Crohn's Disease and Medical Cannabis

According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Crohn’s Disease is a type of “inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.” The disease can impact a person’s day-to-day life and currently, there is no cure for the disease. We do not currently have a complete picture of where Crohn’s Disease comes from however we know that you can increase your chances of acquiring the disease based on diet and environmental factors. There is strong evidence that the disease stems from an individual’s genes but the exact origins are still being studied. 

What the disease does is cause the immune system to attack the harmless bacteria in the body and the immune response is the cause of the chronic inflammation of the intestines.

Symptoms of Crohn's Disease

Here are a few common symptoms that can afflict someone suffering from Crohn’s Disease. Remember that you should never self-diagnose based on these symptoms alone and should follow up any concerns you have with your primary care physician. The symptoms listed are only an overview of possible symptoms and do not cover the various ways the disease can affect an individual. 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Regular diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Painful/swollen joints
  • Kidney Stones

However, there are ways to help manage the symptoms of the disease to improve a person’s quality of life.

Treating Crohn's Disease

At the moment, there is no cure for Crohn’s Disease but we have a few ways to manage some of the symptoms in people. There are anti-inflammatory drugs and immune system suppressors available as well as nutrition therapy and surgery if all else fails. Of course, those treatments in themselves can have their own risks and side effects.

Medical Cannabis for Treating Crohn's Disease

Cannabis is composed of dozens of cannabinoids that work to affect users in different ways. It is the makeup of these cannabinoids that help to give relief to the different symptoms a person may be feeling. Jami Kinnucan, a Michigan Medicine gastroenterologist, explains that “delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. The effects of these phytocannabinoids act through endocannabinoid receptors.” Essentially, these cannabinoids are just two examples of how the compounds come together to bring relief to patients.

The effects that cannabis can have on an individual can include, “relaxation of the esophageal sphincter” and “a reduction in visceral pain” according to Kinnucan. The effects can bring some relief to people who struggle with IBD. There is also a chance that some of the other adverse effects of the disease can be countered such as loss of appetite and weight loss. Cannabis can stimulate appetite which can lead to healthy weight gain or weight retention if the patient is following a nutrition plan.

Final Thoughts

Crohn’s Disease can be a frustrating and exhausting experience for many people but there are options to deal with some of the symptoms. Depending on what you want to treat the most, there might be a reason to explore Medical Cannabis for your symptoms. However, you should always consult a specialist before you decide to treat your symptoms by yourself. If you need more information, or would just like to talk more about the subject, have a consultation with one of Cannassist’s specialists to get started on the right path.