About Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by inflammation of the GI tract. According to the CDC in 2015, an estimated 3 million U.S. adults reported being diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease; a million more people than 16 years prior in 1999. Crohn’s disease is associated with ulcerative colitis, in that they both inflame the gastrointestinal tract and involve “abnormal” immune system activity.

 

Both conditions are chronically inflammatory and cause internal damage. Crohn’s can affect any part of the GI tract, but most often affects the portion of the small intestine just before the colon. Ulcerative Colitis only occurs in the large intestine and rectum.  Crohn’s disease can affect the entire wall of the GI tract, while UC only affects the innermost lining of the colon.

 

Those who suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohn’s have difficulty digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste. GI organs aren’t able to function properly, leading to symptoms such as persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, rectal bleeding, and fatigue. Patients go through periods of remission and flare-ups with both Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease.

 

What Causes Crohn’s Disease

As with many diseases, the exact cause of Crohn’s disease isn’t known. It’s thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the immune system responds incorrectly to environmental triggers, or dysfunctions possibly due to genetic triggers. A family history of Inflammatory Bowel Disease can increase the risk of development.

 

Scientists attribute autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s and Arthritis to a dysfunctional immune system. Such conditions and even IBD could, however, also be caused by a virus or bacteria triggering the immune system to attack cells in the digestive tract resulting in bowel obstruction, ulcers, fistulas, anal fissure, malnutrition, colon cancer, and other health risks.

 

Normal Treatments for Crohn’s Disease

Drugs.com reveals a comparative list of 76 approved medications commonly used to treat Crohn’s disease. Clearly, no one treatment works for everyone, and there is no cure for the condition. Doctors prescribe various anti-inflammatories and immune system suppressors to treat the disease, such as corticosteroids.

 

Short-term use of corticosteroids can cause anxiety, irritability, mood swings, and insomnia, and even increase the risk of blood clots and infections. Patients using corticosteroids long-term to treat IBD can expect hypertension, headaches, muscle weakness, and increased risks of developing diabetes, osteoporosis, glaucoma, and ulcers.

 

Antibiotics are commonly given to control Crohn’s Disease. According to webmd.com, Ciprofloxacin and Metronidazole are the most common antibiotics used and are often given intravenously. These drugs can cause nausea and loss of appetite acutely, and in higher doses can cause irreversible neuropathic pain and even seizures. Harmful effects of ciprofloxacin include GI pain, depression, hallucinations, and even an increased risk of more severe types IBD.

 

It’s clear that the medical community should reevaluate Crohn’s disease and IBD treatment. When reading an evaluation of over 6,000 patients from 2006, serious infections and mortality were associated with Crohn’s Disease therapies. Thankfully, there are ways to manage the condition and its symptoms with nutritional therapies. As well, there are alternative and natural medicines to consider.

 

How Medical Marijuana Can Help Crohn’s Disease

Medical marijuana consistently shows promising benefits in scientific studies and small clinical research, but the continued federal prohibition of marijuana limits the medical and scientific community’s ability to host large-scale, long-term clinical trials on marijuana.

 

Nonetheless, there is a mountain of scientific and anecdotal evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana in treating Crohn’s Disease on IBD. A 2012 article published the journal, Digestion, Dr. Adi Lahat writes,

 

“Cannabis improves quality of life in patients with long-standing Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

… Data demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in almost all aspects of patient’s daily life.”

 

In 2013, Crohn’s disease patient Bruce Buckner write’s on rxmarijuana.com,

 

“I have several relatives with Crohn’s disease. Every one of them has had major surgery. Every one of them has had complications from the steroids and immunosuppressors they have been prescribed . . . I am firmly convinced that I would be in the same condition as my relatives with Crohn’s if I hadn’t used [medical marijuana].”

 

Jeff Hergenrather, MD and President of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians in 2005 wrote an article titled, “Cannabis Alleviates Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease.”  In the article, the doctor describes that Crohn’s patients reported cannabis use caused beneficial effects on appetite, pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, activity, and depression. They also reported weight gain, less diarrhea, fewer flare-ups with less severity, and significant relief of other symptoms related to immunosuppressive medications being reduced thanks to medical marijuana.

 

Chronic cannabis users should be aware that there has been an association between marijuana and cyclical vomiting illnesses, however, it is rare, and more research is needed to support the correlation. For more info on cannabinoid hyperemesis, follow the link. Medical marijuana can help with IBD and Crohn’s Disease. Cannabis will affect individuals uniquely and physicians recommend starting in low doses. Some patients may find more relief from [edibles] than smoking or [vaporizing] medical marijuana, or vice versa. Consider some of the following strains of medical marijuana that have been reported to alleviate symptoms of Crohn’s Disease for others.

 

·   [[13 Dawgs]]

·   [[Appalachia]]

·   [[Applegate]]

·   [[Applecheese]]

·   [[Bay 11]]

·   [[Bedica]]

·   [[Berry Noir]]

·   [[Black Label Kush]]

·   [[Blue Blood]]

·   [[Blue God]]

·   [[Citrix]]

·   [[Blue Lights]]

·   [[Blue Power]]

·   [[Blue Shark Auto]]

·   [[Blueberry Silvertip]]

·   [[Bruce Banner #3]]

·   [[Bubblegun]]

·   [[Buffalo Bill]]

·   [[Candycane]]

·   [[Catfish]]

·   [[Cherry Cream Pie]]

 

Sources:

CDC (2017) Web.

Lichtenstein, Gary R. (2006) Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology VOL 4 Issue 5 Serious Infections and Mortality in Association With Therapies for Crohn’s Disease: TREAT registry

Lahat A. (2012) Digestion. Impact of Cannabis Treatment on the Quality of Life, Weight and clinical Disease Activity in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients: A Pilot Prospective Study.

Hergenrather, Jeff MD. (2005) O’Shaughnessy’s. Cannabis alleviates symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

www.drugs.com (2017) Web.

www.rxmarijuana.com (2017) Web

www.webmd.com (2017) Web

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