Updated on January 31, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
If you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you’re all too familiar with the uncomfortable symptoms associated with the disorder. Abdominal pain, constant trips to the bathrooms and even the inability to enjoy some of your favorite foods can be a daily occurrence to those with IBD.
Two conditions fall under the banner of IBD: Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease (CD). More than 3 million adults have been diagnosed with these diseases, and every year the number grows by at least 70,000. Since there’s no cure, IBD treatments are used to reduce inflammation and discomfort and hopefully lead to remission. Quite often, medication doesn’t work, which leads to drastic measures like surgery.
New research indicates medical marijuana could be an effective treatment for IBD. Almost half of the nation’s IBD patients are already using cannabis for their condition. However, many patients fear marijuana treatments because of its psychoactive side effects. They avoid this type of medication because they don’t want to get “high.”
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a common compound found in marijuana that provides many of the health benefits of the plant without the psychotropic effects. If you have IBD and want to avoid THC, the compound commonly associated with getting high, you should try cannabis strains that are CBD-dominant.
CBD is a compound in cannabis known as a cannabinoid. Modern research has found the reason our body responds to cannabinoids in marijuana is because they mimic receptors in our endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS has receptors that affect multiple systems throughout our body and regulate things like appetite, pain, immune and gastrointestinal functions and more.
IBD causes intense inflammation in the intestines. The excessive inflammation can lead to long-term damage. Patients with the condition have more endocannabinoid receptors in their colonic function. CBD is an anti-inflammatory that works with our ECS to reduce intestinal inflammation. It’s also a natural pain reliever.
CBD medications can help with many of the symptoms associated with IBD, including:
If you’re looking for a CBD heavy strain of cannabis, here are our top recommendations. These strains have been shown to have effective results while minimizing or eliminating all psychoactive side effects:
Of course, our recommendations can’t take the place of an educated doctor’s advice. Use our search engine to find a licensed marijuana doctor or a nearby dispensary with budtenders who will be happy to help you.
For more information about how cannabis can be used to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease, check out our resources: