Crohn's Disease Forum » Treatment » Medical Marijuana for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

 
05-22-2011, 11:20 AM   #1
David
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Medical Marijuana for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

After a lot of debate, the staff here at Crohnsforum.com has decided to allow public discussion of medical marijuana as a supplemental treatment option within this thread. If you would like to discuss medical marijuana in private due to the potential privacy and legal implications, we have a private forum here. Please note that if you discuss medical marijuana in this thread, what you say will be found by the search engines. Before we get started, a few rules:

1. Please keep medical marijuana related discussion confined to this thread or the private forum.

2. Yes, medical marijuana is illegal in many jurisdictions. However, as research below indicates, medical marijuana has been shown to be an effective treatment option for some people with IBD. As such, it will be treated as a MEDICINE on this forum and we will give people choosing to explore its use the same respect as we would give someone choosing a medicine such as Prednisone or Remicade. If you oppose medical marijuana, that's fine and we respect that. But this thread is not a place for such debate.

3. There will be no offers to buy or sell medical marijuana in this thread, in the private forum, or via PM.

4. If you choose to explore the use of medical marijuana, we strongly suggest you discuss it with your medical team.

5. Feel free to post your personal experiences with medical marijuana whether positive or negative.

Ongoing Research

For the science behind Medical Marijuana, see our wiki entry.

There is a lot of ongoing research into the effectiveness of medical marijuana for the treatment of Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and other forms of IBD. A couple articles:

Cannabis for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease treatment
17. December 2009 04:15

Chemicals found in cannabis could prove an effective treatment for the inflammatory bowel diseases Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease, say scientists.

Laboratory tests have shown that two compounds found in the cannabis plant - the cannabinoids THC and cannabidiol - interact with the body's system that controls gut function.
Read the full article


Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease affects over a million people in the United States1, with an estimated indirect cost from work loss of $3.6 billion annually2. Many of these individuals suffer from pain, diarrhea and poor ability to digest their food, and in up to half of those with IBD, the disease is so severe that it ultimately requires surgery to remove the affected bowel segment.
Despite recent therapeutic advances and improved understanding of the underlying pathologies, patients with IBD are often resistant to treatment, justifying the continued search for new therapeutic approaches. Although the mechanisms underlying ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are different, they share one pathological feature: chronic inflammation. In a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Massa et al. provide evidence that stimulation of cannabinoid receptors protects against colonic inflammation3.
Read the full article

Cannabis use is associated with a reduction in Crohn's disease (CD) activity and disease-related surgeries, according to the results of a retrospective observational study published in the August issue of the Journal of the Israeli Medical Association.

Investigators at the Meir Medical Center, Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology assessed 'disease activity, use of medication, need for surgery, and hospitalization' before and after cannabis use in 30 patients with CD.

Authors reported, "All patients stated that consuming cannabis had a positive effect on their disease activity" and documented "significant improvement" in 21 subjects.

Specifically, researchers found that subjects who consumed cannabis "significantly reduced" their need for other medications. Participants in the trial also reported requiring fewer surgeries following their use of cannabis.

"Fifteen of the patients had 19 surgeries during an average period of nine years before cannabis use, but only two required surgery during an average period of three years of cannabis use," authors reported.
Read the full article


Potential Negatives

One must take into account that ALL drugs have potential side effects. If you're thinking of using medical marijuana to treat your Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, or other form of IBD, you should discuss it at length with your medical team as well as your family. Some of the potential negatives include but are certainly not limited to:

1. Marijuana, like any drug, can have potential physical or psychological side effects. These range from paranoia to increased risks of cancer.

2. Marijuana (even the medical kind) is still illegal in many states in the USA (and is illegal at the federal level) and various countries around the world.

3. Even if you have a prescription for medical marijuana, there is still a stigma and prejudice regarding it. If some people such as employers or potential employers find out you're using it, there could be repercussions.


Methods of Administration

There are various methods of administration of medical marijuana. These include but are not limited to:

1. Smoking - Smoking is done via joint, bong, pipe, or other means. Positives include ease of specific dosing whereas negatives include highest ingestion of potentially cancer causing compounds.

2. Vaporization - Vaporization is a method of taking medical marijuana where you are able to avoid many of the respiratory toxins present in the smoke by heating the marijuana to a temperature where the beneficial ingredients are evaporated and able to be breathed in while avoiding actual combustion. This study shows the benefits.

3. Ingestion - Medical marijuana can be ingested. Common methods include cooking the marijuana with butter to form "cannabutter" which can then be baked into any food that requires butter as an ingredient. Benefits include avoiding the toxins present in the smoke whereas negatives include more difficulty with specific dosing.

State by State Laws

For a list of states that have medical marijuana laws and the specifics, visit Norml.org for more information.

If anyone here has information regarding the legality of medical marijuana in other countries, please let me know.

I will continue to improve this first post over time. If you have suggestions for improvements or corrections, please let me know.
05-22-2011, 02:36 PM   #2
billyjoel
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I am interested in what jack96 said, is that true? People with Crohn's tend to have more cannabis receptors? Does anyone have a link that would support that statement, I am intrigued??
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05-22-2011, 02:52 PM   #3
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It's not that people with IBD have more receptors(CBD1 ad CBD2), it would be extremely had to prove and verify that.
There was a study done a few year back in the UK the Universities of Bristol and Bath that was studying the effects of cannabis on IBD patients, the managed to find CBD2 receptors in the gut which explains why cannabis can be very beneficial to those with gut issues. The CBD receptors are found in many place in the body, research into marijuana as a medicine is very limited due to the legal issues with it.
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05-22-2011, 03:09 PM   #4
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Ok that makes sense, I have seen a study from 10 years ago where there are also CB1 receptors in the lining of your intestinal tract and pot can reduce motility in IBD patients so it is also good for reducing bathroom trips.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...71489201001023
05-28-2011, 03:54 PM   #5
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I find that cannabis helps me greatly! It helps me eat and gain weight. It also reduces my stress and depression while stopping me from using the bathroom for hours (which is a great relief to us all).
07-27-2011, 09:34 AM   #6
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Thanks for the information, I do not live in a state that has legal medical use and I'm sure I would be busted the first time I tried to purchase it.
07-27-2011, 12:03 PM   #7
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I'm the same, Eric. I'm too paranoid of getting caught. I'm all for medical legalization, though! I hear it helps with nausea, which would be nice.
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07-31-2011, 07:36 AM   #8
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With so many states either approving the use of or considering approving the use of Medical Marijuana, you would think the Fed's would seriously consider allowing this on a national level. I do not take this nut have a friend who does. He has Crohns/ Colitis and he does seem to be better on it. Weight gain has slowed significantly or stopped altogether due to have an appetite. I wish everyone the best no matter what treatment form they choose. Those without IBD or other auto-immune diseases have no conception on how this effects our lives and those around us. God speed everyone.
08-01-2011, 02:06 PM   #9
billyjoel
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I suggest voting for congressman who support legalizing and sign petitions and vote for it when there is a a movement in your area for legalization!
08-23-2011, 08:34 PM   #10
Kacey
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I get extremely paranoid when using cannabis. But I do feel a great deal of relief in regards to the gut. Is there a way of using it that would cause LESS paranoia? Is ingesting or vaporizing different then smoking it? I wish I could benefit from it, it would be so easy! LOL
08-23-2011, 08:41 PM   #11
David
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I get extremely paranoid when using cannabis. But I do feel a great deal of relief in regards to the gut. Is there a way of using it that would cause LESS paranoia? Is ingesting or vaporizing different then smoking it? I wish I could benefit from it, it would be so easy! LOL
I would suggest trying different strains. There are strain discussions in the private forum.

The benefits of ingesting/vaporizing over smoking are discussed in the original post of this thread but I don't feel one method would result in significant differences in anxiety levels, but everyone is different
09-01-2011, 02:56 PM   #12
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I've been researching foods and other substances that help promote mucosal lining regeneration since that seems to be an incredibly important part of not only achieving remission, but staying there. It's also part of the reason some researchers are advocating a "top down" approach to Crohn's treatments as biologicals can help improve the mucosal layer of the intestines. Anyway, I found this study today:

Cannabinoids Promote Epithelial Wound Healing
09-01-2011, 03:42 PM   #13
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Hi Kacey, When you smoke you are causing combustion which releases a lot of chemicals that you will not encounter when you vaporize or eat. When you vaporize, you are not getting the full range of cannabinoids that you do when you smoke. It's possible that's where your paranoia lies, but I agree with David that you should try different strains. eating it is different because its going through the digestive process to get into your blood stream so the effect is usually somewhat different.
09-03-2011, 06:27 PM   #14
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I get extremely paranoid when using cannabis.
a) Use less. I don't notice much increase in the benefits over "3 puffs" - I just get more paranoid. 3 puffs relaxes me and my gut, chills out my pain, and keeps me chatty.

b) If you go to a compassion club/dispensary, stick to indicas. Sativas are a more mental/cerebral high which can make you overthink things ("Are my fridge magnets really government tracking tools?!").

c) Set and setting contribute a lot. Use it in a comfortable space where you feel safe. At home, listening to music. At the beach. Not at a hotel where they're also hosting the DEA of Southern Florida gathering and you're going to be staring at a drug dog in the elevator).

A lot of paranoia has to do with being brought up in surroundings where using the medicine is "bad behavior". Chill out. Throw on Dark Side of the Moon. S'all good
09-24-2011, 11:41 AM   #15
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Study: Crohn's Patients Who Use Cannabis Report Fewer Surgeries, Are Less Likely To Use Prescription Drugs

http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=8687

September 22, 2011 - Tel Aviv, Israel


"All patients stated that consuming cannabis had a positive effect on their disease activity"

Tel Aviv, Israel: Cannabis use is associated with a reduction in Crohn's disease (CD) activity and disease-related surgeries, according to the results of a retrospective observational study published in the August issue of the Journal of the Israeli Medical Association.

Investigators at the Meir Medical Center, Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology assessed 'disease activity, use of medication, need for surgery, and hospitalization' before and after cannabis use in 30 patients with CD.

Authors reported, "All patients stated that consuming cannabis had a positive effect on their disease activity" and documented "significant improvement" in 21 subjects.

Specifically, researchers found that subjects who consumed cannabis "significantly reduced" their need for other medications. Participants in the trial also reported requiring fewer surgeries following their use of cannabis.

"Fifteen of the patients had 19 surgeries during an average period of nine years before cannabis use, but only two required surgery during an average period of three years of cannabis use," authors reported.

They concluded: "The results indicate that cannabis may have a positive effect on disease activity, as reflected by a reduction in disease activity index and in the need for other drugs and surgery. Prospective placebo-controlled studies are warranted to fully evaluate the efficacy and side effects of cannabis in CD."

Researchers at the Meir Medical Center are presently evaluating the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis for patients with CD and Ulcerative Colitis in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases. According to survey data published earlier this year in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, an estimated one-third of patients with colitis and one-half of subjects with CD acknowledge having used cannabis to mitigate their disease symptoms.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: [email protected]. Full text of the study, "Treatment of Crohn's disease with cannabis: an observational study," appears in the Journal of the Israeli Medical Association. The study also appears online here: http://www.ima.org.il/imaj/ar11aug-01.pdf.
10-22-2011, 12:22 PM   #16
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Hi Kacey, When you smoke you are causing combustion which releases a lot of chemicals that you will not encounter when you vaporize or eat. When you vaporize, you are not getting the full range of cannabinoids that you do when you smoke. It's possible that's where your paranoia lies, but I agree with David that you should try different strains. eating it is different because its going through the digestive process to get into your blood stream so the effect is usually somewhat different.
This is actually false. Smoking is NOT the preferred method. The best method of using all available cannabinoids is eating an extract of whole cannabis plant. This can be done by making butter properly with the whole plant or a tincture using Co2 or 170 proof or higher Alcohol. Google Rick Simpson Cancer cure for his method.

Vaporizing is the next best thing. You can control the temperature of most vaporizers, and while THC does burn at a lower temperature, most vaporizers easily get to the point of vaporizing the CBD. Also, smoking, although my preferred method as of ease, wastes much of the medicine up in the air and from much too high heat. High heat destroys THC and CBD also.
When one considers that there are at least 60 pharmacologically-active compounds in cannabis and that the aromatic terpenoids begin to vaporize at 126C, but the more bio-active cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabinol (CBN), and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) do not vaporize until near their respective flash points: CBD 206.3C, CBN 212.7C, THC 149.3C

Cannabis edibles and vaporizing or smoking gives me the analgesic equivelant of a vicodin without the cloudiness and dopiness of vicodin. It also greatly helps with nausea and stimulates my appetite. It also makes me laugh more and relax more which is important when you have a miserable "incurable" illness.
10-22-2011, 12:26 PM   #17
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I get extremely paranoid when using cannabis. But I do feel a great deal of relief in regards to the gut. Is there a way of using it that would cause LESS paranoia? Is ingesting or vaporizing different then smoking it? I wish I could benefit from it, it would be so easy! LOL
use a pure indica strain, take after a meal to help you not get as paranoid and spacey, eating is more of a body effect than mental. the paranoia goes away with time.

don't forget that many of the FDA approved drugs we use have Carcinogen labels on them and cause far worse side effects. No one has ever died from cannabis and not one case of cancer has ever been attributed to Cannabis.
10-22-2011, 05:21 PM   #18
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I wasn't advocating smoking, sorry if that's how it sounded. I vaporize. eating doesn't work for me, it passes through too fast. sublingual and candy helps.
10-22-2011, 05:49 PM   #19
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Got ya I misunderstood.
10-22-2011, 05:54 PM   #20
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This is actually false. Smoking is NOT the preferred method. The best method of using all available cannabinoids is eating an extract of whole cannabis plant. This can be done by making butter properly with the whole plant or a tincture using Co2 or 170 proof or higher Alcohol. Google Rick Simpson Cancer cure for his method.

Vaporizing is the next best thing. You can control the temperature of most vaporizers, and while THC does burn at a lower temperature, most vaporizers easily get to the point of vaporizing the CBD. Also, smoking, although my preferred method as of ease, wastes much of the medicine up in the air and from much too high heat. High heat destroys THC and CBD also.
When one considers that there are at least 60 pharmacologically-active compounds in cannabis and that the aromatic terpenoids begin to vaporize at 126C, but the more bio-active cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabinol (CBN), and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) do not vaporize until near their respective flash points: CBD 206.3C, CBN 212.7C, THC 149.3C

Cannabis edibles and vaporizing or smoking gives me the analgesic equivelant of a vicodin without the cloudiness and dopiness of vicodin. It also greatly helps with nausea and stimulates my appetite. It also makes me laugh more and relax more which is important when you have a miserable "incurable" illness.
Yeah, my daughter just did a paper on this and got a 90% but will post it when I get it. A friend of mine from CA is on it and now she is out and about and living life. NO pain, and she is on Indica. I am thinking about it myself.
10-22-2011, 08:24 PM   #21
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I previously had read the article David linked too, sigh, why are the US still in denial about how wonderful this medicine is??? I also don't get why some cultures believe it is alright to outlaw what someone can or cannot do with their own person if it does not impact their neighbor, and then there are other cultures who more or less see the light that a person can do whatever they please to their own self.
10-22-2011, 09:10 PM   #22
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FDA and Big Pharma
11-01-2011, 08:14 AM   #23
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I used it last year before and after my surgery. It did what the pain pills didn't. I could hold food down, I could finally sleep and I was able to move around after using it. Cannibis is really a great tool when used properly.
11-08-2011, 08:11 AM   #24
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Having been a pot smoker for about 10 years before being diagonsed with crohns i found it to be a great help in the early days. It was great for reducing the pain of the intestinal swelling before surgery (and the only way i could get more than an hours sleep was to smoke before bed).

I stopped smoking it with tobacco after surgery, and found it helped me get my appetite back. I continued to smoke it for about another 3 years before stopping when we were trying for our first child.

I wouldn't hesitate to use it again for pain relief, however now that I'm a parent it raises other concerns (as it's not legal over here in the UK)
11-13-2011, 12:56 AM   #25
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I started using marijuana as a teen. The main thing that kept me using it was the fact that it made my stomach stop hurting. I hadn't been diagnosed yet. I thought I just had anxiety problems or an ulcer.

I stopped using it when I was 29. In the four years that I was not using marijuana, I had painful, crampy diarrhea that lasted nearly a year. I also developed a perianal fistula (had surgery) then later ended up in the hospital with my first flare. I was completely blocked due to the inflammation.

Finally, when I got my diagnosis in 010, I purchased a vaporizer and started using marijuana again. I figured that if I'm going to use MM therapeutically, I'm going to do it right. I mainly use the vaporizer and I keep some edibles on hand. Since I live in a state where MM is not legal, I can't be too picky about which strains I get. As long as it's medical grade I'm a happy camper. I hope to move to a state that it is legal sometime soon.

Last edited by ctrl z; 07-01-2012 at 12:35 PM.
11-13-2011, 08:10 AM   #26
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Thanks for sharing your story ctrl z. Since going back on MM, has it helped, hindered, or no change in your symptoms?
11-13-2011, 08:15 AM   #27
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Vaporizing is the best way to get what you need, smoking it burns of most of the THC. I hate the smell of it ..ew.
11-13-2011, 03:30 PM   #28
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Just fired up my iolite. Relaxed me and took most of my bowel pain away so I can enjoy my afternoon with my fianc and friends. Such a safe medicinal herb. The side effects are so mild compared to alcohol or cigarettes. Last night my one friend spent an hour puking her brains out from drinking too much alcohol in one 4 hour period. We had to wait it out at a friends house who despite being a non cig smoker, had the worst smokers hack from living in a house with 4 other chain smoking Europeans and growing up in a house with a mom who smoked cigs. The worst thing the green weed has ever done to me is make me paranoid and antisocial for an hour or two. Not clinically paranoid but more like social anxiety of leaving my comfort zone. Other negative side effects have included falling asleep or over eating or laughing at everything and enjoying life.
11-13-2011, 05:08 PM   #29
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Thanks for sharing your story ctrl z. Since going back on MM, has it helped, hindered, or no change in your symptoms?
It has helped my symptoms.

Stress really affects my bowel. I've had an extremely emotionally traumatic year. I believe that without it I would have had a severe flare. There were times when the stress was so bad that I couldn't eat because of pain and nausea. The MM helped me get the nourishment I needed without making things worse. It calmed me emotionally, physically, and it numbed the pain.

Obviously, it won't ease the pain of a full flare. The only thing that can touch that (for me) is morphine but I believe that treating myself with MM daily helps ameliorate the disease.

Last edited by ctrl z; 11-13-2011 at 07:03 PM.
11-13-2011, 11:06 PM   #30
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Vaporizing is the best way to get what you need, smoking it burns of most of the THC. I hate the smell of it ..ew.
Oh I love the smell of it.
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