Medical Cannabis for Crohn’s Disease

Cannabis sativa, or marijuana, is a type of herb that has hundreds of chemical compounds named cannabinoids. They still have branches of chemical content, and two of those are THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). The former is the psychoactive compound of the plant that gives the intoxicated feeling to the user, while CBD is the non-psychoactive content. Both of them have been reported to have medical benefits. It’s just that THC is more controversial than CBD.

Medical cannabis is known to be an effective treatment if used in moderation and the right dosage. Some of its benefits work to relieve severe pain and reduce inflammation from different conditions such as cancer, chronic illnesses, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, and depression. Although there are pieces of evidence of its effectivity in the medical industry, federal law still prohibits its use because of its psychoactive effect to the brain.

Understanding Crohn’s Disease

According to a study, 780,000 Americans are known to have Crohn’s disease. For a better understanding of this condition, it belongs to the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) which cause abnormalities and malfunctions on the digestive tract. This type of condition may also lead to further complications such as colon cancer, fistulas, anal fissure, toxic megacolon, severe diarrhea, and malnutrition.

If you are a patient who has this disease, you might encounter symptoms like stomach pain, unexplainable weight loss, bloody stool due to infected intestines, inflammation of the eyes, and severe fever. Wandering how Crohn’s disease begins? Factors such as immune system activity, genes (heredity) (hygiene), and environment are some of the things that could trigger a flare-up of this illness.

However, gastroenterologists, or the specialists of the digestive tract, with the help of some scientists, conducted a clinical trial to treat the disease or cure it if possible. Medications come through the use of immunosuppressants, steroids, natural medicines and many other drugs that can be given as pills and injections.

One of the treatments that your doctor might suggest is to undergo a surgical operation to repair, or entirely remove, a part of your digestive tract. This appears to be necessary if your condition becomes harmful and cannot be cured by the medications listed above.

Thus, recent studies have posted a report regarding the use of medical cannabis for relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and preventing the distressing symptoms that Crohn’s could bring to the body.

The Use Of Medical Cannabis To Crohn’s Disease

Aside from the recreational use of cannabis, many people have been using it for almost centuries as a treatment to reduce pain and prevent symptoms due to various ailments. Cannabinoids, being the chemical compound of cannabis sativa, possesses anti-inflammatory properties that may help with chronic inflammatory diseases. It has been used to treat abdominal pains, anorexia, diarrhea, blockage of intestines due to inflammations, and even diabetes.

Meanwhile, scientists conducted a clinical trial in Israel. The intervention included 30 patients who suffer from Crohn’s disease and had become the subject of the analysis. Before proceeding to the said trial, they initiate medical examinations such as laboratory tests, blood tests, colonoscopy, biopsy, and general check-ups. These intend to know the condition, symptoms, and even determine whether the patients already went to any surgical operations before.

The clinical trial aims to develop and gather information about cannabis as a treatment for Crohn’s disease and whether it has a positive or adverse effect to the patients. As the process for the trial start, they gave 1-3 marijuana cigarettes daily as an average content to each patient. It lasts for about a couple of months, and after the tests, almost all the patients claimed to have a better quality of living upon using medical marijuana. According to them, it radically diminished severe pain and decreased the severity of their other symptoms.

Hence, there are 21 out of 30 patients who declared a major improvement. This includes a significant reduction of prescribed medicines due to the positive effect of cannabis in the treatment of their condition. Moreover, the results of the trial stated that cohorts had lessened the medication upon using marijuana, while the rest had completely stop using prescribed treatment for IBD. Lastly, chances of surgical operation to remove a part of the digestive system for some patients had been decreased. This was because of the numbers of daily bowel movements showed to be much lower than before.

Side Effects of Cannabis on Crohn’s Disease (Positive & Negative)

Even though several studies claimed the benefits of medical cannabis, side effects are still there. They just vary depending on the condition of the patient before they use the plant as a treatment.

There are two phases of side effects that medical cannabis could give to a patient who has Crohn’s disease. First are the short-term side effects. Due to its psychoactive compound, THC, it could provide a short-term memory problem, anxiety, paranoia, behavioral problems, panic, hallucinations, and lowered reaction time. However, all of them are still manageable and tend to just develop within 10-30 minutes after the cannabis had been taken. This could only happen if the dosage that a patient received were not appropriate to his or her condition.  

Then, the second phase of side effects that cannabis could bring includes a lower quality of satisfaction, increased heart rate, distorted perception of time and space, euphoria, calmness, and impaired coordination and concentration. However, the long-term side effects of cannabis on patients with Crohn’s disease still vary in how they make use of the plant.

Thus, the intake of large quantities of medical cannabis without any prescription from medical experts may lead to serious side effects such as the long-term ones. Remember that marijuana tends to affect the central nervous system of a patient who considered its use as a treatment.

Furthermore, Crohn’s disease is a severe condition that could lead to many serious complications. Besides, the use of cannabis is still illegal under federal law. This only means that your doctor’s prescription, medical examinations, and the law on your location are the things that you should consider before doing such actions.

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