Chron’s Deisease & CBD
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes the lining of the digestive track 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.
Heredity and abnormal immune system behavior are likely what cause Crohn’s disease to develop. Those who have family members with the disease are more common to acquire it themselves. When the immune system responds to fight off a virus, bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms, at times it can respond abnormally and also attack the harmless cells in the digestive tract, which in turn leads to inflammation.
There is no confirmed cure for Crohn’s disease, but certain treatment methods can significantly reduce symptoms and in some cases, even bring about remission. Treatment efforts primarily include antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrhea and pain relief medications to manage the symptoms associated with the disease. In some cases, the use of a feeding tube to allow the digestive tract to rest and decrease inflammation, or surgery to remove the damaged portion of the digestive tract, may be required.
Findings: Effects of Cannabinoids and CBD on Crohn’s Disease / Colitis
Studies have found cannabis to effectively combat the symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease. Cannabinoids provide anti-inflammatory effects, subsequently reducing pain, offering nausea relief, and reducing the feelings of unpleasantness. One study, in which inflammatory bowel disease patients were treated with cannabis for three months, improvements in the patients’ general health perception, social functioning, ability to work, physical pain and depression were found. Participants also saw increases in body weight and BMI. In another study, patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease reported that cannabis was “very helpful” in relieving their abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea. Cannabis has also been found to improve appetite and sleep in Crohn’s disease patients. In what is likely due to cannabis’ ability to improve symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, cannabinoids have also been associated with a reduced need of other medications in patients with Crohn’s disease.
Research also suggests that cannabis may be effective at helping Crohn’s disease reach long-term remission. Medical cannabis use has been determined to be associated with an improvement in disease activity. In one study, cannabis rich in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) produced significant benefits to 10 or 11 patients with active Crohn’s disease, without side effects, and 5 of those 11 subjects achieved complete remission.