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Crohn’s Disease Studies Supporting Medical Marijuana

Chrons disease

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract, belonging to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel diseasesSymptoms may include abdominal cramps, constipation, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, night sweats, and weight loss.

Fortunately, patients can find relief with medical marijuana. Multiple studies support the use of medical cannabis in treating Crohn’s disease. Below, CannaMD outlines the most promising research to date.

Decrease in disease activity with medical marijuana

In 2011, the Israel Medical Association Journal reported findings from the first ever study on cannabis use in Crohn’s disease. Conducting retrospective interviews, researchers concluded:

The results indicate that cannabis may have a positive effect on disease activity, as reflected by reduction in disease activity index and in the need for other drugs and surgery.

Contemplating marijuana’s possible method(s) of action, study authors note:

The observed beneficial effect in this study may be due to the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis, but additional effects of cannabinoids may also play a role. Cannabinoids influence gastrointestinal motility and, in particular, have an anti-diarrheal effect, as observed in mice injected with cholera toxin.

However, perhaps of most interest:

The central effect of cannabinoids may induce a sensation of general well-being, which could contribute to the feeling that cannabis use is beneficial. However, this general effect wears off with time as tolerance develops, while the positive effect of cannabis on disease activity in our patients was maintained for an average period of 3.1 years.

Of the 30 study participants, 21 improved “significantly” after treatment with cannabis. The need for other medication was also “significantly reduced.”

Cannabis may lead to complete Crohn’s disease remission

A 2013 Gastroenterology and Hepatology study randomly assigned Crohn’s disease patients who didn’t respond to other treatments (including steroids, immunomodulators, and anti-tumor necrosis factor-α agents) to smoke either cannabis cigarettes with or without 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

Study results showed:

Complete remission (CDAI score <150) was achieved by 5 of 11 subjects in the cannabis group (45%) and 1 of 10 in the placebo group (10%). A clinical response (decrease in CDAI score of >100) was observed in 10 of 11 subjects in the cannabis group (90%) and 4 of 10 in the placebo group (40%). Three patients in the cannabis group were weaned from steroid dependency. Subjects receiving cannabis reported improved appetite and sleep, with no significant side effects.

These findings led researchers to conclude:

A short course (8 weeks) of THC-rich cannabis produced significant clinical, steroid-free benefits to 10 of 11 patients with active Crohn’s disease, compared with placebo, without side effects.

How to treat Crohn’s disease with medical marijuana

In addition to its positive effects on disease progression, medical marijuana is also a therapeutic treatment for a number of Crohn’s disease symptoms, including loss of appetite, fatigue, and trouble sleeping. To see if you qualify for medical marijuana treatment, complete an application today.

Find Out If You Qualify

You may be eligible for medical marijuana!

Currently struggling with Crohn’s disease? Please feel free to share your experiences and questions in the comments section, below.

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8 Comments

  1. I suffer from crohns disease and nothing helps me like cannabis. For the pain, the stress, my appetite, even the anxiety and depression that can come with chronic illness, all of its gone for me when i medicate.
    Personally, for me, what worked best was a 50/50 hybrid pill of thc/cbd. 50mg of both. One of those every day along with my normal medicine regimen, and i was feeling so much better.

    1. Stephen,

      So glad to hear treatment is going well! Crohn’s disease success stories with medical cannabis are some of the most impressive case studies – so happy to hear you’ve found relief! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’ve suffered over 40 years with Chrons & syncope from the pain & since I started MM I haven’t had a spell in almost one year July 27th will be one year. I fainted multiple times every year with severe pain & loss of stools. Prisoner in my own home for my stomach. Told I had a seizure disorder & not accurate, it was Chrons with Vasal vaguely syncope. I have insomnia badly & Fibromyalgia. I am happy to say I take NO prescription medicine I am not for pharmaceutical medication that can be additive & altered with. I vape my MM & so far so good. I can finally go places & do things without worrying about my stomach. I have my card & Florida just needs to make it like Colorado dispensary places for all. I am not a alcohol drinker either. Marijuana is the best thing ever

    1. Crystal,

      That is INCREDIBLE to hear, thank you so much for sharing! The research is impressive, but to hear firsthand from patients… amazing! So glad to hear you’re doing well!

    2. That is awesome news! I have been keeping my Fibro, HBP, DDD, and a few other issues, at bay for years and really had no idea! MMJ is the reason I could quit drinking and smoking cigarettes! My relationship with weed has never been better!

  3. I am trying to get my daughter on medical marijuana for crohns and anxiety, because she is 16 she has to have 2 drs say the benefit out weighs the risk. Going to GI dr tomorrow in hopes he will do the letter but I know I am going to have to hear how it only mask the symptoms that it doesn’t help with remission. Any recent articles I can take with me to prove it will help. Thanks

    1. Hi Denise,

      I would definitely print/cite some of the Crohn’s articles from this blog post (especially this one that found a “positive effect on disease activity”, not just “well being”). As far as anxiety, this Frontiers in Pharmacology review has a ton of great information. (Our PTSD post gives a nice overview of medical marijuana’s ability to counteract learned fear.)

      Please let us know if you have any questions or if there’s anything else we can do to help! Wishing your daughter health and wellness! 🙂

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