Thursday, December 27, 2012

Medicinal Marijuana- Studies Show It Helps Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis (#IBD) - Pass the Pot Please!

Marijuana Helps Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the two main types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are a challenge to treat. Among the potential treatment options is marijuana, and several recent studies indicate that this unconventional option offers some significant benefits.

How we treat inflammatory bowel disease

The current treatment options for the more than 1.5 million Americans and millions more who suffer with inflammatory bowel disease include dietary measures (e.g., olive oil extractvitamin Dprobiotics) and a variety of drugs. These treatments attempt to alleviate the diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, weight loss and abdominal pain and cramps associated with the disease.
The more common treatments for IBD include anti-inflammatory drugs, such as sulfasalazine, corticosteroids (which have significant side effects and are only suitable for short-term use), mesalamine (e.g., Apriso, Dipentum, Lialda), immune system suppressors (e.g., azathioprine, cyclosporine, infliximab, adalimumab, certolizumab, methotrexate), which can have significant side effects, and antibiotics, which are of questionable benefit. Beyond these drugs are others that can address specific symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, or pain, or address nutritional deficiencies (e.g., iron, calcium, vitamin B12). Surgery is a last resort.
Inflammatory bowel disease can be life-threatening and thus deserves focused attention. Ulcerative colitis typically affects only the large intestine (colon) and rectum and usually develops gradually over time. Crohn’s disease can occur anywhere along the intestinal tract and can infiltrate the tissues.
Studies of marijuana and IBD
review of investigations into the use of cannabis for inflammatory bowel disease reveals that its use “in the clinical therapy has been strongly limited by their psychotropic effects.” The authors of this recent Italian study, however, point out that cannabidiol (a non-psychoactive and 
healthful ingredient in marijuana), “is a very promising compound” because it does not have any psychotropic effects, and that it is a “potential candidate for the development of a new class of anti-IBD drugs.”
A 2012 study published in Digestion noted that people who had had IBD for a long time responded favorably to marijuana, experiencing an increase in appetite, weight gain, better social functioning, improved ability to work, and an improvement in depression and pain after three months of treatment with inhaled cannabis. Earlier studies have also indicated positive effects.
For example, an Israeli study was the first to show that use of marijuana in people with Crohn’s disease could provide a positive result. Twenty-one of the 30 patients in the study experienced significantly improvement after using marijuana, and the need for drugs was significantly reduced as well.
In yet another study, Canadian researchers evaluated 100 people with ulcerative colitis and 191 with Crohn’s disease and their use of marijuana. The investigators found a significant level of marijuana use among people with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (about 50% in each group). People who had a history of surgery for IBD were more likely to use marijuana (60%) than were those who had not undergone surgery (32%).
The bottom line appears to be that use of marijuana among people who have inflammatory bowel disease may be beneficial. If you have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, you should ask your healthcare provider or another healthcare professional about the possibility of using marijuana for symptom relief.
Esposito G et al. Cannabidiol in inflammatory bowel disease: a brief overview. Phytotherapy Research 2012 July; doi:10.1002/ptr.4781
Lahat A et al. Impact of cannabis treatment on the quality of life, weight and clinical disease activity in inflammatory bowel disease patients: a pilot prospective study. Digestion 2012; 85(1): 1-8
Lal S et al. Cannabis use amongst patients with inflammatory bowel disease. European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2011 Oct; 23(10): 891-96
Naftali T et al. Treatment of Crohn’s disease with cannabis: an observational study. Israel Medical Association Journal 2011 Aug; 1(8): 455-58
Marijuana Helps Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis:

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  1. I am curious if the drug just helps with the side effects (munchies making you eat, gain weight, etc) or if it actually is aiding in the easing of inflammation and healing of the intestines. I think it is definetely a start but a lot more research needs to be done. At least this drug seems less harmful than Humira, Remicade, etc.

    1. Well, we know it helps with weight gain :) But according to this paragraph it does more than just increase appetite. "A 2012 study published in Digestion noted that people who had had IBD for a long time responded favorably to marijuana, experiencing an increase in appetite, weight gain, better social functioning, improved ability to work, and an improvement in depression and pain after three months of treatment with inhaled cannabis. Earlier studies have also indicated positive effects."
      I don't have personal experience because NY is rigid and strict with these laws. We'll probably be the last state to make it legal ONLY because of the pressures that all the surrounding states have legalized it.
      I really don't like pot that much, I would try it though if the stuff helps Crohn's. Marijuana, I don't believe, ever killed anyone... Just makes you think you're gonna die (paranoia lol)

    2. Has anyone tried marijuana to treat or help reduce symptoms? I'm really curious to know what the experience is and if it does really help.... If you've tried it, please feel free to share what it's done for . I'd love to hear

  2. I have used it myself. I have multiple conditions. I have fibro with "ibs", Sjogren's syndrome, secondary adrenal insufficiency, and Celiac by genetic testing. There is more, but that is enough to give feedback. For me, using a vaporizer gave minor help in a crisis. To use it through the digestive tract works much better albeit hard to get the dosing right. I have had improved social functioning to some degree, because I can go out for if I have it on hand. It assists in sleeping but isn't perfect. I believe it played a large part of my recovery though I have a long way to go. I certainly think it is better than most meds used on these conditions.