Marijuana, a perfect relief for symptoms in Crohn’s disease

What is Crohn's disease?

Crohn’s disease refers to a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a condition which causes inflammation of parts of the digestive tract in humans. Doctors do not fully understand what triggers Crohn’s disease, but they are of a common opinion that it results from a problem with the human immune system. This disease has symptoms which vary considerably in type and severity and include diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping, nausea or loss of appetite, fatigue and weight loss

Crohn’s disease is typically a relapsing-remitting condition, implying that people with this disease experience both periods of remission, during which they have few or no symptoms, and “flare-ups,” accompanied by   symptoms which can even get worse. However, there exists no conventional cure for Crohn’s, so treatment administered is just to help relieve symptoms and keep a patient in remission.

There exist some clinical studies with evidence suggesting that medical marijuana, also known as cannabis, possess the potentials to ease the inflammation that is one of the major causes of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Medical Marijuana is composed of many different chemicals, including cannabinoids, which are responsible for the effects of the drug.  The treatment of crohn’s disease with marijuana can relieve symptoms and improve quality of life in individuals with Crohn’s disease and even has a positive impact on gut inflammation, according to recent clinical studies.  Many Patients have used marijuana, for several decades

What are Cannabis (marijuana) and Cannabinoids?

The marijuana plant is composed of chemicals known as cannabinoids that possess specific effects in different parts of the body, such as the immune system, the brain, and the rest of the central nervous system. These cannabinoids bind to cell receptors, or proteins, that are responsible for the reception of signals with specific effects inside cells. Marijuana contains nearly 500 chemicals, but the   best known and most researched ones are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9‐tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

What do clinical studies have to say about the use of marijuana in treating Crohn’s disease

Cannabis or medical marijuana can be used medicinally in a number of ways some most common ways including smoking, ingesting edibles, using a vaporizer (vaping), and applying topically. There have been several clinical studies of marijuana use in people with Crohn’s disease in recent years, with the different studies looking at different doses of different chemicals from the marijuana plant, and drawing firm conclusions about how marijuana may t help with Crohn’s management. In one a clinical study  published in November 2018 in a review known as the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the investigators discovered that the effects of marijuana on Crohn’s disease were unclear or mixed. However some beneficial effects of marijuana were found in individual studies, such as a greater likelihood of reduced Crohn’s disease activity in people who smoked marijuana composed of THC compared with those who smoked marijuana without the THC content. It was also found that the smoking of marijuana is not accompanied by certain risk such as a higher likelihood of sleepiness, nausea, and difficulty concentrating among marijuana users

A clinical study, published in October 2019 in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences,studies focused  on  people with Crohn’s disease who already  were users  or does who have never used  marijuana by  comparing  hundreds of otherwise similar marijuana users and nonusers with Crohn’s disease between 2012 and 2014. This research revealed that marijuana users were less likely to have active fistulizing disease or an intra-abdominal abscess, or to require a blood product transfusion, parental nutrition, or a colectomy all of which are symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Another   larger research with a similar design, published in June 2019 in the journalAnnals of Translational Medicine,  found that while cannabis users with Crohn’s disease had lower risks for colorectal cancer, anemia, and needing parenteral nutrition,rates of active fistulizing disease or intra-abdominal abscess formation were equally lower  in this group.

How do cannabinoids work in the body?

Cannabinoids (THC and CBD)  work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the body, which scientists believe plays a role in regulating many bodily processes such as pain, mood, appetite, gastrointestinal motility, memory, emotion, stress response and immune function. Current Research equally suggests that medical marijuana can help in increasing appetite, minimizing diarrhea, controlling nausea.

The Takeaway message

Crohn’s disease is a long-term health condition with no cure. Some clinical evidences suggest that medical marijuana may ease some of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. However, there is a need for further research to confirm these potential benefits of medical marijuana and note should also be taken that a range of different medical treatments can help a person with Crohn’s disease in achieving and maintaining symptoms remission. Patients are however advised to consider the use of medical marijuana and should discuss it with a doctor for advice.

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