with medical marijuana Now legal in a large number of countries, many people have Crohn’s disease He might wonder if they should try. After all, the substance is often touted for its ability to dilute both Pain and anxiety – both are common in krone (a type of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD), according to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
A large body of research indicates therapeutic substances in marijuana can help treat Crohn’s symptoms, and some studies have found a direct link between marijuana use and its benefits in people with Crohn’s disease. But many experts still urge caution.
“I think there are a decent number of IBD patients who use cannabis and see improvement in symptoms,” he says. Qian Qishian, MD, a gastroenterologist and inflammatory bowel disease specialist at Stanford Health Care in California. “But we definitely need more research in this area because what we haven’t been able to show is that marijuana provides improvement in disease activity and objective markers of inflammation.”
An overview of cannabis-based therapy in Crohn’s diseaseAnd the Published in 2020 in the magazine Expert Review of Gastroenterology and HepatologyIt is estimated that about 15 percent of IBD patients use cannabis to relieve symptoms of the disease such as Stomach achediarrhea, joint pain, poor appetite, AnorexiaNausea and fatigue.
And while there is growing evidence highlighting its potential positive effects, marijuana has also been associated with worse outcomes in people with Crohn’s disease. So before you try it, read on to know its risks and benefits.
Evidence is still patchy
Hemp — or marijuana, pot, or weed — is a group of plants that can be It is used medicinally in many waysincluding smoking, eating foods, using a vaporizer (vaping), and applying it topically. Hemp contains approximately 500 chemicalsof which more than 100 are known cannabis. These chemicals cause drug-like effects throughout the body, including the central nervous system and immune system. The two main types of cannabinoids in marijuana Delta 9‐tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) And the cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is a psychoactive substance that is primarily responsible for the effects of marijuana on a person’s mental state, making a person feel refreshed. CBD is also psychoactive, but it binds to receptors in a different way than THC so it doesn’t necessarily produce the same sensation. as such Harvard health publishing Reports, CBD May Help With Anxiety, InsomniaChronic pain and addiction.
While the US Food and Drug Administration has not given the green light to use the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes, the agency has approved drugs that contain cannabinoids. These include Epidulex (Cannabidiol), a treatment for epileptic seizures that contains a purified form of CBD, and MARINOL (Dronabinol) (PDF) and Syndros (Dronabinol), which contains synthetic THC that helps with nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. People with HIV/AIDS have also found that it stimulates appetite.
Although cannabis is not officially recommended for Crohn’s treatment, some studies She indicated that the substance could relieve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. However, because different trials have looked at different doses of different chemicals from the plant, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions about how this drug can help manage Crohn’s.
Cannabis use has been reported to increase quality of life in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis patients, but published studies lack standardization regarding the diversity of plant part used and dose” Don Beaulieu, MDD., assistant professor of medicine and director of the IBD Functional Medicine Clinic at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. “I have seen that it can relieve symptoms in my patients who have chosen to use it in the short term.”
Dr.. Beaulieu, which is also American Gastroenterology Association The spokesperson, however, stresses that there is no evidence that marijuana can actually reduce gut inflammation.
“It’s just masking the active disease rather than treating the root problem,” she says. “Using marijuana may help treat nausea and abdominal pain, but we don’t fix the underlying trigger that’s causing all of the symptoms, and when you do, you’re not actually treating the disease itself.”
Although marijuana may have some medicinal properties and therapeutic potential in the future, Beaulieu asserts that it is It’s still illegal Under federal law, she does not recommend it to her patients.
a A meta-analysis of six studies, published in the journal in 2021 treat usConfirmed improvement in general condition, weight gain and reduced clinical complications after IBD patients received cannabis therapy. Various doses and forms of cannabis were used in these studies, including cigarettes containing 50 grams of dry-processed plants per month, cigarettes containing 0.5 grams of dried cannabis flowers equivalent to 11.5 milligrams of THC, low-dose CBD oil and hard gelatin Capsules contain 50 milligrams of a plant extract rich in CBD. The average duration of cannabis treatment ranged from eight weeks to just over two years. When it comes to determining the overall benefits and harms of cannabis use, the researchers said the results are inconclusive.
A broader analysis of 20 previous investigations, Published in 2021 in Journal of Clinical Gastroenterologydetermined that cannabis significantly improves patient-reported symptoms and quality of life, but there has been no improvement when it comes to inflammation or clinical remission.
Because patients with IBD have a higher chance of developing colorectal cancerSome researchers have considered the possibility that cannabis may reduce this risk. a Study University of South Carolina indicated that THC inhibited the development of colon cancers in mice.
The findings support the idea that inflammation and colon cancer are closely related and suggest that THC could be beneficial for people at high risk of colon cancer.
Analysis of seven previous studies, Posted in 2020 in international Journal of Molecular Sciencesindicated that marijuana has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. oxidationwhich could be devastating to Digestive The pathway, is a disruption of harmful free radicals (unstable molecules) and the body’s ability to neutralize them. Antioxidants — such as hemp, flavonoids, and terpenes found in hemp — are chemicals that may fight these free radicals. However, the study concluded that standard trials are necessary to determine whether cannabis and its derivatives have a therapeutic effect on IBD.
Marijuana use comes with risks
While marijuana has symptom-relieving effects, doctors have suggested it may actually mask the ongoing inflammation in Crohn’s disease — and this may convince people that their disease is in remission when it isn’t.
“The key is to make sure that cannabis use does not replace medical treatment because patients may have the idea that they are feeling better and can stop treatment,” says Dr. Kiashian. “I consider it a complementary treatment, not a substitute for real medicine.”
study in Cochrane Library (Healthcare database set) suggests that cannabis use may cause weakness, dizziness, and diarrhea in people with Crohn’s disease, as well as increase the risks of surgery. Of course, it is possible that people with worse symptoms and more advanced disease are more likely to use marijuana, so this does not mean that marijuana contributed to the risk of needing surgery.
Since marijuana may mask problems, Beaulieu says, “You don’t reduce inflammation, so you don’t prevent later complications of long-term IBD, which may require surgery.”
The Mayo Clinic It lists a number of side effects, including headache, drowsiness, fatigue, confusion, hallucinations, depression, and impaired judgment. But side effects vary according to how much and how often you use this substance.
Although marijuana may help with nausea and vomiting, Keashian cautions that overuse can cause a paradoxical increase in those symptoms called Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS).
“Although cannabis can improve symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, its cognitive, psychological, and respiratory side effects — as well as dependence and addiction after long-term use — are of concern when marijuana is used as a medical treatment,” says Beaulieu.
It is not easy to get medical marijuana
Even if you tend to try marijuana, you may face legal or logistical barriers in obtaining it, depending on where you live in the United States. In a statement, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (PDF) warned that both patients and health care providers “need to be aware of the state’s unique laws regarding prescribing and cannabis use. Your employer’s policy regarding marijuana use should also be taken into account.
“Both providers and patients should remember that marijuana is still classified as a controlled substance by the DEA, and patients should be aware of their employer’s drug testing and drug testing policies when they consider cannabis as a medical treatment,” Beaulieu says. . .
Currently, 37 states, three territories, and Washington, DC allow the medical use of cannabis products, but each program operates differently. You can find out if your state or territory has such a program, along with details of how each specific program works, at National Conference of State Legislatures website.
Ultimately, though, your doctor will likely be your best resource for discussing the medical and practical reasons for using marijuana to help treat Crohn’s disease. If you think cannabis might be an option worth considering, bring up the topic at your next date.