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Medical Marijuana and Diverticulitis

What Is Diverticulitis?

  Diverticulitis is characterized by small, bulging sacs, referred to as diverticula, found within the lining of the intestines, that become inflamed and/or infected. In most cases, these inflamed pouches are found in the large intestines where the colon is located. Diverticulitis can be an extremely painful condition. The cause of diverticulitis is not known; however, there are theories. Most experts agree that diverticula may appear as a result of a low fiber diet --much like the diet of many Americans who tend to eat a diet laden with processed foods. When a diet lacks fiber to add bulk to the stool, constipation and hard stools are more likely to occur. As a result, the colon is required to work harder to push the stool out. When the colon has to work harder, the individual often has to strain when having a bowel movement. The resulting strain and pressure may be what causes the diverticula pouches to form along weak spots in the colon. When small pieces of feces become trapped within the diverticula pouches, inflammation and/or infection can occur, leading to diverticulitis. The most common symptom of diverticulitis is pain in the lower left side of the belly that may get worse when the patient moves. In addition, a diverticulitis sufferer may experience fever or chills, diarrhea, bloating, gas, constipation, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Diverticulitis is characterized by small, bulging sacs, referred to as diverticula, found within the lining of the intestines, that become inflamed and/or infected. In most cases, these inflamed pouches are found in the large intestines where the colon is located. Diverticulitis can be an extremely painful condition. The cause of diverticulitis is not known; however, there are theories. Most experts agree that diverticula may appear as a result of a low fiber diet --much like the diet of many Americans who tend to eat a diet laden with processed foods. When a diet lacks fiber to add bulk to the stool, constipation and hard stools are more likely to occur. As a result, the colon is required to work harder to push the stool out. When the colon has to work harder, the individual often has to strain when having a bowel movement. The resulting strain and pressure may be what causes the diverticula pouches to form along weak spots in the colon. When small pieces of feces become trapped within the diverticula pouches, inflammation and/or infection can occur, leading to diverticulitis.The most common symptom of diverticulitis is pain in the lower left side of the belly that may get worse when the patient moves. In addition, a diverticulitis sufferer may experience fever or chills, diarrhea, bloating, gas, constipation, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.  

Medical Marijuana and Diverticulitis

Medical Marijuana and Diverticulitis

Traditional treatment methods for diverticulitis depend on the severity of the condition. If an infection is present, antibiotics may be prescribed. A liquid diet may be necessary as well. Heat, pain medication, and relaxation are also commonly prescribed. Medical marijuana to treat Diverticulitis has also been considered .  In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove a bowel obstruction, fistula or abscess, or when the patient is suffering from chronic pain as a result of the diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis can be very painful for the sufferer. While some people only experience a short bout of diverticulitis, others can be plagued with the condition for weeks, months or years. Over the counter pain medications may not be able to control the pain experienced by the patient. While opiate based pain medications may help with the pain, they also come with a host of potentially negative side effects such as overdose, dependency and addiction. In addition, opiate based pain relievers can actually cause constipation or impacted bowels which may make the diverticulitis worse.

Medical marijuana has a long history of use as an analgesic. Along with its analgesic properties, medical marijuana also helps patients who are suffering from loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting by stimulating the appetite and reducing the nausea. Patients suffering from diverticulitis often become leery of eating as a result of the condition, making the use of medical marijuana even more beneficial.

Diverticulitis and Medical Marijuana Use for Inflammation

Finally, medical marijuana may also be able to help reduce the inflammation that is caused as a result of diverticulitis. Conventional over the counter or prescription anti-inflammatory medications can also lead to irritation or damage to the lining of the stomach or liver, which medical marijuana does not cause.

Medical Marijuana and Diverticulitis: Clinical Evidence

A 1999 study conducted by the Institute of Medicine found that after nausea and vomiting, chronic pain was the condition most often cited as a medical use for marijuana. Although research into the use of medical marijuana has been limited, much of the research that has been done has been focused on its use to control nausea and vomiting in cancer patients. Those studies have overwhelmingly concluded that medical marijuana is a valid treatment option for patients suffering from loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Diverticulitis sufferers, therefore, may achieve relief from these symptoms with the use of medical marijuana.

Studies of the effectiveness of medical marijuana as a pain reliever have also concluded that medical marijuana can be used to reduce the amount of opiate based pain medication while still providing pain relief.

Medical marijuana also contains Cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD is an important component of marijuana which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Along with CBD, medical marijuana also contains a compound known as β-caryophyllene. Both these compounds have been found to reduce tissue inflammation which may be beneficial to anyone suffering from diverticulitis.

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