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Increasing amounts of research are examining the connection between medical marijuana and Crohn’s disease to determine its viability as a treatment. Many of these studies have found evidence to support it, showing that cannabis is an effective way to alleviate symptoms arising from Crohn’s disease. As a result, more states are adding inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s to their list of approved conditions for which to use medical marijuana.
Here’s our breakdown of the latest discoveries, how to best use cannabis to treat Crohn’s disease, and a few strain (cultivar) recommendations that may get the job done.
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How Cannabis Affects Crohn’s Disease
Many aspects of cannabis have displayed potential usefulness in treating Crohn’s disease, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These are two of the plant’s most prominent compounds: THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of medical cannabis, whereas CBD deals primarily with inflammation and anxiety. However, the range of their impact is broader than these categories.
Cannabis can help address many effects and symptoms of Crohn’s disease by:
- Reducing inflammation.
- Providing analgesic pain relief.
- Reducing anxiety.
- Increasing appetite.
- Suppressing nausea and reducing vomiting.
A 2005 study found that 12 patients with Crohn’s disease reported significant improvements in pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue when using cannabis in a survey. Another study in 2011 reported similar results, where all 30 patients with Crohn’s disease who consumed cannabis reported an experiential decrease in their disease activity, and about 60% showed a significant reduction of symptoms.
Research examining medical marijuana’s marked anti-inflammatory properties specifically pointed to the plant as a therapeutic target for treating inflammatory intestinal conditions, such as Crohn’s. Another explanation for the relief could be the anti-inflammatory properties of specific cannabinoids and the overall sense of well-being using marijuana provides.
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Best Ways to Use Cannabis for Crohn’s Disease
The best way to consume cannabis for Crohn’s disease depends entirely on the patient’s specific needs and physiology.
Smoking is one popular and fast-acting way of using medical marijuana, but smoking can harm your lungs in the long term due to inhaling carcinogens. Alternatively, vaping reduces the temperature at which cannabis is exposed to heat, vaporizing the cannabinoids instead of igniting them and offering a safer method of getting the benefits into your system.
Edibles may be the preferred option for longer-lasting relief to address chronic symptoms. Edibles are easier than smoking or vaping, with extended effects lasting for hours. They’re also much easier to dose than smoking weed, especially when the edibles are purchased from a dispensary.
Topicals, alternatively, offer localized pain relief without the psychoactivity of other consumption methods. These may be the best fit for treating external pain associated with Crohn’s disease but may be less effective than other consumption methods for other symptoms.
Seeking high-CBD options also will go a long way toward effective relief. CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory and can temper the psychoactive effects of THC, perfect for those who want to skip out on the euphoric part of medical marijuana. Pure CBD products may also provide relief, but then you miss out on the compounded benefits of the entourage effect.
Beta-caryophyllene, an atypical cannabinoid, and terpene also offers anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects that could be of huge help to patients with an IBD like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.
Best Marijuana Strains for Crohn’s Disease
ACDC is a cultivar known for its analgesic properties, thanks to its unique THC, CBD, and terpenes blend. Its higher CBD levels temper the psychoactivity of its THC while offering compounding anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits. ACDC contains plenty of myrcene and beta-caryophyllene.
Blackberry Kush is a useful strain for addressing abdominal pain, one of the side effects of Crohn’s disease. The cultivar typically contains higher levels of caryophyllene and myrcene, known to relieve pain and relax users. Beta-caryophyllene, myrcene, limonene, and linalool are the dominant terpenes in Blackberry Kush.
OG Kush is a useful choice for Crohn’s, thanks to its ability to stimulate hunger and temper severe nausea. Its peppery smell comes from high levels of beta-caryophyllene and myrcene, which contribute to the “munchies” and remove nausea from the equation. Myrcene, limonene, humulene, and pinene are some of OG Kush’s significant terpenes.
Jack Herer is a more energizing strain with higher levels of pinene and limonene. This cultivar may help combat the fatigue and anxiety associated with Crohn’s disease. Limonene, myrcene, pinene, beta-caryophyllene, and terpinolene are the dominant terpenes in Jack Herer.
While some joke about weed giving people the “munchies,” appetite stimulation benefits those with Crohn’s. Sonoma Coma reportedly stimulates hunger in patients, helping those struggling with Crohn’s disease regain their appetite. Limonene, beta-caryophyllene, myrcene, and terpinolene are the most dominant terpenes in Sonoma Coma.
Monster Cookies offers analgesic properties, thanks to its high levels of beta-caryophyllene, which is known for soothing sensory pain and inflammation. Other terpenes found in Monster Cookies include linalool, humulene, and limonene.
Cannatonic is a mostly CBD strain, conferring the anti-inflammatory benefits of the cannabinoid upon those who need it most. Many Crohn’s patients also suffer from severe anxiety, and Cannatonic’s high CBD content is well-suited to soothing those symptoms. Myrcene, pinene, limonene, and caryophyllene are the dominant terpenes in Cannatonic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is CBD good for Crohn’s disease?
Of the few studies examining cannabis efficacy as a treatment for Crohn’s disease, one small study found that CBD oil taken in pill form may also help relieve Crohn’s symptoms. More research is needed, but many patients have anecdotally claimed CBD provides relief.
Can THC help Crohn’s disease?
The cannabis plant is shown to help relieve pain, nausea, anxiety, and chronic inflammation symptoms related to Crohn’s disease. However, much more research is needed to support these findings.
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