A chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel diseases. Crohn’s most commonly affects the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the colon, but it may affect any part of the GI tract. Because some of the symptoms associated with inflammation of the GI tract include persistent diarrhea, urgent need to move bowels and abdominal cramps and pain, Crohn’s patients also often suffer weight loss, loss of appetite and fatigue. Crohn’s disease may affect as many as 780,000 Americans, but its causes are not well understood. Men and women are equally likely to be affected, with symptoms typically appearing between the ages of 15 and 35.
Medical Marijuana and Crohn’s Research
Although large-scale studies still need to be conducted on the use of medical marijuana to treat Crohn’s, preliminary research is very promising.
The first research to look at the use of medical marijuana to treat Crohn’s patients was detailed in a study published in August 2011 in the Israel Medical Association Journal. The study found that all 30 participants, who previously had not responded to standard treatments, reported that their overall well-being improved with marijuana use.
Then in 2013, the same researchers published findings of a subsequent study comparing the effectiveness of cannabis to a placebo in 21 patients. For two months, about half the group used marijuana to treat their symptoms and the other half received a placebo with the THC removed. The researchers found that the group who received THC reported a greater improvement of symptoms than the placebo group.
The information provided should not be used as a substitution for physician knowledge. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment with medicinal marijuana.