A growing number of people with Crohn’s disease are turning to cannabis as a way to treat their symptoms. The plant has a variety of compounds, including two that can be helpful: delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol.
While the evidence is promising, it’s still limited. More studies are needed.
There are some observational studies that have been done on the role of cannabis in treating Crohn’s disease. These studies have found that use of cannabis reduces the number of medications required to manage Crohn’s disease symptoms and helps people with the condition control their appetite, which can be an important part of managing symptoms.
The role of cannabis in treating Crohn’s is still unclear, but it may help with pain and inflammation in some patients. The substance may have an anti-inflammatory effect on the intestines because it activates the body’s natural system of self-made neurotransmitters called the endocannabinoid system. This system, which lines the digestive tract and enteric nervous system, contains cannabinoid receptors.
Activation of the endocannabinoid receptors can also slow the inflammatory response of white blood cells, known as neutrophils. This decreases the inflammatory process and could improve the quality of life for patients with Crohn’s.
One small study compared the effects of cannabis oil (composed of 15% cannabidiol and 4% THC) with placebo oil in 22 participants with active Crohn’s who had failed at least one medical treatment. They found that the group that used marijuana oil had more success with clinical remission and had better scores on quality of life tests and the Crohn’s disease activity index. However, they also reported more side effects including sleepiness and nausea.
Another study compared cannabis cigarettes to placebo cigarettes in 11 people with Crohn’s who had not been controlled by other treatments. They found that five of the 11 patients who smoked the marijuana cigarettes had a clinical remission.
There’s also some research to suggest that CBD, the chemical found in cannabis, can help with Crohn’s. It’s believed that CBD may help relieve symptoms of pain, diarrhea, and loss of appetite by inhibiting the gastrointestinal inflammation caused by the endocannabinoid network. This would make it a useful treatment for patients with Crohn’s who can’t take other medicines.
As more and more states legalize medical marijuana, people with Crohn’s disease are looking for ways to manage their symptoms without relying on traditional medications. A growing number of patients are also experimenting with cannabis to relieve symptoms like pain, nausea, and appetite loss. But before you use cannabis, talk to your doctor.
Several clinical studies have shown that marijuana may improve the symptoms of IBD, but more research is needed. Some studies have also found that it can increase the risk of relapse and make you more likely to need surgery.
A study from Israel found that Crohn’s patients who used cannabis to treat their disease were able to improve their symptoms and quality of life. Researchers asked 30 patients with the disease about their symptoms, their reasons for using cannabis, and any other treatments they had taken in the past. Then they compared this information with medical documents.
The study showed that, after a few weeks of using cannabis to treat their disease, the patients had significant improvement in their symptoms and felt more relaxed. They also had fewer flare-ups and less pain, fatigue, and nausea.
Other research suggests that cannabis may reduce inflammation and improve the immune system. In addition, it can have anti-oxidant properties. This can help protect against oxidative stress, which is a buildup of unstable molecules in the body that can cause damage to gastrointestinal tissues and lead to disease.
According to Beaulieu, it’s important for doctors to be aware of the unique state laws pertaining to prescribing and using marijuana. This can be tricky, as many state laws prohibit physicians from recommending medical cannabis to patients. In addition, employers’ drug policies can have an impact on whether you can access cannabis at work.
Although it’s still illegal under federal law, some doctors are now recommending cannabis to their patients. But Beaulieu warns that marijuana can have side effects, such as anxiety and depression. She also notes that long-term use can lead to dependence, which can lead to addiction and other serious health problems.
However, she emphasizes that the evidence doesn’t rule out the possibility of a future role for cannabis in treating Crohn’s disease. “We know that medication noncompliance is associated with relapse of the disease, and we need more clinical trials to determine its effectiveness in this population,” she says.
Crohn’s disease can be treated with medication that reduces inflammation, eases pain and prevents complications. Medications also help you maintain healthy blood levels of vitamins, iron and calcium.
Your doctor will prescribe medications based on your symptoms and the severity of your disease. They may include anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics that treat bacterial infections in your digestive tract, such as abscesses or fistulas.
These medications can help to lower your risk of developing other complications, such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or strictures, which are narrowed areas in the digestive tract that don’t allow food to pass easily. They can also help you get more nutrients from your diet.
Anti-inflammatory medicines, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can help you with pain. They aren’t recommended for long-term use, though, as they can lead to ulcers and internal bleeding.
Other anti-inflammatory medicines can also help, including sulfasalazine and mesalamine. These drugs can help relieve mild and moderate symptoms of Crohn’s, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.
Medications that suppress the immune system can also help, especially for people with severe symptoms or for those who haven’t responded well to other drugs. The most common biologics are adalimumab (Humira), azathioprine and mercaptopurine, which your doctor injects under the skin.
You will need to take these medicines for a while and follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. They can lower your resistance to infection, but they can also cause side effects like nausea and vomiting.
Aside from these, you can choose a variety of other treatments for your Crohn’s. Some may be given to you by a nurse or doctor at home, while others require an appointment at a hospital.
In addition, your doctor will give you a diet that helps control your disease, including a list of foods to avoid or limit to reduce inflammation in your gut. They may recommend dietary supplements as well to keep you healthy.
In addition to these, you can also get medications to help stop diarrhea and to keep you from getting dehydrated. These can include antidiarrheal drugs, fluid replacements and a wide variety of other medicines that your doctor will prescribe based on your condition.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both inflammation-based inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). They can cause symptoms including weight loss, diarrhoea, and bleeding. They can also be difficult to treat. Symptoms can worsen over time, leading to chronic pain, anxiety, and stress.
Medications can help reduce symptoms and inflammation, but sometimes the best treatment is surgery. It can ease the severity of symptoms, reduce complications, and prevent further damage to your gastrointestinal tract, says Dr. Regueiro.
Surgery can be done on the small intestine, colon, or both. Your doctor may suggest an ileostomy, colostomy, or colonectomy to control symptoms and improve your quality of life. These procedures vary depending on the location and severity of your disease.
The most common surgery is laparoscopic ileo-cecal resection, which removes the cecum and the terminal ileum. This procedure has been shown to significantly reduce adhesions, which is a major problem with this condition.
Strictureplasty is another type of surgery that widens narrowed segments of the small intestine. This procedure is used to reduce the risk of short bowel syndrome, which occurs when people with Crohn’s disease have a shorter intestine than they should.
If your doctor recommends surgery, you’ll have to undergo a period of recovery before you can eat, drink, and use the bathroom normally again. Your doctor will give you a plan for your recovery and make sure that you follow it.
Complications of surgery can be painful and uncomfortable, so it’s important to take good care of yourself during the recovery process. If you experience any discomfort or pain, talk to your doctor immediately.
A few studies have explored the effects of cannabis on patients with Crohn’s disease. The first, in 2011, found that medical cannabis use was associated with a decrease in disease activity and a reduction in corticosteroid therapy. However, the researchers note that it is too early to tell if cannabis can be used as a stand-alone treatment for Crohn’s disease. They have recommended larger scale, longer follow-up studies on the effectiveness of cannabis in treating Crohn’s disease.