Medical Marijuana & Crohn’s Disease: One of the biggest reasons that people all over the world are advocating the use of marijuana as a medicine is the simple fact that it works – without the fear of potential side effects that are worse than the symptoms. For many, marijuana is a safe alternative medicine for a debilitating condition – and thanks to one study we can add Crohn’s Disease to that list.
Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease – similar to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) except the symptoms are much more severe. This disease causes the lining of the digestive track to become inflamed, which leads to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and even malnutrition.
This disease can be moderate – causing symptoms in occasional flare ups, or severe to the point of being unable to lead a normal, productive life. So far, there is no cure, however steroids and immunosuppressant drugs have been used to control symptoms.
In 2013, the first ever medical study of the effects of medical marijuana for Crohn’s Disease was conducted. The study was small and only included 21 patients with active Crohn’s Disease. Of those 21 patients, 11 of them were given cannabis and the other 10 were given a placebo.
Personally, I find it interesting that in this study they chose to administer smoked marijuana in the form of joints. In most studies I’ve seen researchers use edibles or oils or even vaporized marijuana over smoked marijuana. This is really a testament to the fact that even smoked marijuana should be considered medicine – even if it’s not the most conventional way to administer it.
The 11 that were given cannabis were given joints that each had approximately 23% THC and .5% CBD – the placebo group was given cigarettes that contained cannabis from which the THC had been extracted. They were instructed to smoke two cigarettes each day for a period of eight weeks.
After the eight week, 5 out of the 11 patients (45%) in the cannabis group had experienced a complete remission of their Crohn’s Disease. 10 out of those 11 experienced a clinical response of improved symptoms with “no significant side effects”. Side effects were not listed in the study – however anyone who has smoked cannabis is aware of common side effects like dry mouth and dry eyes being the most irritating usually.
Of the patients in the placebo group, 4 out of 10 experienced decreased symptoms – and I have a theory on this but I’m no scientist – they only claimed to extract THC from the placebo cannabis, but CBD is well known to have many of the same effects as THC without the psychoactive reaction.
The findings here promoted their conclusion that there should be further studies with edibles and non-smoked cannabis on a much larger scale to determine just how effective marijuana can be for this condition. The study was conducted in 2013 – no information about further studies can be found as of yet.
This study confirms the stories of many patients who suffer from Crohn’s Disease and have turned to alternative treatments when steroids and immunosuppressant drugs were ineffective. One mom had her son taken away because she self-medicates with cannabis in a state where it is illegal – but marijuana is the only medicine to bring relief since she was diagnosed.
Hopefully there will be new studies out on this subject in the near future – each and every condition that can be treated with medical marijuana allows more and more patients a safe alternative to modern medicines.