Crohn’s disease effects over a half million Americans, yet the typical treatment options are less than ideal. Crohn’s is an auto-immune disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack good gut bacteria causing chronic inflammation of the intestines and many unwanted symptoms. The prescribed treatment options are typically corticosteroids. While they can be successful in treating the disease, corticosteroids suppress the entire immune system leaving the patient with a dangerously weak immune system. For this reason alone, many sufferers of Crohn’s disease search for alternative treatment options. Some have found that marijuana helps Crohn’s disease symptoms.
A study conducted at Israel’s Meir Medical Center in 2013 was the first placebo controlled study of the effects marijuana has on Crohn’s disease. The study treated eleven subjects with multiple joints per day over a week. Of the eleven subjects, five actually entered remission, and ten of the eleven reported improvement of condition. The ten subjects who said their symptoms had improved also noted that their quality of life had increased, they slept better, and that they had increased appetites. While the lead researchers of the study caution that there is conflicting evidence as to whether cannabis can cure Crohn’s, there is no doubt in their minds that it can improve the lives of people suffering from the disease.
The study is very promising and shows that marijuana can be used to treat the symptoms of Crohn’s. For people with the disease, the fact that marijuana could be an option for even the most simple side effects is huge.
With any disease that can be treated with marijuana, the THC/CBD levels and type of strain can determine the effectiveness of the treatment. To treat the symptoms and side effects of Crohn’s disease, it is suggested by researchers that high THC strains of marijuana work best. In the Israeli study, patients were asked to consume the equivalent of two joints a day (likely between .5g and 1g each).
This is a large amount of marijuana for one person to consume in a day and may lead to drowsiness and other unwanted side effects. However, the side effects from the overconsumption of marijuana are more desirable for many than the side effects of traditional corticosteroids, or the symptoms of Crohn’s.
As research progresses, we will begin to find out more about how marijuana can best be used to treat conditions such as Crohn’s. What is undeniable however, is the fact that marijuana can alleviate the unnecessary pain and unwanted side effects of Crohn’s disease.