Did you know that across America a staggering 24 MILLION people suffer from some form of inflammatory disease? Of those millions, around 700,000 people suffer from Crohn’s, the life-long chronic condition.
Perhaps one of the lesser known inflammatory diseases, Crohn’s is actually a form of irritable bowel disease (IBD) which involves inflammation of the digestive, or gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
With current Crohn’s treatments including addictive steroids and immune suppressants that come with a list of mild to severe side effects, patients have started looking to CBD as a more natural alternative treatment.
What Is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s Disease is the continuous flare-up of inflammation that can happen anywhere throughout the GI tract – all the way from our mouths to our anus.
Side effects of the condition vary, and can often come and go, which makes it a very difficult disorder to live with, let alone try and treat. Moreover, it can often lead to other serious conditions such as depression.
Common side effects of the disease can change in severity, and can include some or all of the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Frequent diarrhea
- Significant anemia
- Significant weight loss
How Is Crohn’s Disease Traditionally Treated?
There are many medications on the market to relieve the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease, some of which can actually be bought over the counter! There is also a range of pharmaceuticals designed to help control and prevent flare-ups of the disease, and some of these medications you might expect to be prescribed by your doctor. A few of the most common include:
- Antibiotics: Including medications such as Metronidazole and Ciprofloxacin)
- Aminosalicylates: Used to decrease inflammation in the lining of the intestines.
- Corticosteroids: Steroids to reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system.
These are just a few of the traditional medications given to patients with Crohn’s. However, these medications can be highly addictive if used for too long, and might come with a list of side effects that can ultimately do more harm than good! Also, in the most severe cases of Crohn’s Disease, the patient may require surgery to remove part of the effected (chronically inflammed) area.
What Is CBD?
One of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant, Cannabidiol (CBD) is fast becoming the most talked about active compound! Over the last few years, progress into the research of CBD has brought up some amazing results, causing skeptics to take note!
As it turns out, Cannabis can do much more than just get you high! CBD, for instance, along with many other of the researched cannabinoids, has been scientifically proven to provide incredibly powerful medicinal benefits!
While THC may have shot the plant to fame all those years ago, CBD is now the star of the show with its long list of medical attributes, and no known side effects. Some of its most well-known uses include:
With a list like that, it is no wonder that specific forms of CBD are now legal in all 50 states of America, and is frequently used to treat a range of debilitating conditions, some of which can be found below:
- Chron’s Disease
- Digestive Issues
- Multiple Sclerosis
How Does CBD Work For Crohn’s Disease?
For those less in the know about cannabis and its medical benefits, the miracle-working of CBD may seem too good to be true! However, the science is definitely there to back it up, with more and more research going into the humble plant each year!
CBD is what is known as a Phytocannabinoid, meaning it is a cannabinoid which naturally occurs within the cannabis plant. What is incredible is that our bodies also create cannabinoids, but these ones are known as Endocannabinoids, meaning they are created naturally by the body!
These natural cannabinoids are produced by the Endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays a huge part in almost every aspect of our being! The ECS oversees, among other things, the regulation of our vital organs, mood, appetite, sleep, and even the way we feel pain (that’s just to name a few!) Also, when CBD is consumed, it interacts with the ECS and encourages a larger production of the self-healing endocannabinoids, which is why it is so effective in a range of diseases!
The debilitating symptoms of Crohn’s disease center almost entirely around the consistent inflammation that takes place in the GI tract. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a natural treatment that is 100% non-addictive, and comes with no known side effects.
Moreover, CBD in conjunction with THC has been proven to provide an even stronger effect on Crohn’s Disease as it combines the anti-oxidant effects of CBD with the pain-relieving benefits that come with THC. (CBD also works to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC, meaning patients won’t experience the same intensity of a high).
However, we appreciate the increasing number of patients that do not want to experience any high at all, and this is what makes CBD such an ideal option for many sufferers! As well as being a strong anti-inflammatory, CBD can also combat Crohn’s Disease in other ways:
- CBD has anti-motility effects, meaning it can reduce inflammatory hypermobility that is commonly associated with Crohn’s.
- CBD will only affect the inflamed areas of the body, leaving healthy areas untouched.
- While CBD may not bind to CB1 receptors, it can activate them which leads to an increase in endocannabinoid levels.
- CBD can suppress muscle spasms.
Don’t just take our word for it – there have been plenty of studies done into CBD as an effective treatment for Crohn’s Disease! Here are some of the most famous ones:
1. Published in 2013, a study involving 21 Chron’s patients was done to see if cannabis could have a positive impact on the condition.
THE STUDY: 21 patients were split into two groups. Group A consisted of 11 patients, all of which were given cannabis cigarettes over a ten week period. Group B had the remaining ten patients who received a placebo.
- THE RESULTS:
Over the course of the ten-week investigation, every member of Group A reported significant improvements in their Crohn’s symptoms.
- A further five patients from Group A experience complete remission of their Crohn’s.
- Three patients from Group A had stopped using steroids without any adverse effects at all!
2. An overview study published in 2013 that looked at the use of CBD in inflammatory bowel diseases stated that CBD showed strategic interaction throughout the body, making it a potential candidate for the development of a new class of anti-IBD drugs.
3. A study published in 2012 looked at 13 IBD patients. Over the course of three months they each were treated with medical cannabis cigarettes, and results showed that each of the participants reported an improvement in general health, improved social functioning, an improved ability to work, a decrease in physical pain, and a sharp decline in depression. Moreover, the study also revealed that the treatment led to a rise in both weight and Body Mass Index (BMI)!
With such a damaging and often unpredictable condition as Crohn’s Disease, it can sometimes feel that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. That’s why when new and ground-breaking research comes onto the scene (like it has done recently with CBD), it can often be mistaken as the answer to all your prayers!
Realistically, though, in the case of CBD this might just actually come close – while we would not recommend CBD as a replacement for professional care, we certainly feel like the science behind it suggests it to be an incredibly effective option for those who are struggling with Crohn’s Disease, and who may be fed up with the more traditional treatment options.
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