What is Ulcerative Colitis?
Like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis (UC) belongs to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel diseases. UC is a chronic disease that causes inflammation of the innermost lining of the large intestine. When the lining of the large intestine becomes inflamed, it can cause painful ulcers to form on the surface. This inflammation may also cause mild to severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other symptoms. UC affects approximately 700,000 Americans and usually starts between the ages of 15 and 30.
Using Medical Marijuana to Manage UC
While large-scale human studies are the obvious next step in UC symptom relief, preliminary tests on the use of medical marijuana to alleviate UC symptoms are promising. In one study, researchers induced intestinal inflammation, or colitis, in rodents and then tested the effectiveness of THC and CBD compared to a common anti-inflammatory medication. The results showed that THC was the most effective of the three when used on its own and with sufficient dosage. CBD showed an entourage effect when paired with a lower amount of THC, increasing the efficacy of both cannabinoids.
Recent research from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom could help explain why 51% of UC sufferers report to be regular cannabis users. The researchers believe that, because cannabis introduces cannabinoids into the body, these molecules could help relieve gut inflammation in the same way the body’s own endocannabinoids would. Randy Mrsny, from the University of Bath’s Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology stated, “For the first time we have identified a counterbalance to the inflammation response in the intestine and we hope that these findings will help us develop new ways to treat bowel diseases.”
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.