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Medical Marijuana and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

April 20, 2020

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

More than twenty percent of Americans are impacted by gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel disease and inflammatory bowel diseases.  One in five Americans walk around daily with debilitating gastrointestinal issues and make due the best way they know how.  Women are disproportionately impacted by these gastrointestinal diseases.  There are many symptoms that accompany gastrointestinal diseases.  Cramping, nausea, rectal bleeding, abdominal swelling, chronic diarrhea, and weight loss.  Some underlying causes of gastrointestinal diseases are treatable by conventional medications while others are very contingent on diet and external remedies.

One specific underlying gastrointestinal disease is known as Crohn’s disease.  It is unknown the true cause of Crohn’s disease, however many believe that environment, genetics, and diet are believed to be the cause in most cases.  Whatever the cause the result is a chronic inflammatory disorder which focuses the body’s defense systems on its own healthy systems.  More specifically it targets the body’s own gastrointestinal tract.  Almost half of the overall risk is focused on seventy genes found related to genetics.  Smokers are targeted specifically hard with this disease.  Tobacco uses are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as nonsmokers.  As of 2020 there are no specific medications or surgeries that can arrest the spread of Crohn’s disease.  Treatment options are designed to help mitigate the symptoms and assist in alleviating pain and suffering experienced by the patient.  Patients with these disorders frequently report using cannabis therapeutically to address a variety of symptoms, including abdominal pain, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea. Observational trial data reports that whole-plant cannabis therapy is associated with a reduction in Crohn’s disease activity and disease-related hospitalizations.

Colitis is another gastrointestinal disease that falls under the label inflammatory bowel disorder.  Colitis describes the inflammation of the colon.  It can be acute and self limited or it can be long term.  Many of the symptoms of colitis are similar to what is found in a Crohn’s patient.  Abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, swelling and rectal bleeding are all commonly found in colitis patients as well.  Cannabis has been found to be beneficial to those suffering from colitis as well.  Cannabis use is common amongst patients with IBD for symptom relief, particularly amongst those with a history of abdominal surgery, chronic abdominal pain and/or a low quality of life index.  Specifically, researchers found that subjects who consumed cannabis “significantly reduced” their need for other medications. Participants in the trial also reported requiring fewer surgeries following their use of cannabis.  Based on the available evidence to date, some experts now opine that modulation of the ECS represents a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of numerous GI disorders — including inflammatory bowel disease, functional bowel diseases, gastro-oesophageal reflux conditions, secretory diarrhea, gastric ulcers and colon cancer.

Anti inflammatory properties found in more CBD heavy strains of cannabis seem to be more effective at treating the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disorders like Crohn’s and colitis.  Some examples of strains that fit this parameter include: Harlequin (Sativa), Pennywise (Indica), MediHaze (Sativa), Canna-Tsu (Hybrid), Cannatonic (Hybrid), Sweet and Sour Widow (Indica), Aliens on Moonshine (Indica), CBD Kush (Hybrid), and Stephen Hawking Kush (Hybrid).  Many patients have found marijuana alleviate symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.

The following information is presented for educational purposes only.  Cannabis and inflammatory bowel disease can be a potent combination. Summit Releaf distributes this information to provide an understanding of the potential benefits of medical marijuana for patients living with one of the approved Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program qualifying conditions for an Ohio marijuana card. Links to third party websites do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Summit Releaf and none should be inferred. cannabis and inflammatory bowel disease marijuana alleviate symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.

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