Cannabis for Crohn’s Disease

Full remission of Crohn’s disease was recently achieved in 5 of 11 clinical trial patients in a prospective trial in Israel.  While the study did not yield the exact results the researchers were looking for, as a medicine cannabis for Crohn’s disease did show clinically relevant improvement for 10 of 11 subjects in the cannabis group – without side effects.

Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology Cannabis for Crohn’s DiseaseThe article in the May 6, 2013 issue of the journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology reports that the researchers enrolled 21 people in the study who had not previously responded to other treatment options.  Eleven of the patients smoked two 23% THC cannabis cigarettes per day for eight weeks.  The control group smoked cigarettes that had THC removed from the flower.

A clinical response was observed in 10/11 subjects in the cannabis group and 4/10 in the placebo group. Three patients in the cannabis group were weaned from steroid dependency.  Subjects receiving cannabis reported improved appetite and sleep, with no significant side effects.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is one of a group of diseases known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD).  It is a chronic inflammatory condition of the digestive tract.  It most commonly affects the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the colon but can affect any part of the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus.

General symptoms include:

  • Persistent Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Urgent need to move bowels
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Sensation of incomplete evacuation
  • Constipation (can lead to bowel obstruction)

For more information about this condition please visit http://www.ccfa.org/what-are-crohns-and-colitis/what-is-crohns-disease

Cannabis for Crohn’s Disease

Cannabis may work for Crohn’s disease and other IBS related problems for several reasons. At its core, IBS is one of the many chronic illnesses born from inflammation.  Cannabis is effective at lowering inflammation markers in the body which in turn reduces disease related symptoms including pain and discomfort.  Cannabis reduces intestinal motility which is beneficial for anyone with chronic diarrhea.  THC also has 20 times the analgesic (pain killing) power of aspirin and two times that of hydrocodone.

Additional research from Israel shows that patients who consume cannabis have fewer surgeries and take fewer prescriptions.  Medical cannabis for Crohn’s disease appears to be an effective treatment for some.

In talking with people who have used cannabis for Crohn’s disease, they have all said that cannabis helps make it possible for them to control their symptoms to the point they can have a somewhat normal life.

Tips for Using Cannabis for Crohn’s Disease

  1. Talk to your doctor.
  2. Use a vaporizer.
  3. Take 1 puff, wait 5 minutes and see how you feel.  1-3 puff is usually plenty to provide a therapeutic benefit.
  4. Visit the Crohn’s Forum – or engage with other Crohn’s patients that have used cannabis for Crohn’s
  5. If you experience paranoia or rapid heartbeat
    1. Try another strain
    2. Use less
    3. Try to buy a strain that has high THC but also has a measurable amount of CBD.  CBD is helpful at reducing the negative side-effects of THC.

www.MyChronicRelief.com is an on-line guide to cannabis for the terminally and chronically ill.  We aim to curate the best medical cannabis content on the web. 

Comments

  1. Ryk Tompkins says:

    My son has had an increase in vomiting episodes since becoming a medical marijuana patient. He has had a history of arrests and incarceration and in those times of incarceration and mandatory abstention (pre-card) was never ill. I realize this is anecdotal and un-scientific, but at a loss to explain in the light of what is being purported in studies posted on the net . My son also compulsively takes hot baths when he has an episode and bathed 23 hours once. Am wondering how typical this is for Chrones sufferers, and the possibility that there are other factors in play here that might make pot use counter-productive as an agent to deal with Chrones.

    • Thank you for your comment. Crohn’s patients report, as does the science that cannabis can be very effective at helping them manage their symptoms. While cannabis has many great therapeutic benefits for a large portion of the population, there are some cases where cannabis use causes vomiting and therefore is not an appropriate treatment. I would encourage you to seek out a doctor that is knowledgeable about cannabis and Crohn’s. If you cannot find one where you are, email or call someone whom you think might be able to help you. Here is a link to an article written by Dr. Jeffrey Hargenrather about his observation of his Crohn’s patients and their use of cannabis http://www.beyondthc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Hergenrather-Crohns-plus.pdf . A couple of question you might consider asking the physician and son are 1) do you know the chemical analysis of the cannabis he is consuming – this may or may not effect his vomiting. If you are buying from a dispensary they too may be able to give you some good information. 2) How much is he using? Reducing consumption may have a positive impact. 3) Ask them if they think using an oil vs. smoked or vaporized cannabis would make a difference for your son. As for the bathing, I cannot comment on that but I would bet that a Crohn’s expert could give you some useful feedback. Because cannabis science is both a new field of science and understudied, there is so much that we don’t know. Sometimes talking to others in the Crohn’s community about their experience, can prove to be very helpful. I would love to hear back about what you find out and your son’s progress. Best wishes to you and your son for relief and healing.

  2. Ryk Tompkins says:

    Thanks for the links, pretty much what the ER physicians had versed me about in our last trip there. But more than anything I’d like to know if Crones as a diagnosis is more of a description of a set of symptoms and not necessarily an indicator of a fundamental cause of those symptoms? In other words I’m asking could it be in some people the underlying cause a genetic component, in other people it could be a food allergy, that there could be any number of causes and it’s a matter of discovery? Are there other causes of bowel ulcers that wouldn’t necessarily indicate the diagnosis of Crones, and if so what distinguishes Crones from these other causes? My researching on the net hasn’t given me any definitive answers, and outside of the discovery of bowel ulcers in my son’s case outside of his occasional vomiting does not exhibit any of the symptoms you have mentioned as a profile. Also note that he is a month or two from his harvest, short on pot, has been severely curtailed in his daily use and is not experiencing nausea. Other than that I know he grows both sativa and indica, outside, organic and strains like G13 and Purple Kush, host of other hybrids.

    • I wish I could be of use here but your questions are outside of my knowledge base. Dr. Jeffrey Hargenrather is probably a good person to email. He would probably be interested in hearing about your son’s case.

  3. Your post is in error. “Crohn’s disease is one of a group of diseases known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)”. It is a part of a group of diseases known as IBDs (Inflamatory Bowel Diseases). Not IBS at all. Much worse. Crohn’s is an Autoimmune Disorder. Much is unknown about the cause. One thing’s for certain, marijuana helps.

    • Thank you for your comment. You are correct in that Crohn’s is an IBD. We have corrected the post. We appreciate you reading our post and the feedback.

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