Cannabis for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a general term that describes conditions of chronic inflammation of the bowels. Types of IBD include Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease which are characterized by diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fatigue, and weight loss.
Unfortunately, IBD has no cure. Instead, patients take over-the-counter medications to reduce inflammation and other symptoms. Most of these medications bring about potentially serious side effects, including lymphoma, non-melanoma skin cancers, and liver issues.
One popular and highly controversial alternative treatment is cannabis. With cannabis being tipped as a go-to source for many people, and with its increasing accessibility through state legislations, what does the research say about its use for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, specifically? In this article, we will look more into cannabis for IBD and explain what the evidence shows about cannabis for the treatment of IBD.
Research on Medical cannabis and IBD
Several small studies conducted on patients with IBD show positive effects on clinical symptoms in some patients. However, several studies have shown no real improvement in symptoms. Some common effects include relief from abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and joint pain as well as improvement in appetite.
Two recent systematic reviews involving patients with active Crohn’s (1) and patients with active ulcerative colitis (2) showed potential. These reviews analyzed the effects of cannabis cigarettes and cannabis oil on effects including disease remission or activity, inflammation, symptoms, and quality of life.
Neither review showed the ability of cannabis cigarettes or cannabis oil to induce remission in patients with active disease or ease inflammation (1;2). In both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, cannabis cigarettes highly reduced the activeness of the disease (1;2), but in Crohn’s patients, this was followed by higher mild side effects such as memory loss, drowsiness, dizziness, and concentration difficulties (1). Cannabis oil led to significant increases in life quality in both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis (1;2). However, in patients with ulcerative colitis, this method led to mild to moderately severe side effects such as headache, dizziness, nausea, and concentration difficulties (2).
So, are these findings helpful for patients and caregivers affected by Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis? Eventually, the evidence-base surrounding the use of cannabis and cannabis oil for Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis is not qualitative. Therefore, there are no solid conclusions regarding the effectiveness or safety of cannabis and cannabis oil. We need future research that will involve larger participants, account for different disease statuses, and evaluate different types/doses of cannabis (1;2).
If you want to use medical marijuana or CBD oil as a treatment for Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, schedule with Trilogy Medicinal in Port St. Lucie to help you navigate the potential harms and benefits and factors in where the current evidence lies.
While IBD has no cure, taking treatments to help with its symptoms can bring long-term relief. There is need for more in-depth studies to better clarify the effects of cannabis on Crohn’s or colitis. However, if you want to use cannabis for Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis schedule with Trilogy Medicinal in Port St. Lucie.
- Kafil TS, Nguyen TM, MacDonald JK, et al. Cannabis for the treatment of Crohn’s disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018; 11:CD012853. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012853.pub2.
- Kafil TS, Nguyen TM, MacDonald JK, et al. Cannabis for the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018; 11:CD012954. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012954.pub2.