Updated on January 31, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
If you have Crohn’s disease, you’ve probably pursued multiple forms of treatment. This chronic and debilitating condition has no cure and can be life-threatening in rare cases. Crohn’s most serious complications are caused by inflammation throughout the digestive tract.
It’s important that patients with Crohn’s seek medical attention so the inflammation doesn’t cause more serious complications. However, many find the medications commonly prescribed are either ineffective or come with severe side effects.
States throughout the U.S. are beginning to approve the use of medical marijuana for Crohn’s disease. Patients who use cannabis to treat their Crohn’s-related inflammation find it not only reduces this symptom but brings instant relief because of its analgesic properties.
Crohn’s disease is a category of conditions known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). It’s most common side effect is inflammation, primarily where the small intestine joins the colon, a symptom called colonic inflammation. It can produce inflammation within the intestinal tissue and affects the lining of the gastrointestinal tract
The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can produce serious side effects like:
Though no one knows for sure what causes Crohn’s disease, one theory suggests it could be an autoimmune condition, meaning the illness is triggered by the immune system’s response to a virus or bacteria. Instead of attacking the problem, the immune system targets healthy intestinal cells. This could also be what causes the severe inflammation associated with the condition.
Because there’s no cure, one of the primary goals for physicians treating Crohn’s disease is to control the inflammation caused by the condition. Traditional anti-inflammatories are commonly prescribed, but these may cause many unwanted side effects, such as:
More studies are showing the amazing anti-inflammatory properties that cannabis possesses. Because it isn’t accompanied by severe side effects, many patients are pursuing it as a course of treatment. Individuals with Crohn’s find medical marijuana alleviates their most debilitating symptoms. It also has the added benefit of helping patients manage their chronic pain at the same time.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are two compounds found in cannabis that have excellent healing properties. These, along with the other cannabinoids present in the plant, are what produce the medicinal value of marijuana, including its anti-inflammatory properties.
Because of this, more research has been devoted to exploring medical marijuana’s potential for treating Crohn’s and other diseases which produce inflammation. A study entitled “The Endogenous Cannabinoid System Protects Against Colonic Inflammation” found the plant has incredible potential for treating “excessive inflammatory responses.”
Many suggest that sativa-dominant strains are best at treating Crohn’s symptoms. These have anti-inflammatory properties, and the high THC content gives patients pain-relief and energy. However, indica strains can also be excellent treatments, as they have similar medical benefits and allow patients to sleep soundly.
The following strains are recommended anti-inflammatories for Crohn’s patients:
If you’d like to use marijuana to treat inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease, make an appointment with a marijuana doctor. A recommendation from a healthcare professional is the first step of every state’s medical marijuana program. They can also recommend certain strains or products that can specifically target your inflammation.