Before we look at Crohn’s disease and CBD in more detail, let’s first describe what this disease is as there seems to be a lot of confusion about it. Crohn’s disease is a type of irritable bowel syndrom (IBS) involving inflammation, and sometimes infection, of the digestive tract. It mostly affects the inner lining of the colon but it can affect other parts of the digestive tract too. It is thought to be an autoimmune disease, meaning a disease where a person’s own immune system attacks their body. In this case, it is thought that the immune system mistakes food and or bacteria living in the gut as a foreign substance and initiates an inflammatory response.
This can lead to nausea, abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, urgent need to evacuate bowels, constipation, blocked bowel, rectal bleeding, loss of appetite, fatigue, and irregular and or painful menstrual cycles. Thus, although it is usually not life threatening, Crohn’s disease can make one absolutely miserable and can lead to other health issues as well.
Both types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, are abundant in the inner lining of the colon. CB1 receptors are involved with intestinal movement, and if activated, can prevent over stimulation of the gut resulting in diarrhea, cramps, and other symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease. CB2 receptors are active in controlling (modulating) the immune system and can thus control inflammatory responses in the gastrointestinal region. If the CB2 receptors in the gut are activated, they can signal cell death to white blood cells including T-cells, macrophages, and neutrophils.
It is becoming well known that CBD and other cannabinoids are important in activating CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system. To test the effectiveness in controlling the inflammatory response in patients with confirmed Crohn’s disease, a placebo controlled clinical study involving twenty-one patients was conducted and the results published in July 2013 in the journal, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. These patients had a mean age of 40 and were not responding to traditional treatments. Of eleven patients who received the cannabis, not the placebo, ten of them experienced significant improvement in just eight weeks. Plus, there were no side effects of cannabis observed. This is a very encouraging study for those who want to try using CBD oil to manage, or even put into remission, their Crohn’s disease. If you are using full spectrum CBD oil with no THC, like we sell, there are no psychotropic effects and you can use it while at work without getting drowsy or “high.”
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) has stated that several research studies have indicated that:
“As a potential therapy for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), cannabis-based drugs may hold promise, according to a report published in the August issue of Gastroenterology…..”
While the CCFA does not endorse smoking marijuana or hemp, they are calling for more research to be done into the use of cannabis to manage Crohn’s disease and other IBS conditions where gastrointestinal inflammation is the culprit of the distress. This is significant because the CCFA was founded by traditional doctors and supported by the National Institutes of Health. This non-profit is also on the forefront of mainstream medical research. Thus, when it comes to Crohn’s Disease and CBD, the lines between alternative therapy and mainstream medicine are becoming more blurry!