How Does Cannabis Play a Role in the Treatment of Crohn’s Disease?

The usage of medical marijuana has increased over the past few years. With the enactment of cannabis laws, more people are using cannabis as alternative medicine.

You can apply for a medical marijuana card in Modesto to legally avail the benefits of cannabis. Just apply for 420 evaluations online through a MMJ website, get an appointment and consult with the Medical Marijuana doctor on the same day through telemedicine.

There are enough evidence avaliable on the anti-inflammatory, appetizing and analgesic properties of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. 

But, Does it help in relieving symptoms of Crohn’s disease?

There are some studies carried out to test the clinical remission of Crohn’s disease using cannabis. Crohn’s disease causes inflammation in our digestive tract and is linked with weight loss, abdominal pain, malnutrition, and diarrhea. 

Medical marijuana could help in managing specific symptoms linked to Crohn’s disease. In fact, Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) could set off due to an impaired immune system, and the positive response of CB2 receptors present in our endocannabinoid system implies that cannabinoids play an essential role in the regulation of the immune system.

Although to reach a conclusion for using medical cannabis as a remedy for Crohn’s disease, we need to understand a few things in its relevance. 

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation in different areas of our digestive tract. It can affect our bowel movements and can spread deep into the layers of bowel tissues. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, loss of nutrition, and fatigue are often linked with Crohn’s disease.

However, there are no medications that stop its recurrence; therapies can significantly relieve their symptoms.  

Common symptoms

Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease can vary from mild to severe and usually develop over some time.

It affects different areas of our digestive tract and generally involves the end of the small intestine and colon. In some patients, it affects the areas of the small intestine or could affect the colon (in the large intestine).

Commonly known symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Blood in stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss and malnutrition
  • Pain near anus due to the inflammation in the excretory tunnel

Causes

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown. However, doctors say that hereditary and impaired immune systems could aggravate their development.

Malfunctioning Immune System:

The defensive mechanism of our immune system against invading viruses or bacteria may trigger Crohn’s disease. When an impaired immune system fights against these microorganisms, it could attack the cells present in our digestive tract and trigger the development of Crohn’s disease.

Heredity:

Although most people with Crohn’s disease do not have a family history of the disease, doctors claim that people with family members having the disease are more inclined towards the condition.

Trigger Factors 

Smoking

Smokers are more inclined to develop Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Research suggests that smoking raises the severity of the disease.

However, smoking decreases the severity of Ulcerative Colitis, which causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. 

Lifestyle And Neighbourhood

If you are living in industrialized surroundings, you are more prone to developing Crohn’s disease. Dietary factors like fatty foods and food rich in fiber could also be the trigger factors in IBD. 

Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Medications

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAID) are commonly used for inflammatory and develop gastrointestinal toxicity and mucosal injury. NSAIDs are also possibly associated with IBD/ Crohn’s diseases and can onset or relapse. 

Complications

Bowel Obstruction

Crohn’s disease often changes the thickness of the intestine wall. In some patients, areas of the bowel can scar and narrow down and can block the digestion of food.

In severe cases, patients might have to go through surgery to remove the damaged portion of the bowel.

Ulcers

Chronic inflammation in your digestive could lead to ulcers or open sores in arbitrary areas. Ulcers could happen in your mouth, anus, or genital areas.

Fistula

In some cases, ulcers could extend through the intestine wall, which could create an abnormal connection between two body parts. Surgery or inflammation can cause a fistula. In Crohn’s disease, fistulas often develop near the anal area.

Malnutrition

Abdominal pain and diarrhea could make it difficult to digest food and prevent us from absorbing enough nutrients. This is a common trait among inflammatory bowel disease patients who could also develop anemia due to the lack of iron or vitamin B-12.

Endocannabinoid System and Cannabinoids on IBD

Cannabinoids present in cannabis modulates the working of our endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids present in the endocannabinoid system controls various functions related to our central nervous system and immune system. 

On the other hand, there is enough evidence that says, increasing the signaling through receptors (CB1 And CB2) in our endocannabinoid system reduces the inflammation in our intestine.

Cannabinoids Improve Symptoms Associated with IBD

There are enough studies that suggest, cannabinoids improve the symptoms linked with IBD such as, loss of appetite, pain, and diarrhea.

In the studies concerned with living organisms, endocannabinoids show an improvement in colitis (linked with inflammation of the inner lining of the colon). Cannabinoids interact with our endocannabinoid system and modulate the endogenous lipid ligands and their receptors. Modulation in the endocannabinoid system results in the inhibition of degradative enzymes, which shows improvement in colitis.

THC is most likely to reduce Crohn’s disease activity

In this study conducted on 93 patients over eight weeks, patients who smoked THC infused cigarettes showed a better response over those who smoked cannabis with removed THC. 

Almost 45 percent of patients had a positive response, which is better as compared to the placebo group, with 10 percent patient achieving any clinical remission.

Although cannabis with THC showed better results among patients, this response was not convincing enough for a recommendation of its usage.

Cannabis Users With Crohn’s Disease Had Lower Risks For Colorectal Cancer

In a study, including 6000 patients with Crohn’s disease, we noticed that cannabis users with Crohn’s disease had lower prospects for colorectal cancer. 

We also noticed a lower frequency of anemia and parenteral nutrition among cannabis users. However, higher occurrences of intraabdominal abscess formation and active fistulizing disease were detected among them.

Conclusion:

Despite these promising experiments and clinical trials, cannabinoids showed mixed results, and their effects on clinical remission were unclear. Yes, cannabinoids indeed show a positive response in the improvement of a few symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

It’s still not evident that there’s a significant improvement in the treatment of IBD or Crohn’s disease with cannabis use. 

We need more evidence and studies on this subject to come to a reliable solution.