due to fistula development and other serious issues. 

Cannabis has been shown in some studies to help reduce abdominal discomfort and trips to the bathroom. It is also said to assist with nausea, diarrhea, hunger, and quality of life in people with this illness as a result of their social and daily living restrictions.

According to one review study, cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects may be due to the activation of the endocannabinoid system, a fat-based system of self-made neurotransmitters that regulates inflammation. When CB2 receptors (cannabinoid receptors) in intestinal tissue are activated, P-glycoprotein (P-gp) lowers the inflammatory response of white blood cells called neutrophils. This inhibits the body’s self-attack mechanism by slowing down the rate at which it destroys itself. This is also known as an autoimmune response.

Science Says What?

The first cannabis study was done by Timna Naftali on Crohn’s disease and the plant. The 2011 research examined 30 patients with Crohn’s disease and their disease severity before and after cannabis administration. Dr. Naftali discovered that many individuals were able to cut back on drugs, including anti-inflammatory steroids. Around 70% of the participants in the study claimed that their symptoms had improved. Other findings included a reduction in bowel movements per day as well as an improvement in overall health.

Crohn’s disease is a severe form of inflammatory bowel disease that causes numerous unpleasant and debilitating gastrointestinal symptoms, operations, and reduced quality of life. In a 2020 systematic review of several small cannabinoid and IBD studies, patients reported symptom relief including abdominal pain, general well-being, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

However, there isn’t enough evidence yet to make any definitive conclusions regarding the advantages, risks, or clinical benefit of cannabis in Crohn’s disease. Cannabinoids have been shown in animal and laboratory studies to have anti-secretory, anti-motility, and anti-inflammatory effects that may be beneficial for humans.

Cannabis and Crohn’s Disease: A Patient’s Experience

Karolina Kristina, a disability advocate, was contacted by Veriheal regarding her medical use of cannabis to relieve her Crohn’s disease symptoms. When asked why she started utilizing medicinal marijuana, she responded that despite attempting numerous conventional medicines while being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, she had a lot of trouble controlling nausea.

Karolina, for example, uses medical marijuana to relieve nausea and minimize her appetite. The ability to increase hunger through the use of marijuana may be life-changing for IBD patients; it’s tough to get back on your feet when you don’t have enough energy. If you’ve ever heard the term “munchies,” you know that cannabis is infamous for encouraging gluttony.

Unfortunately, because there isn’t enough research on Crohn’s patients’ dosage, Karolina must experiment with different variables to discover a tool like cannabis that effectively relieves recurring nausea and other symptoms of Crohn’s disease-related gut inflammation.

Before using medicinal marijuana to address symptoms for your medical issue, make sure you speak with a doctor/gastroenterologist.

*DigiDrs is not offering this as professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self diagnose, or prescribe treatment based on the information provided in these pages. Consult a physician before making decisions on the treatment of any of these medical conditions.

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