Medical Marijuana can provide relief for Gastrointestinal disorders like IBS, Crohn’s and Colitis

Nearly one in every five Canadians and Americans, especially women, suffer terribly from gastrointestinal disorders, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s disease and colitis. The painful symptoms...

Nearly one in every five Canadians and Americans, especially women, suffer terribly from gastrointestinal disorders, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s disease and colitis.

The painful symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, inflammation of the lining of the large and/or small intestine, chronic diarrhea and rectal bleeding. In addition, many people suffer from unwanted weight loss and nutritional deficiencies.

While some gastrointestinal disorders (GI) disorders do improve with changes in diet and the use of prescription drugs, some show little to no improvement with conventional treatment. For this reason many patients suffering from GI disorders use medical marijuana therapeutically to ease their pain and symptoms.

Preclinical studies in animals have shown promising results that include:

• Reduced acid relux (1)

• Reduced intestinal secretions (2)

• Some protection against inflammation (3)

• Epitheal (tissues lining the intestines and bowel) wound healing in humans (4)

Extremely positive results were obtained in a study at the Meir Medical Center, Institute of Gastroenterology, where researchers examined disease activity, the use of medications, the need for surgery and hospitalization, before and after the use of medical marijuana in 30 patients who had Crohn’s Disease (CD).

The researchers reported, “All patients stated that consuming cannabis had a positive effect on their disease activity and 21 of the 30 patients (70 percent) experienced significant improvement.” Another very significant finding was that patients who consumed cannabis “significantly reduced their need for other medications.”

Participants in this study also reported that they needed fewer surgeries after their use of cannabis. “Fifteen of the patients (50 percent) had 19 surgeries during an average period of nine years before cannabis use, but only two participants (less than 7 percent) needed surgery during an average period of three years of cannabis use”.

The research scientists concluded: “The results indicate that cannabis may have a positive effect on disease activity, as reflected by a reduction in disease activity index and in the need for other drugs and surgery.” (5)

The researchers reported, “All patients stated that consuming cannabis had a positive effect on their disease activity and 21 of the 30 patients (70 percent) experienced significant improvement.” Another very significant finding was that patients who consumed cannabis “significantly reduced their need for other medications.”

Further very encouraging results were obtained in a follow up trial study that reported inhaled cannabis “decreased Crohn’s disease symptoms in patients with a conventional treatment-resistant form of the disease.” Nearly half of the patients in this trial study achieved disease remission.(6) (Disease remission means a temporary end to the medical signs and symptoms of an incurable disease.)

Many doctors and medical researchers now believe that specific molecules (cannabinoids or CBS) in marijuana help to modulate or modify how our own internal cannabinoid receptor cells work – sort of like how an adjustable (variable control) switch helps to brighten or dim a light bulb.(6) The cannabinoid-rich strains of medical marijuana now available therefore offer the potential to provide a new and very promising approach to the treatment of many GI disorders, including IBS, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), secretory diarrhea, gastric ulcers and colon cancer. (7-9)

Please share with us your experiences with specific strains of medical marijuana, or mmj extracts, and how it has helped your GI disease so that we can share this information with others to help them too.

Sources:

(1) Lehmann et al. 2002. Cannabinoid receptor agonism inhibits transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations and reflux in dogs. Gastroenterology 123: 1129-1134.

(2) DiCarlo and Izzo. 2003. . Cannabinoids for gastrointestinal diseases: potential therapeutic applications. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs 12: 39-49.

(3) Massa et al. 2005. The endocannabinoid system in the physiology and pathophysiology of the gastrointestinal tract. Journal of Molecular Medicine 12: 944-954.

(4) Wright et al. 2005. Differential expression of cannabinoid receptors in the human colon: cannabinoids promote epithelial wound healing. Gastroenterology 129: 437-453.

(5) Naftali et al. 2011. Treatment of Chron’s disease with cannabis: anobservational study. Journal of Israeli Medical Association 13: 455-458.

(6) Naftali et al. 2013. Cannabis induces a clinical response in patients with Crohn’s disease: a prospective placebo-controlled study. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 11: 1276-1280.

(7) Masa and Monory 2006. Endocannabinoids and the gastrointestinal tract. Journal of Endocrinological Investigation 29 (Suppl): 47-57.

(8) Izzo and Coutts.. 2005. Cannabinoids and the digestive tract. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology 168: 573-598.

(9) Izzo et al. 2009. Non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids: new therapeutic opportunities from an ancient herb. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences: 30: 515-527.

(10) NORML: Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids

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2 comments

  1. Jeff Elton Reply

    I suffer from Diabetic Neuropathic Gastroparesis. I have successfully used medical marijuana for the last 3 years. It controls my chronic nausea & vomiting when nothing else will. I even moved from Iowa to Colorado for mmj and am not sorry at all. Though I do miss my granddaughters. The US Government has lost all my respect as they are not interested in the truth only in control. Far as I am concerned they can eat shit and die. After all that's what they want us to do. BTW I am a 61 yr old man. Time for my morning joint 🙂

    1. Bill Reply

      Go for it I am 73 and have major back issues and after a 4 hour operation and my marijuana I suffer about only 50% of the time. I have not as of yet taken percription drugs. I am thankful I in Canada were medical pot is legal.