Cannabis for Crohn's Disease

 

"Crohn's can be both painful and debilitating and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications," explained the organization, while adding that there is no known cause and no cure for this common and life-altering disease. In extreme cases, fever and anemia may result and patients may be prescribed chemotherapy, steroids, or surgery to remove extremely inflamed portions of the intestine.


A human trial research study investigated the efficacy of smoked loose-leaf cannabis for patients with Crohn's disease. The study cited was called "Cannabis Induces a Clinical Response in Patients with Crohn's Disease: A Prospective Placebo-controlled Study" and published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 


It noted that "the marijuana plant Cannabis Sativa has been reported to produce beneficial effects for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, but this has not been investigated in controlled trials. We performed a prospective trial to determine whether cannabis can induce remission in patients with Crohn's disease.


Given the relatively short period during which patients consumed the cannabis joints (only eight weeks), the results were considered quite stunning and positive. The study noted that "complete remission" was achieved by five of 11 subjects in the cannabis group (45%) and 1 of 10 in the placebo group.


"A clinical response was observed in 10 of 11 subjects in the cannabis group (90 percent) and four of 10 in the placebo group (40 percent). Three patients in the cannabis group were weaned from steroid dependency. Side effects reported by participants included improved appetite and better sleep quality, "with no significant negative side effects."


The researchers concluded "Although the primary endpoint of the study (induction of remission) was not achieved [by the majority of participants]," the eight weeks of THC-rich cannabis produced "significant clinical, steroid-free benefits for 10 of 11 patients with active Crohn's disease, compared with placebo." The study's authors noted that this was achieved without negative side effects.


The study reported that similar human trials involving larger groups of Crohn's patients and involving nonsmoked cannabis medicine (such as edibles or sublingual tinctures) are needed to further understand the underlying mechanisms leading to improvements and potential remission. 


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