Crohn’s, one of a collection of conditions that make up irritable bowel disease, has gotten more attention from researchers recently. There seems to be an interest in treating this autoimmune disease with cannabis or CBD.
Crohn’s, like other inflammatory bowel conditions, can include symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, weight loss, fatigue, anemia and digestive problems. Symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening, depending on the severity of the disease. At this point there are few, if any, medicines that can cure Crohn’s. Some immunosuppresants or steroids might slow its advance, but rarely prevent flareups or symptoms.
CBD research and Crohn’s
Given that CBD is an anti-inflammatory, the idea of using it to help relieve symptoms makes sense. In fact, a couple of English researchers from the University of Nottingham, found that the molecules, endocannabinoid and the endocannabinoid-like molecule palmitoylethanolamide, prevented inflammation, which causes permeability in a subject’s colon, a trigger for Crohn’s. Although cannabis is not a cure for Crohn’s, researchers are taking a close look at whether it could keep the disease in remission.
Currently, studies have inconclusive results. However, researchers remain optimistic. Dustin Sulak, D.O., is an integrative medicine physician based in Maine. Dr. Sulak has treated about 400 patients with CBD. He’s seen a range of responses, from nothing to being able to manage symptoms while on biologic drugs and then patients are able to wean off the drugs and retain remission. Often the drugs have adverse side effects that have prompted people to seek help from CBD, which has few, if any side effects.
A recent survey conducted by researchers in Ohio showed that those patients who used cannabis had 40% to 70% fewer problems than patients who did not use cannabis for the condition. Although the patients were not receiving medical guidance, the potential to treat Crohn’s with cannabis can become a reality when physicians gain more education and can help their patients work with CBD to relieve symptoms.
How to use CBD for Crohn’s
First let me emphasize, cannabis is not a cure for Crohn’s. It may, however, have beneficial results when combined with a more healthful lifestyle. It could help mitigate many of the symptoms. We do know that CBD can relieve nausea and stimulate appetite. It also can reduce pain caused by inflammation, and it can help you get better sleep, so you can fight fatigue.
So, don’t look to it as a cure, think of CBD as a path to better quality of life.