Medical Marijuana For Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes a group of chronic conditions characterized by inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The most commonly presenting inflammatory bowel diseases are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, however collagenous colitis and lymphatic colitis are categorized as forms of IBD.
Ulcerative colitis is a progressive conditions which presents in the form of inflammation and sores in the lining of the colon and rectum, whereas Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation of the entire lower GI tract and can penetrate deep into tissues leading to the need for resection. Although the specific “cause” of these conditions is still unclear, it is generally believed that the inflammation is autoimmune response. New research has suggested that autoimmune response is influenced by gut bacteria.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptoms
The symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease vary significantly in their frequency of presentation and their severity. Patients suffering from IBD can experience Diarrhea; Fever and fatigue; Abdominal pain and cramping; Bloody stool; Reduced appetite; and Unintended weight loss. In addition to the symptoms listed, many patients experience a number of side effects, which may also be reduced by medical cannabis.
Effects of Medical Cannabis Use
The link between cannabis and the management of the symptoms of IBD can be found in the expression of cannabinoid receptions in the enteric nervous system. Patients use cannabis to manage pain and inflammation associated with the GI swelling that occurs when symptoms flare up. Placebo-controlled research has demonstrated evidence for the use of cannabis is via the inhaled route of administration as it provides patients with the most rapid onset for the management of acute symptoms.
Canada Wide Consultations
Naftali et al.examined a group of 21 subjects, consuming inhaled cannabis with a potency of 23% THC. The study showed that the active treatment group were more likely than patients in the placebo group to decrease their Crohn’s Disease Activity Index (CDAI) score, demonstrating improvement in their condition.
The result, however, was not shown to be statistically significant. In an examination of the current practices of IBD patients, Lal et al. investigated the use of cannabis in a large cohort (n=291) of patients receiving outpatient care. The results showed that of 33% of the patients with ulcerative colitis and 50% of the patient with Crohn’s disease elected to procure and use cannabis to reduce the severity of their symptoms.
Final Notes about IBD and Medical Cannibas Use
It is important to note that the administration of orally ingested cannabis has not been investigated in a controlled study, however the route of administration is directly to the GI tract when ingested and for some patients may provide a longer duration of symptom relief