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An Overview of Medical Marijuana for Crohns Disease

Medical marijuana has evolved into a therapy for painful GI disorders involving cramping and bowel disorders. These diseases include Crohn’s disease, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, and colitis. Patients with these diseases suffer from inflammation, chronic pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and cramping. Medical marijuana often reduces these symptoms significantly.

Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune bowel disorder that inolves chronic inflammation. It causes severe, intense pain and has an unknown cause. The disease is destructive to one’s intestines. Over half a million people in the US are afflicted with Crohn’s. In most states approved for medical marijuana, Crohn’s is an acceptable qualification.

Typical medications used for Crohn’s include immunosuppressive ones such as methotrexate, Imuran, steroids, 6 MP, steroids, Remicade, and Mesalamine. These medications may cause the same symptoms as the disease including , diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and nausea, Steroids have some side effects that may include ulcers, glucose intolerance, adrenal dysfunction, and bone thinning.

Multiple studies have showed promising outcomes for medical marijuana reducing the symptoms of GI disorders like Crohn’s.

A 2005 study published in O’Shaughnessy’s found that cannabis helped a lot with the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. It was a pilot study using marijuana at the Society of Cannabis Clinicians in a dozen patients with the disease and patients described significant improvement for appetite, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and depression. There were less flare-ups and fewer stools per day. Patients were able to decrease the amount of immunosuppressive medications necessary as well.

Please enter paragraphAnother study from 2001 called Cannabinoids and the Gastrointestinal Tract found that the cannabinoids found in marijuana represent a potentially brilliant option for the treatment of numerous GI disorders – including inflammatory bowel diseases, functional bowel diseases, gastro-esophageal reflux conditions, secretory diarrhea, gastric ulcers, and colon cancer. There are receptors both in the brain and the GI system named CB1 receptors. In animals the study showed that agonists for these receptors delayed gastric emptying and inhibited gastric acid secretion. CB1 receptors are mostly located in the brain.

It was shown in 2006 in the Journal of Endocrinology that activating CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptor allows for a biological function on the GI system.

CB2 receptors exist in numerous cells outside the brain such as in the lining of the GI tract. Marijuana has cannabinoids which activate these receptors and that is thought to reduce GI tract inflammation along with reducing swelling and pain. Beta-caryophyllene is also in marijuana and it too turns on the CB2 receptors.

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