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Medicating with Cannabis for Crohn’s Disease

Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Chronic, incurable diseases have a major impact on the quality of life of those affected. For those diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the treatments vary from diet change, which only helps to reduce symptoms, medication, which reduces symptoms and suppresses flare-ups, to surgery. Close to 70% of those with Crohn’s disease end up requiring surgery because the medication does not control the symptoms.  

That could all change with the help of medicinal cannabis. In a recent study published in the scholarly journal of Digestive Diseases and Sciences, they studied the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis in the intestinal inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease. They compared the Crohn’s symptoms in 615 cannabis users and non-users from 2012-2014 and found that cannabis users were less likely to need a parenteral nutrition requirement (nutrition administered intravenously) or have things like abdominal or pelvic abscess which often lead to the need for surgery. 

These are only a few of the ways in which cannabis was found to mitigate the complications of Crohn’s disease. With future studies, medicinal cannabis is a promising alternative to current medications and inevitable invasive surgeries.