How marijuana can help you manage your Crohn's Disease

It’s no secret today that medical marijuana can help with a variety of different illnesses, ailments and conditions. Now, studies testing the effects of cannabis on Crohn’s disease are becoming more widely published and accepted. And at the end of the multiple studies that have been done, it’s been proven that medical marijuana can be very helpful for those dealing with this sometimes debilitating condition.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

chrohns-diseaseCrohn’s disease is a disease that affects the intestinal tract, causing a great deal of inflammation anywhere within that tract, from the mouth through to the rectum. In most cases it leaves the affected person unable to work, function properly, and can render them largely immobile. In the worst of cases it can be fatal, although these cases are rare.

Saying that Crohn’s disease is ‘uncomfortable’, which many people do, is a huge understatement. The pain, usually located in the abdominal area can be intense, and it is usually accompanied by other symptoms including weight loss, fever, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and irritations in the skin and eyes.

While Crohn’s disease is currently a disease without a cure, it is comprised of period of flare-ups followed by periods of remission. During a flare-up, the symptoms will become increasingly worse as inflammation is at its highest point. When the disease is managed with the right treatment and proper diet, Crohn’s disease can remain in remission for long periods of time.

In the past, pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements have largely been prescribed to help patients keep that remission in check and save them from the very painful symptoms. When pharmaceuticals and supplements were found to be ineffective, surgery was sometimes advised to remove part of the colon and alleviate symptoms. But today, medical marijuana is also being shown to have a very positive affect on the disease and bring the relief that those suffering from it so badly need; and in a much less invasive manner.

How does Marijuana Help Crohn’s Disease?

marijuana-in-a-farThe first widely publicized study on the effect of medical marijuana on Crohn’s disease was done in 2011. This study, published in the Israel Medical Association Journal, gave studied 30 Crohn’s disease patients that had not responded to traditional medications. In place of those medications, those patients were given medical marijuana. At the end of the study, all patients stated that medical marijuana improved their overall well-being, helping them deal with and control the symptoms of their disease.

Another study was done in 2013 involving 21 patients; but this time, not all were given medical marijuana. This study, published in the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology journal, gave full joints that included both THC and CBD to approximately half of the patients in the study. The other half smoked joints as well, but those joints were placebos that had the THC extracted from them. Not surprisingly, the group that had smoked the THC reported large improvements in their symptoms while the half that smoked the placebos reported very little change.

The science behind medical marijuana positively affecting Crohn’s disease is that the THC and CBD both work together to improve symptoms. The CBD works to reduce the inflammation, which is the primary reason for most Crohn’s disease symptoms. It also acts on the central nervous system to reduce nausea, pain, and stress. The THC on the other hand, can work to improve a person’s mood, which is very important as depression can also sometimes accompany Crohn’s disease. THC can also improve the sleeplessness that affects those suffering from Crohn’s disease, although once the CBD relieves some of the pain, that may also improve insomnia and sleeplessness.

But, these findings don’t come without some risk, just as any other medical treatment does. The biggest risk is that medical marijuana may only mask things such as inflammation and pain, making patients feel better without actually improving the physical ailments. This can lead patients to think that the disease is in remission when it’s not.

Best Cannabis Uses for Crohn’s Diseasemarijuana-edibles

While it’s very good to understand that using cannabis can be effective when treating Crohn’s disease, it’s just as important to understand how different cannabis uses can affect the disease.

Smoking is most definitely the most common way of consuming cannabis, and it’s a common form of using medical marijuana as well. And when it comes to treating Crohn’s disease, it’s a very effective way, as well. But some patients don’t want to smoke cannabis because it comes with some negative side effects, including coughing and negatively affecting the respiratory system. While it is the method that will get patients feeling the effects the quickest, it’s also the method that will wear off the quickest.

Many medical patients choose to vaporize cannabis to combat some of these effects, this method has been shown to not be as effective when using it to treat Crohn’s disease.

For those that don’t want to smoke medical marijuana, ingesting it in the form of edibles is very effective as well. Eating brownies, cookies, or even things such as salad dressing that’s been infused with cannabis can be a great way to reap all the positive effects marijuana has to offer. Eating edibles does take longer to feel the effects, as long as an hour or two. However, the effects can also last much longer, up to six or seven hours.

For those that are suffering from Crohn’s disease, which is known to be debilitating and have excruciating side effects, medical marijuana has been proven in many studies to help ease those symptoms. But the consumption method of choice does matter, and for those who want to get the most out of it, smoking it or indulging in edibles is the best course to take.

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