Medical marijuana is quickly making a big move into the mainstream world. The public support for the legalization of cannabis is increasing at a rapid rate, and for very good reason. People are beginning to wake up to the fact that cannabis could be the answer to many serious health issues. In fact, a recent study found that a staggering 89% of Americans are supporters of medical cannabis.
Cannabis is often talked about as a “magical product,” giving health benefits and cures that can only be thought of as miraculous by those who are familiar with its various medicinal properties. But the truth is, there’s a lot of science behind the cannabinoids that can be found in marijuana plants. Cannabis is the science of modern medicine and not just some substance that happens to provide phenomenal medical benefits.
There’s extensive new research that is tapping into the medical properties of the marijuana plant, with the intention to help us better understand the conditions that cannabis can treat. Crohn’s disease is just one of the many ailments that cannabis can help treat. Both science and firsthand experiences are indicating exactly how CBD treats Crohn’s disease. In this article, we will cover what Crohn’s disease is, who suffers from it, how CBD can help, and in what ways you can consume CBD for maximum therapeutic relief.
Crohn’s Disease 101
Crohn’s disease is described as a type of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Simply put, it is a condition that causes inflammation of the gut or digestive system. Although Crohn’s can affect any part of the gut, the most common area to be affected is the ileum, which is the last part of the small intestine or the colon. Those who have Crohn’s disease suffer from long-term swelling and irritation in the gastrointestinal tract, which leads to very painful stomach cramps.
It’s been reported that more than half a million people in North America suffer from Crohn’s disease, and unfortunately western medication offers no known cure for it. It is a condition that can result in abdominal pain, severe vomiting, diarrhea and bloody stool, extreme weight loss and even skin and eye conditions. Simply put, anyone who suffers from Crohn’s disease will tell you that it’s a debilitating ailment which causes extreme pain and disruption in day to day life.
Also, Crohn’s is considered a chronic condition which means that it is ongoing and likely to be life-long. It’s very possible that you will experience periods of good health, and then times when symptoms are more active or flare up. The symptoms will vary between individuals and they often depend on where in the gut the disease is active. These symptoms will range from mild to severe, and may change over time. Some of the most common symptoms (along with those already mentioned above) are the following:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Anemia (a reduced level of red blood cells)
- Mouth ulcers
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Feeling generally unwell or feverish
- Abdominal pain and diarrhea
Who Suffers from Crohn’s Disease?
Affecting as many as 780,000 Americans, it’s important to understand who is at risk of developing this disease. Crohn’s can occur at any age, but it tends to onset in adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 35. Both men and women are equally likely to be affected.
While the exact causes of Crohn’s are not well understood, diet and stress are thought to be major factors that will aggravate it. Also, the latest research suggests that genetics and a combination of hereditary and environmental factors may contribute to the development of the condition. The immune system may also play a major role, wherein a virus or bacterium lodged in the intestinal wall could trigger the disease.
At present, there is no medical cure for Crohn’s disease in mainstream medicine, but surgery and medication could give long periods of release from symptoms. Unfortunately, however, pharmaceuticals are known for having adverse side effects such as headaches, vomiting, night sweats, skin diseases, infections, and nausea, just to name a few. This is where cannabis comes in, and more specifically, CBD. For those who suffer from this debilitating disease, there is hope, because CBD is a natural remedy known to provide incredible relief for many dozens of medical ailments, including Crohn’s disease.
How CBD can Help Treat Crohn’s Disease
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical found in cannabis, and although it comes from the same plant as THC, it doesn’t contain any psychoactive effects, meaning it won’t get you “stoned.” CBD also has very mild side effects in comparison to almost all other medications, and it poses no risk of addiction. Thus, it is a great option for patients looking for pain relief – especially those who want to avoid opioids and their adverse effects.
Pharmaceutical medications can help in treating the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, but side effects (such as those mentioned above) can often do more harm than good. As research into cannabis intensifies, scientists are discovering how cannabinoids may be a much less risky way to treat Crohn’s disease.
CBD is a cannabinoid that occurs naturally in the cannabis plant. Our body consists of a number of cannabinoids that interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors which can be found in the intestines, brain, colon, and central nervous system. CBD acts a cannabinoid which binds itself to these special receptors in our body when we consume it. When this happens, the active CBD gives the receptors the ability to relieve nausea, pain and ill feelings. In essence, CBD helps to limit the pain and swelling associated with Crohn’s disease which ultimately makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight, eat, and live a comfortable life.
There was a great article published on GreenRushDaily which explains CBD and Crohn’s Disease in a very easy to understand way. The following was stated: “When CBD links up with your body’s cannabinoid receptors, it helps regulate pain and discomfort while helping to decrease inflammation and improve appetite. All of this combines to give Crohn’s patients an effective and safe form of treatment.”
The good news is that the body is already known to contain cannabinoid receptors in the gastrointestinal tract and immune cells in great quantities, and this provides significant benefits in terms of pain and inflammation reduction.
One of the most prevalent reasons that Crohn’s patients choose to use CBD, in fact, is because it contains amazing anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. It was found that CBD has the potential to stimulate the use of additional white blood cells which, in addition to helping fight against inflammation, helps to fight off illness and disease. Of course, this is ideal for Crohn’s patients.
Furthermore, a study published by the National Institute of Health discovered that CBD contains anti-bacterial effects, which is particularly beneficial to Crohn’s patients because gastrointestinal infections are common among people who suffer from chronic GI conditions.
Typically, if you are experiencing inflammation or pain that is chronic or long-lasting, your endocannabinoid system (ECS) is out of sync. The ECS resides in the brain and helps to regulate all internal systems of the body, including the gut. Simply put, the ECS is responsible for telling the body how much acid to have in the blood, what temperature to be, and even — you guessed it — how much pain to feel.
It’s also closely associated with your immune system, which makes CBD a great compound for treating autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. Moreover, cannabis can help the body “figure out” how to work properly without giving negative side effects. In other words, CBD provides help from chemicals outside the brain, and also helps to pump up and revamp chemicals that are already in the brain that may need a “pick me up.”
By using CBD to treat Crohn’s disease, you are attacking the disease in all of the places that it is attacking the body – CBD reduces pain, protects the stomach, and decreases inflammation. Essentially, it’s an all-in-one medication that has a short (and even non-existent) list of side-effects.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Crohn’s Disease
Varying studies exist, all of which show the ability of CBD to treat Crohn’s patients effectively. However, more research still needs to be done in order to determine the efficiency and long-term effects of the cannabis-based therapy.
On the positive side, though, with the growing support of medical cannabis, it’s highly likely that more funds and effort will be put behind conducting additional studies and additional clinical research. Cannabis offers a multitude of medicinal benefits, but when it comes to Crohn’s disease, it’s the CBD specifically that helps most with treatment.
We hope that this post has been informative, educational, and hopefully cleared up any uncertainties that you may have had surrounding CBD and Crohn’s disease.