More people are choosing medical marijuana for treating Crohn’s Disease than ever before. This is widely due to the fact that it is much safer than medication and just as effective (if not more so.)
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s Disease is a chronic immune condition which causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This disease is not typically fatal (although complication can arise) but it does usually lower the quality of life. Chrohn's disease is a genetic disorder, often found in family clusters. It arises from a dysregulated immune response to bacteria and dietary contents inside of the GI tract. This immune response damages previously healthy tissue.
People who suffer from Crohn’s disease will usually experience waves of relapse and remission. Symptoms range in severity from low grade fever, general discomfort, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and bloody stool. Complications of this disease include fistulas (holes in the GI tract, often leading to infection), abscess, perforations and fibrotic stricture (narrowing of the intestine due to inflammation that can lead to blockages, requiring surgery).
Side Effects of Common Prescription Drugs
Anti-inflammatory prescriptions and immunosuppressants commonly treat Crohn's Disease. These drugs are supposed to control outbreaks and induce & maintain remission. Common side effects of these drugs include, but are not limited to: stomach pain, heartburn, ulcers, increase risk of bleeding, headache, dizziness, tinnitus, allergic reaction, liver & kidney problems, low back pain, high blood pressure, fever/chills, trouble urinating, frequent urination, and fatigue.
Side Effects of Marijuana Use
Before we get to the effectiveness of this drug, we want to first address the potential side effects cannabis can produce. These side effects include, but are not limited to: dry mouth, bloodshot eyes, drowsiness, heightened senses, delayed reaction time, impaired judgement, lack of balance & coordination, increased appetite, euphoria, paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations. It’s important to note that most of these side effects affect the mind more than the physical body.
Why Choose Medical Marijuana for Treating Crohn’s Disease?
Your body has a built-in system that interacts with cannabinoids, called the endocannabinoid system. This system and its receptors are widely responsible for the healing effects that marijuana has to offer. Cannabinoids, such as THC, interact with these receptors (that are located all over the body, including the GI tract), to treat Crohn’s disease. These cannabinoids control motility and secretion in the gut, reduce pain and nausea associated with inflammation, enhance wound closure, and protects the colon during excessive inflammation.
Choosing the Right Type of Marijuana
Sativa (higher THC) strains are best for treating Crohn’s Disease. This is due to the fact that the concentrations of cannabinoids in sativa, interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body’s built in endocannabinoid system most effectively.
Medical marijuana produces several different side effects. The side effects from marijuana are much less significant than those from Crohn’s Disease and prescription medication, however. Research is still ongoing, but the results so far have been extremely promising.