How Does Medical Marijuana Help With and Treat Colitis?

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Colitis is inflammation of the colon. Colitis may be associated with inflammation of the small intestine, rectum or both. It should be noted that inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD) is the general term used in describing serious conditions where the gastrointestinal tract is chronically inflamed. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Crohn’s disease as well as ulcerative colitis are the most common forms of IBDs, with the former affecting any part of the gastrointestinal tract, whereas the latter affects the colon and the rectum. People suffering from colitis may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, cramping as well as diarrhea. However, the treatment of colitis and other types of IBDs is multifaceted and may include the use of medications, changes in diets and nutrition and sometimes a surgical procedure may be required to either repair or remove affected portions of the gastrointestinal tract.

According to findings from a 2018 research that was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, medical cannabis could ease the symptoms of IBDs. This research was carried out on mice at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. This study has brought much hope with respect to the use of medical cannabis in treating colitis because the researchers admitted that through it, they were able to have a first-hand understanding of the molecules involved in the process and how both endocannabinoids and cannabinoids control inflammation.

However, the researchers have also expressed concerns over their findings and they went ahead to state that even though the anecdotal evidence shows that medical marijuana could be useful in treating colitis, the study needs to be replicated on human objects. To the researchers, the study will simply give clinical researchers a new drug target to explore for the treatment of patients with inflammatory bowel diseases.

Of course, scientific evidence about the use of medical marijuana in treating colitis varies depending on the type of colitis.

Collagenous Colitis

Collagenous colitis abbreviated as CC affects the large intestine. This condition isn’t exactly common, but sufferers often have episodes of stomach pain and watery diarrhea. More women are likely to develop collagenous colitis than men and even though it’s more common in older adults, it can also affect children and younger adults. One of the primary responsibilities of the large intestine is to reabsorb electrolytes and water. However, when you have collagenous colitis, the immune system inflammatory cells travel to your large intestine, thereby causing inflammations and swellings. Some of the common symptoms of collagenous colitis include abdominal pain, abdominal cramps as well as chronic watery diarrhea. CC could be caused by bacteria, immune response, medications, smoking and other underlying health conditions like diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome,
or thyroid disease.

Some scientists have argued that medical cannabis could be an alternative effective treatment for collagenous colitis. This assertion can be explained by the fact that cannabinoids helps in decreasing intestinal inflammation. It has also been scientifically proven that the non-psychotropic, safe ingredient of cannabis, notably cannabidiol provides pharmacological effects, including being an antioxidant and helping with an inflamed gut.

According to a study that was done in August 2010, the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors play a vital role in regulating gastrointestinal inflammation in mice with experimental collagenous colitis. Some of the best strains of marijuana that are used in treating collagenous colitis include Jean Guy, Lemon Jack, and Golden Pineapple. It should be noted that these strains can treat some symptoms of collagenous colitis, especially inflammation, nausea and pain.

Lymphocytic Colitis

Lymphocytic colitis is similar to collagenous colitis. However, it occurs when the inflammatory immune system cells travel to the large intestine lymphocytic colitis and cause inflammation and swelling of the tissues. Lymphocytic colitis is not a common condition even though it’s common in older adults, notably those above 6o years. Experts have linked lymphocytic colitis to causes such as bacteria, medication, bile acid, as well as autoimmune diseases. Some of the most common symptoms of lymphocytic colitis include frequent bouts of chronic watery diarrhea, stomach pain, weight loss, bloating, fatigue, and joint pain dehydration.

Sometimes, doctors may suggest prescription medications like steroids for the treatment of certain symptoms of lymphocytic colitis like swellings. The unfortunate thing is that such medications have side effects such as blurred vision, acne, high blood pressure, weight gain, difficulties in sleeping, etc. However, scientific evidence has pointed to the fact that medical marijuana could be an effective treatment of lymphocytic colitis. This assertion can be backed by the fact that medical marijuana has been proven to effectively address many IBS symptoms by offering pain relief, stimulating appetite, reducing nausea as well as helping in relieving anxiety.

A 2016 study revealed that an estimated 17.6 percent of IBS patients use medical cannabis to alleviate their symptoms.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is another major form of colitis. This condition is a chronic, long term illness that results in inflammation of both the colon and rectum. Ulcerative colitis also causes irritation and swellings and could eventually lead to sores called ulcers. This condition is yet to have a cure and it happens when the immune system makes a mistake by considering food, good gut bacteria, and the cells that line your colon as intruders, instead of attacking invaders in the body. Genes and environmental factors can also account for this condition in some people. Some of the common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include bloody diarrhea, crampy belly pain, weight loss, fatigue, joint pain, dehydration, canker sores, skin sores, and eye pain.

There is some evidence that medical cannabis can ameliorate the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. A study that was conducted in 2011, on a CBD worked as a strong anti-inflammatory on a sample of tissue doctors took from ulcerative colitis patients. According to another study that was conducted in 2014 at the University of Calgary, patients with ulcerative colitis reported symptom relief after using medical marijuana to treat their condition.

Sources:

Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation
Newsweek
Wed MD
Discover Therapies

Marijuana strains reported to help with Colitis:

Lemon Jack
Golden Pineapple
Jean Guy
ACDC
Blue Dream
Granddaddy Purple

How To Get Medical Marijuana

If you are a resident of a legal state interested in trying medical marijuana to treat Colitis or other medical conditions, you will first need to consult with a certified doctor in order to get a medical marijuana card. To get started, simply fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and a physician or clinic representative will contact you as available.