Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that is prevalent among adolescents and young adults. Studies have shown cannabis to be effective at decreasing digestive tract inflammation, and in some cases, helping patients achieve long-term remission.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes the lining of the digestive tract to become inflamed. The disease may affect as many as 700,000 Americans, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, causing abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, severe diarrhea, fever, weight loss, fatigue and malnutrition. The pain can be so intense that it becomes debilitating. In some cases, the disease can prove to be life-threatening.
According to Mayo Clinic, the most common area of the digestive tract affected by Crohn’s disease is at the end of the small bowel (the ileum) and the beginning of the colon. The disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, however, and will often spread deep into the layers of bowel tissue.
The benefits of medical cannabis will provide relief in three major categories for those affected by Crohn’s disease and the litany of negative symptoms that accompany the condition.
#1) Medical Cannabis will deal with the negative side effects of the pharmaceutical treatments some must undergo, such as the nausea resulting from chemotherapy and the anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by a doctor.
#2) Medical Cannabis will relieve the symptoms of Crohn’s, most notably pain, inflammation, and nausea. This is accomplished by THC, CBD, and THC-A (more on these cannabinoids in a moment). In fact, the greatest benefits derived from cannabis, aside from nausea relief, are as an analgesic (pain reliever) and anti-inflammatory agent.
#3) Medical Cannabis will relieve the core disease. A milestone study conducted in Israel in 2013 and published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology revealed that 45% of human study subjects experienced “complete remission” of their Crohn’s after eight weeks of 115 mg of smoked THC per day. It should be noted that this Israeli study revealed no negative side effects of smoked “marijuana.”
STATES THAT HAVE APPROVED MEDICAL CANNABIS FOR CROHN’S DISEASE
Currently, 23 states have approved medical cannabis to be used to treat Crohn’s disease. These states include: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York (inflammatory bowel disease), North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
A number of other states will allow medical cannabis to be used for the treatment of Crohn’s Disease, but require an approval or a recommendation by a physician. These states include: California (any debilitating illness where the medical use of cannabis has been recommended by a physician), Nevada (other conditions subject to approval), and Oregon (other conditions subject to approval).
In Washington D.C., any condition can be approved for medical cannabis as long as a DC-licensed physician recommends the treatment.
Beneficial Cannabinoids and Terpenoids Useful for Treating Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis:
The following chart denotes which cannabinoids and terpenoids work synergistically with each other for possible therapeutic benefit. It may be beneficial to seek out strains that contain these cannabinoids and terpenoids.
During a lecture in Costa Rica in 2015, Mara Gordon, a specialist in the development of cannabis extract treatment protocols for seriously ill patients, described how the cannabinoids THC, CBD, and THC-A are especially beneficial for patients with Crohn’s and other forms of IBD and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Americans For Safe Access Condition-based Booklets
These booklets summarize the history of medical cannabis and the recent research used to treat a variety of conditions, including Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Pain, Arthritis, GastroIntestinal Disorders, Movement Disorders, HIV/AIDS, and conditions related to Aging. (About Americans For Safe Access)
A Patient's Guide to Medical Cannabis
This guide for patients who use medical marijuana (cannabis) covers everything you need to know. Created by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a non-profit advocacy organization, this publication will help individuals who are using or considering cannabis treatments to better educate themselves, their families and their physicians. ASA has been developing information resources about medical marijuana (cannabis) for patients, their families, doctors, and elected officials for over a decade.
The effectiveness of cannabis and its derivatives for treating gastrointestinal disorders has been known for centuries. Recently, its value as an antiemetic and analgesic has been proven in numerous studies.
Article: "How to Qualify for Medical Cannabis in New Mexico"
Understanding medical cannabis.Elemental Wellness Center, 2014 Jul.
STUDIES ON CANNABIS’ EFFECT ON CROHN’S DISEASE
Three months of inhaled cannabis treatment caused an increase in quality of life measurements, disease activity index and caused gains in weight and body mass index in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
Impact of cannabis treatment on the quality of life, weight and clinical disease activity in inflammatory bowel disease patients: a pilot prospective study.
Acharya, N., Penukonda, S., Shcheglova, T., Hagymasi, A.T., Basu, S., and Srivastava, P.K. (2017, March 27). Endocannabinoid system acts as a regulator of immune homeostasis in the gut. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, 114(19), 5005-5010. Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/114/19/5005.full.
Crohn’s disease. (2014, August 13). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/crohns-disease/basics/definition/con-20032061.
Hergenrather, J. (2005, Autumn). Cannabis alleviates symptoms of Crohn’s disease. O’Shaughnessy’s. Retrieved from http://cannabisclinicians.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Cannabis-for-Crohns-Disease.pdf.
Lahat, A., Lang, A., and Ben-Horin, S. (2012). Impact of cannabis treatment on the quality of life, weight and clinical disease activity in inflammatory bowel disease patients: a pilot prospective study. Digestion, 85(1), 1-8. Retrieved from https://www.karger.com/Article/Purchase/332079.
Ravikoff Allegretti, J., Courtwright, A., Lucci, M., Korzenik, J.R., and Levine, J. (2013, December). Marijuana use patterns among patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, 19(13), 2809-14. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4126607/.
What Are Crohn’s & Colitis? (n.d.). Crohn’s & Colitis. Retrieved from http://www.ccfa.org/what-are-crohns-and-colitis/what-is-crohns-disease/.