I have heard that cannabis can help with Crohn's Disease. Is it better than traditional pharmaceutical drugs?
3 years ago
I was diagnosed with Crohn's 10 years ago and have suffered on and off from the inflammation. I am curious as to how cannabis may help me with the discomfort I experience or if it can make it better.
Answer - Doctor Marsha Bluto
Treatment of Crohn’s Disease with traditional pharmaceutical drugs usually starts by administering drugs with high anti-inflammatory effects. Once the inflammation is successfully controlled, immunosuppressants are used to control the symptoms. Some of the common side effects of these drugs are outlined below.
Anti-inflammatory drugs: Oral 5-aminosalicylates such as sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), which contains sulfa, and mesalamine (Asacol, Delzicol, Pentasa, Lialda, Apriso) have a number of side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, heartburn and headache. Corticosteroids such as prednisone have numerous side effects, including a puffy face, excessive facial hair, night sweats, insomnia and hyperactivity. More-serious side effects include high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, bone fractures, cataracts, glaucoma and increased chance of infection.
Immunosuppressants: Azathioprine (Imuran) and mercaptopurine (Purinethol) can be associated with inflammation of the liver or pancreas and bone marrow suppression. Long term, although rarely, they are associated with certain infections and cancers including lymphoma and skin cancer. They may also cause nausea and vomiting. Infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira) and certolizumab pegol (Cimzia) are TNF inhibitors or “biologics,” and work by neutralizing an immune system protein known as tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Tuberculosis and other serious infections have been associated with the use of immune-suppressing drugs. They are also associated with certain cancers, including lymphoma and skin cancers. Methotrexate (Rheumatrex) also has side effects including nausea, fatigue and diarrhea. Rarely, it can cause potentially life-threatening pneumonia. Long-term use can lead to bone marrow suppression, scarring of the liver and sometimes to cancer. Cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune) and tacrolimus (Astagraf XL, Hecoria). Cyclosporine has the potential for serious side effects, such as kidney and liver damage, seizures, and fatal infections. Natalizumab (Tysabri), Ustekinumab (Stelara) and vedolizumab (Entyvio) Natalizumab is associated with a rare but serious risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy — a brain disease that usually leads to death or severe disability. Vedolizumab is not associated with brain disease.
So how about trying cannabis: Our body has its own cannabinoid system referred to as the endocannabinoid system and we have cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, in the digestive system. The cannabinoid system has been shown to be involved in regulating the immune system through its immunomodulatory properties. Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory response and reduce disease symptoms. This happens through multiple, complicated biochemical pathways.
Patients suffering from Crohn's disease, or from any type of irritable bowel disease, have a higher level of cannabinoid receptors in their gastrointestinal tract. The endocannabinoids found in cannabis can help to reduce the inflammation. In 2013, the Journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that 10 of 11 patients in the cannabis group of a study had a significant reduction in their symptoms and 5 had complete remission with the use of cannabis.
Cannabis has proven to be analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, neuroprotective and has possible anti-tumor effects. Used properly, cannabis has little if any adverse side effects.
Answer - Doctor Mark Edmunds
Doctor's tend to like data, and a literature search on Crohn's disease and cannabis will reveal an abundance of data supporting cannabis for the treatment of Crohn's disease. You might want to review an article written for the lay-person that references several studies, such as "Worth repeating: medical mairjuana defeat's Crohn's disease" published in SF Gate on March 12, 2016.
As this article points out, there have been several studies using cellular, animal, and human models indicating that marijuana may not only be used for treating the symptoms of Crohn's disease (such as cramping, pain, and nausea) but may also reverse the disease process by modulating the immune system and decreasing inflammation. As a result, many patients have been able to wean off corticosteroids, opiates, and anti-inflammatory drugs and even potentially prevent surgeries necessitated by the disease.
Answer - Owner of Bianca's Baked, healthy cannabis foods
I agree with @CannaBear that a combination of a high CBD and a little THC to make the CBD the most beneficial ("entourage effect") but hopefully not make you paranoid. A tincture of CBD and THC might be best, but can be hard to source. Where are you located? We all want to help! Don't give up!
Answer - Seen a lot of benefits from cannabis. Research junkie. Spreading love and knowledge.
Oh man! That's not the answer for you so let's not do that. Cannabis is all about experimentation in order to find the right treatment for yourself. I'm hoping one of the doctors will hop on here to confirm but I think the best treatment for crohns is a high CBD and some thc tincture that you drop under your tongue. Orally injested cannabis affects you differently than smoking it and the CBD in the tincture will help keep away the paranoia and the anxiety of your condition. There's something that will work for you, trust me! You just have to try things until you find out what works for you. Where are you located?
Answer - Herbal Advisor at Green Door West.
Crohn's disease can be treated with Cannabis, as it limits the inflammation of the intestines. Research at the Institute of Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases at Chaim Sheba Medical Center discovered that the inhalation of the Cannabis plant improved the quality of live for those suffering from Inflammatory Bowl Disease. A side effect of using medical cannabis is increase in appetite which can lead to healthy weight gain and overall improvement of symptoms. Sour Diesel (Sativa) and Granddaddy Purple (Indica) are two strains we supply at Green Door West and both supply pain relief.
Answer - Co-founder & CEO
Here is some info on Crohns that was previously addressed on our site that may be helpful to you: