Cannabis and Crohn’s disease
Cannabis and Crohn’s disease? Can marijuana use help against this serious disease?
Cannabis has been considered medicinal for centuries. In the present, some individuals consider this herb to be the ultimate cure for every ailment. The truth is that the substances contained in cannabis can work wonders, and from time to time they can even handle something that today’s medicine is short on. Is there any chance that the marihuana could become a treatment for Crohn’s patients?
What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease belongs to the group of inflammatory bowel diseases and is chronical. This autoimmune disease primarily affects the digestive tract. In some cases, problems with the digestive tract are so severe that it can put the patient’s life at risk.
- Pain in the abdominal muscles
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Digestive disorders
In severe cases, part of the colon is removed. Sometimes such a large amount is removed that a colostomy tube has to be inserted.
A large number of people suffer from this disease and therefore the hunt for a cure is so important. Unfortunately, no curative miracle or medical procedure has yet been discovered that can reverse the effects of this disease. There are, for example, immunosuppressive drugs that can halt the progression of the disease, but the symptoms still remain and negative side effect are very serious.
And now comes the expected question. What about cannabis? Could cannabinoids be an alternative to today’s medicine? There is no demonstrable evidence yet, but let’s see what the actual research says on this question.
Cannabis and Crohn’s disease research
No cure has yet been found for Crohn’s disease, and that includes cannabis. So the next question was: can cannabis keep Crohn’s disease at bay?
One piece of research took place in 2018 at the University of Western Ontario, where the effectiveness of cannabinoids to quell the disease was investigated. However, the results were not nearly as conclusive as many would have liked.
Dr. Dustin Sulak is one of the lead researchers in this field. He himself has an optimistic view on the subject. Like the aforementioned study, he confirmed that a cure has not yet been found. However, there are studies on animals where a correlation has been confirmed (cannabis had an effect on Crohn’s disease).
Another prominent scientist with an interest in Crohn’s disease and cannabis research in general is Dr Jeffrey Hergenrather from California. He is currently conducting a word study at Ichil Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel. His observations have so far collected data from five hundred patients but he hopes to have data from at least a thousand patients.
Both Dr. Sulak and Hergenrather spoke of their stimulating results.
“So far we have treated over 400 people who suffer from chronic intestinal inflammation and we have seen the full range of effects. For some patients, cannabis has worked together with their own medication. The subsequent decline in the disease lasted even when we dropped the medication and let the marijuana work. We also had the opportunity to observe patients who were not benefiting from conventional medications because of side effects. Cannabis came up as an alternative and it worked, unfortunately not for everyone”, says Dr. Sulak.
“Roughly half of my patients that I treat with medical marijuana have stopped taking conventional medications. We exclusively use CBD-rich varieties and of course cannabis extracts”, says Dr. Hergenrather.
Unfortunately, everything is subjective. That’s why it happens that cannabis works for someone and not for another. CBD oil will help some, THCA will help others. At the moment, it is impossible to make something that works the same for everyone.
Is there a risk associated with cannabis and Crohn’s disease?
An interesting case is that of journalist Angela Bacca. She has been covering cannabis topics for over twelve years and has had Crohn’s disease for fifteen years. She herself claims that cannabis is the same type of medicine as regular pills from pharmacies.
Quite a strange claim from someone who has been covering marijuana from a journalistic standpoint. But the truth is that she didn’t directly equate medical marijuana with pills. The similarity is that both options address the effects, not the cause.
“I know very well what the endocannabinoid system is and I know how it works. It’s about understanding that there are other ways to elevate that system. You can’t think you’re sick, take a pill and all of a sudden you’re healthy. Maybe that’s how it works with the flu, but not with Crohn’s. You can elevate the endocannabinoid system, for example, with a healthy lifestyle, regular sleep, exercise, meditation, drinking clean water and a different attitude overall.”
“Cannabis should be your gateway to the world of herbs and healthy living. Do you know how many people have no idea about the concept of a healthy, lifestyle? There will be risks, always and everywhere. The risk is when you have a donut in the morning. The only risk that comes with marijuana is the risk of overdoing it. But it’s always good to know everything about what you’re getting into your body, so consult a doctor”, Ms. Bacca’s opinion.
How exactly does cannabis help?
“We should not only know ways to prevent diseases, but also how to treat diseases. Cannabis will not cure Crohn’s, at least for me it didn’t help. But a lot of symptoms disappeared,” says Ms Bacca.
Cannabis can therefore stimulate the appetite, thus reversing weight loss. It is well known that it can improve our sleep, as well as relieve pain.
Medical marijuana may not be able to conquer this disease, but it can rid you of very unpleasant side effects.
Published by Jan Veselý05/09/2021