Cannabis, Crohn’s and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic condition characterized by repeated immune response and inflammation occurring in the gastrointestinal tract. IBD affects over 1 million Americans each year.
The 2 most prevalent inflammatory bowel diseases are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis affects only the colon and Crohn’s disease may affect any and all parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
The symptoms of Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis include diarrhea, cramping, and other digestive problems. The cause is an overactive immune system, or autoimmunity. Autoimmunity is when our immune system malfunctions and attacks our own body. Other common autoimmune diseases are lupus, rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, and celiac disease.
Crohn’s disease is caused by the immune system attacking the good bacteria in our digestive systems. The human digestive system is full of good bacteria, or probiotics, that break down food into compounds that our body uses for energy and nourishment. A healthy immune system recognizes these good bacteria and leaves them alone while patrolling the body for bad ones. Irritable bowel diseases arise when the immune system decides to attack and kill the good bacteria.
This phenomenon is similar to taking a strong antibiotic and having cramps or diarrhea. The digestive problems are the side effect of the antibiotic killing the good bacteria in your gut. This is how it is for Crohn’s patients all the time.
It’s estimated that 2/3 of Crohn’s patients will require surgery at some point in their life. The symptoms are chronic and include:
- rectal bleeding
- abdominal cramps and pain
- loss of appetite
- loss of menstrual cycle
- weight loss
How medical cannabis helps Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis
Crohn’s disease is one of the easiest conditions to treat using cannabis according to our research. We have over 20 Crohn’s patients and ALL of them respond positively to any cannabinoid therapy. I’m going to focus only on THC and CBDs efficacy for treating Crohn’s disease.
Cannabidiol (CBD) helps Crohn’s patients by treating both the cause and some symptoms of their condition. CBD naturally suppresses the immune system. Safely suppressing the immune system stops the immune response that kills the good bacteria and causes the inflammation of the GI tract. CBD also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that eases the pain caused by Crohn’s.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) helps Crohn’s sufferers with by relieving pain through different receptor pathways. THC also increases appetite and helps the patient gain weight and build strength to facilitate the immune system achieving homeostasis.
This explanation hasn’t mentioned the hundreds of terpenoids found in cannabis. Some of them also help assuage the causes or symptoms of Crohn’s.
This explanation of how the medical properties of cannabis help inflammatory bowel diseases comes back to the human endocannabinoid system. This system regulates our immune system. If your endocannabinoid system is not balanced, your immune system will not function properly causing chronic problems like Crohn’s disease. The human body needs cannabinoids to be healthy, just like it needs vitamin c or h. The only place to get these cannabinoids is the cannabis plant.
Crohn’s disease is one of the 8 conditions that Georgia accepts as a qualifying condition to use cannabis oil. Unfortunately, many doctors are not giving their patients cannabis recommendations. This doesn’t mean that cannabis treatment isn’t highly effective.
If you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you can’t go wrong with cannabinoid therapy. Unlike epilepsy, IBD patients respond well to any strain and any delivery method. Our patients report that oral tinctures made with vegetable glycerin provide the longest relief and largest reduction of symptoms.
Contact Halcyon Organics if you or someone you know suffers from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis and wants to learn more about cannabinoid therapy.
By Daniel Macris, founder and ceo of Halcyon Organics.
© 2015 Halcyon Organics