Cannabis oil shows promising results in relieving symptoms of Crohn’s disease

Cannabis (CBD) oil is often used as a natural remedy for different conditions due to its pain-relieving effects. According to a study, CBD oil can also help address the often agonizing symptoms associated with a condition called Crohn’s disease.

The results of the Israeli study, which was presented at the United European Gastroenterology conference in 2018, suggest that “participants with Crohn’s disease saw symptoms dissipate after they began using cannabis oil.”

CBD and Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease is a painful and often debilitating condition that affects millions of people in the U.S. Dr. Timna Naftali, the study’s lead researcher and a specialist in gastroenterology at Meir Hospital and Kupat Holim Clinic in Tel Aviv, Israel, explained that Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

IBDs are characterized by inflammation and they can affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, Crohn’s disease usually affects the small intestine. Symptoms of the condition can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Appetite loss
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss

Dr. Naftali added that while medications are usually prescribed to individuals with the condition, treatments like antibiotics and corticosteroids are linked to negative side effects such as allergic response, autoimmune disease, lymphoma (cancer of the lymph system), or susceptibility for infection.

CBD oil is different from marijuana

Medicinal cannabis oil is usually derived from hemp. But while hemp and marijuana come from the same plant (Cannabis sativa), they are two different products. Marijuana growers breed their plants to contain high levels of THC, the substance that makes you feel “high,” but hemp farmers rarely modify their plants.

This means cannabis oil won’t change your mental state, but using it may offer other health benefits. Dr. Naftali explained that CBD oil can ease one of Crohn’s most inconvenient symptoms.

Aside from increasing appetite, cannabis oil can slow the movement of food through the gut and reduce intestinal secretions, which then reduces diarrhea.

Improving quality of life with CBD

In this randomized, placebo-controlled study, which is the first of its kind, researchers worked with 46 individuals who were experiencing moderately severe Crohn’s disease. The scientists found that cannabis was linked to clinical remission in over 50 percent of patients after eight weeks of treatment.

For the study, researchers measured the participants’ symptoms and their quality of life before, during, and after treatment. They also used an endoscope to monitor gut inflammation. Additionally, the research team checked markers of inflammation in blood and stool samples from the patients.

Some of the participants were given a placebo. Meanwhile, others received cannabis oil with 15 percent cannabidiol and four percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), two naturally occurring substances in cannabis oil.

After two months, the researchers said that the participants who received cannabis oil reported a “significant improvement in their Crohn’s disease symptoms and quality of life.” A whopping 65 percent of the cannabis oil group and 35 percent of the placebo group met the criteria for a full remission of symptoms.

According to Dr. Naftali, the study findings imply that the improvement in symptoms may not be related to the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oil. She added that larger and longer studies are required to verify the results of the small study.

Crohn’s is linked to severe complications like bacterial overgrowth, intestinal blockages, malnutrition, and ulcers. About 60 to 75 percent of Crohn’s patients may require surgery at some stage due to possible complications.

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease remains unknown. But experts have confirmed that Crohn’s disease is chronic and that it could be caused by an interaction of factors such as bacteria or viruses (environmental factors), heredity, or an overreaction of the immune system. (Related: Relieve symptoms of Crohn’s disease with these dietary recommendations.)

Cannabis oil can’t cure Crohn’s disease, but experts recommend it since it is safer to use compared to conventional treatments with harmful and severe side effects. Dr. Naftali concluded that more patients with the condition are using CBD oil because it can improve quality of life and “because it simply makes them feel better.”

Read for more coverage of natural cures from the cannabis plant.

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