IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
What is IBD?
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes disorders characterized by chronic digestive tract inflammation, specifically ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. IBD symptoms usually include severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, reduced appetite, fatigue, and unintended weight loss. The exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease is still unknown, but most people who develop IBD are diagnosed before 30 years old. There are up to 70,000 or more new IBD cases being diagnosed each year in the U.S. and there could be up to 80,000 undiagnosed children.
Because symptoms may range from mild to severe and sufferers are likely to have periods of active illness followed by periods of remission, it’s important for those with IBD to find relief and maintain quality of life when symptoms do hit.
Promising Research with Medical Marijuana
Although new results for the use of medical marijuana to treat IBD are preliminary, they are very promising. Researchers conducting studies on Crohn’s disease, one form of IBD, found a higher clinical response rate in the cannabis group, compared with a placebo group, after eight weeks.
While leading a review of evidence on cannabis and IBD, Mark Silverberg of Sinai Health System in Toronto, cited, among other reasons, that cannabis could be an acceptable treatment for IBD because it is often used to reduce abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and anorexia symptoms.
And, in a pilot study conducted in 2013, after three months’ treatment, patients reported improvement in general health perception, social functioning, ability to work, physical pain and depression. Participants’ weight and BMI also increased, a critical factor for patients suffering from chronic diarrhea and decreased appetite.
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.