Medical cannabis can significantly reduce Crohn’s disease activity, hospitalizations and your need for other medications.
Crohn’s Disease is a gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that’s in the same family as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colitis.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common problem and targets your intestines.
How many people are affected?
1 in 5 Americans suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and colitis.
IBS leads to cramps, pain, gas and bloating, as well as constipation or diarrhea, and sometimes both for some extra lucky people. [cite]
Varies widely, from benign to very severe. 13-20% of patients experience chronic Crohn’s. It can’t be cured even with surgery, treatments are now available that can offer significant help to most patients. [cite]
not enough fiber in diet
not enough exercise
eating too much dairy
travel/changes in routine
overusing laxatives as they weaken bowel muscles
using antacids with calcium or aluminum
certain medicines (antidepressants, iron pills, and strong pain medicines such as narcotics)
How Cannabis Helps
In gastroenterology, cannabis has been used to treat anorexia, emesis, abdominal pain, gastroenteritis, diarrhea, intestinal inflammation, and diabetic gastroparesis.
Cannabis helps slow the digestive system and therefore helps slow diarrhea. Many people report symptoms 30 minutes to an hour after a meal, because eating causes colon muscle contractions and stimulates an urge to have a bowel movement.
It also relaxes muscle spasms, eases pain, reduces cramps typically associated with Crohn’s and IBS.
Women with IBS may have more symptoms during their menstrual periods. Cannabis helps reduce PMS symptoms.
Stress plays a big part in Crohn’s and cannabis can help you focus and stay present in the moment, like connecting with nature by talking a long walk, or playing with your cat for a few hours. Even small things can help.
Vaporing at the right temperature plays a large part in helping relieve Crohn’s symptoms like inflammation, stimulating appetite, slowing down the digestive system and suppressing the immune system.
Medical Marijuana as an Alternative to Prescription Drugs?
Different drugs used for Crohn’s disease range from sulfasalazine, to antibiotics in mild cases, to oral corticosteroids, azathioprine, methotrexate, and tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors in moderate and severe cases. The use of tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors has revolutionized the therapy of severe Crohn’s disease. [cite]
From the Elsevier medical textbook “Abdominal Imaging” by Dushyant V. Sahani and Anthony E. Samir.
This same study finds: “Cannabis may have a positive effect on Crohn’s disease activity, as reflected by a reduction in disease activity index and in the need for other drugs and surgery.”
“Of particular interest is the observation that cannabis may have a steroid-sparing effect, since the number of patients requiring steroid treatment was reduced from 26 to 4. Fifteen of the patients had 19 surgeries during an average period of 9 years before cannabis use, but only 2 required surgery during an average period of 3 years of cannabis use.”
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