With cannabis well known as being a potent anti-inflammatory, it makes sense that pot would prove effective against diseases marked by inflammation. One such is Crohn’s disease, a term used to describe inflammatory conditions of the GI tract.
A normal GI tract contains bacteria that is beneficial to the body, bacteria used to aid digestion whenever a person eats or drinks
The immune system leaves this bacterium alone and attacks only foreign invaders under normal circumstances. If a person were to eat undercooked chicken, their immune system would attack the bacteria involved with the chicken while ignoring the beneficial bacteria; it knows the difference between bad and good.
A person with Crohn’s has an immune system that is confused; the good bacteria is mistaken as harmful and, as a result, the immune system attacks. The cells used in this attack cause chronic inflammation.
Crohn’s Disease Versus Other Bowel Conditions
Crohn’s is different than other bowl conditions like ulcerative colitis, though they’re closely related. While Crohn’s most commonly attacks the end of the small bowel and the first part of the colon (and may attack any part of the digestive system), ulcerative colitis focuses on the colon. Crohn’s also affects the entire bowel wall where ulcerative colitis affects the inner lining. Finally, the inflammation involved with Crohn’s is less uniform than the inflammation seen in ulcerative colitis: Crohn’s leaves certain areas of the intestines alone.
The Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
The symptoms of Crohn’s are largely individualistic: they depend on what area of the bowl is diseased as well as the person. In general, however, some signs include abdominal cramps and pain, rectal bleeding, chronic diarrhea, constipation, fever, weight loss, fatigue, loss of appetite, and night sweats. Women with Crohn’s may experience an absence of menstruation as well.
Like a lot of inflammatory conditions, Crohn’s comes and goes: it flares up only to subside again
People experience periods of remission where symptoms aren’t as overt or completely gone, altogether.
The Causes of Crohn’s
No one is sure why one person gets Crohn’s Disease and another doesn’t. But there are certain risk factors, the same risk factors of most diseases: genetics and environment. Women and men are affected equally and most people diagnosed are young adults. It’s more common in people of eastern European backgrounds, though it can occur in any race. It’s also more common in developed countries.
Diet is likely a large contributing factor as well.
Crohn’s and Cannabis
Crohn’s is among the diseases that appear to respond to a dose of dope. A 2014 paper published in Pharmacology reported that cannabis produced significant clinical benefits in patients with Crohn’s. It touched on the ancient use of weed for this very purpose as well: the earliest medicine used the plant to cure disturbances of the GI tract and tame inflammation of the bowel.
A 2002 study, per the San Francisco Gate, found that THC modulates the immune response of T-lymphocytes. This decreases pro-inflammatory reactions. A German study two years later found that cannabinoids played a large role in the body’s inflammation:
Through testing, they proved marijuana prevented experimental inflammation in mice colons
It’s not just THC that does this either. CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, appears to protect the gut by preventing damage to the mucus of the bowel. Essentially, it allows the bowel to withstand inflammation to a greater extent.
The Strains for Crohn’s Disease
Perhaps the greatest threat of cannabis, when it comes to Crohn’s, is the munchies. Because certain foods make Crohn’s worse, someone who regularly imbibes in weed might find themselves feasting on anything and everything regardless of what it’ll do to their bowels afterwards: eating an entire pizza isn’t likely to leave a Crohn’s suffer feeling great a few hours later.
Of course, keeping triggering foods (things with a lot of dairy or gluten or even fiber (which is great for regular bowels but might spell trouble for those that are diseased)) out of your pantry is smart, but so is smoking strains particularly known for their inflammatory benefits.
Thus, try one of the following:
Medicine Man: Like its name implies, this strain is medically beneficial because it yields a very high number of cannabinoids. It produces heavy indica effects, which might be too much for new users. Experienced users find Medicine Man leaving them lazy, but happy. It’s good for pain relief and treating nausea. Because it’s sedating, users will want to use it with care.
Willie Nelson: One guess which country singer this strain is named after…yep, Garth Brooks. This strain is pure sativa and known to breed creativity and euphoria. It enhances energy, but it can bring upon paranoia too. It’s been used for Crohn’s and glaucoma. It’s also used for stress, depression, and anxiety.
Bubble Gum: Dominated by indica, Bubblegum makes people sedentary, but satisfied. Some people report greater creativity while others are unable to do much of anything. The latter makes it good for insomniacs. It’s used for people dealing with eating disorders too and as treatment of chronic nausea or vomiting.
Hog’s Breath: Though its name might not prove all that appetizing, Hog’s Breath is a good strain if you can get past the smell. It produces an uplifting body high and, despite being mostly indica, doesn’t induce sedation. It’s good for the daytime and offers pain relief and appetite stimulation.
Golden Pineapple: A 50/50 hybrid (though some growers have begun to lean towards sativa), the Golden Pineapple has very high THC (up to 29 percent) and causes the user to feel like they can get up and go (and go some more). It doesn’t have a lot of CBD, which limits its usefulness when it comes to medicine. Still, for Crohn’s suffers who have problems eating, it improves appetite.
Blue Dragon: The Blue Dragon offers both sativa and indica and varies drastically in THC level: some growers produce strains into the twenties, others in the low teens. It’s known for causing the user to feel a head and body high after only a hit or two (new users beware). Medically, it’s great for pain relief and stress relief. It’s also particularly gifted at helping the symptoms of stupid, stupid PMS.