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When drugs fail and surgery is the only remaining option on the horizon, cannabis may provide an effective and safe natural alternative intervention for the debilitating inflammatory bowel disease known as Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease is a debilitating inflammatory bowel disease that chronically affects the lining of the digestive tract and is usually resistant to conventional drug-based treatment. Even with treatment the condition generally progresses to the point where surgery is required in 70% of sufferers. Surgery, however, does not usually provide a cure, with 30% undergoing surgery seeing a recurrence of symptoms within three years, and 60% within 10 years.
Given the poor prognosis of those diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, some with the condition have been known to experiment with natural alternatives. At GreenMedInfo.com we have gathered preliminary research on natural interventions for the condition, with probiotics, boswellia and curcumin (a turmeric polyphenol) at the top of the list. We have also spent a good deal of time reporting on research indicating that wheat is an inflammatory food to the digestive tract and therefore should likely be avoided by anyone with an inflammatory bowel condition.
One potential remedy for Crohn’s disease that we have not yet reported on is cannabis. Animal research already indicates that it can ameliorate colitis, an inflammatory condition of the colon. There is also an established role of cannabis within gastroenterology for the following conditions: “anorexia, emesis, abdominal pain, gastroenteritis, diarrhea, intestinal inflammation, and diabetic gastroparesis.” Additionally, a retrospective observational study from 2011 found that 21 of the 30 patients who imbibed inhaled cannabis saw significant improvement, with patients requiring steroid treatment reduced from 26 to 4. [view the full PDF here]
These preliminary results set the groundwork for a new study investigating cannabis in Crohn’s patients published this month in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and titled, “Cannabis Induces a Clinical Response in Patients With Crohn’s Disease: A Prospective Placebo-Controlled Study.” [view the full PDF here]