Can you use CBD for Crohn’s Disease? Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Can you use CBD for Crohn’s Disease? Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease affecting the digestive system’s lining. Crohn’s disease is basically a part of the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) group of illnesses. It was named after Dr. Burrill B. Crohn who initially described the disease in 1932 along with his colleagues. It causes digestive tract inflammation, which can result in stomach pain, severe diarrhea, exhaustion, weight loss, and malnutrition.

CD can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus, though the small intestine and proximal colon are the most usually affected. Inflammation of the entire thickness of the gut can occur with Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s disease can strike anyone at any age, however it is more common in those aged 20 to 29, who have a family member with IBD, genetic influence, or who smoke cigarettes.

In the United States and other parts of the world, Crohn’s disease is becoming more common day by day. As per studies, IBD (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) was diagnosed in 1.3 percent of adults in the United States (3 million) in 2015. Crohn’s disease affects more than half a million people in the United States, according to research. Crohn’s disease has become more widespread in the United States and other regions of the world, according to studies. The cause of this growth is unknown to experts.

Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

SYMPTOMS of disease vary from person to person, and this variance is typically related to the disease’s various forms. Moreover, Crohn’s disease signs and symptoms can range from moderate to severe. They normally appear gradually, although they can also appear suddenly and without notice. There may also be times when you have no indications or symptoms.

There are 5 types of crohn’s disease ranging in symptoms:


This kind of crohn’s disease is the most prevalent. It affects the terminal ileum i.e.  the end of the small intestine and the colon which is at the beginning of the large intestine.

For the above type signs and symptoms are:

  • Cramps and diarrhea
  • Middle or lower abdominal pain
  • Weight loss

Only the ileum is affected by this kind of Crohn’s disease.

For the above type the signs and symptoms are:

  • Symptoms are similar to those of ileocolitis.
  • Fistulas or an inflammatory abscess in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen are possible consequences in severe cases.

Patchy regions of inflammation in the upper portion of the small intestine i.e. the jejunum, distinguish this kind.

For the above type the signs and symptoms are:

  • Mild to severe stomach pain and cramping after meals.
  • In severe situations or after long periods of inflammation, fistulas can occur.

This variety affects the stomach and the duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine.

For the above type the signs and symptoms are:

  • Loss weight
  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting and nausea

Only the colon of the large intestine is affected by this type.

For the above type signs and symptoms are:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Diarrhea is common
  • Abscess, fistulas, and ulcers can occur around the anus
  • This type of Crohn’s disease is more likely than others to cause skin sores and joint discomfort.

Diagnosis of CD

For the DIAGNOSIS of the disease, it doesn’t have a single diagnostic test. The symptoms differ from person to person , and many different illnesses can generate comparable symptoms. As a result, getting an accurate Crohn’s disease diagnosis can take a long time. If you find any sudden change and experiencing symptoms like;

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • You have blood in your stool
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Fever that lasts more than a day or two with no apparent cause
  • Chronic diarrhoea that does not respond to over-the-counter (OTC) treatments
  • Unexpected weight loss.

After experiencing these sudden symptoms, you must see a doctor for the help. For the DIAGNOSIS of disease according to these symptoms, he might refer you some particular tests like:

  • BLOOD TEST: Your doctor can use blood tests to look for evidence of infection or antibodies in your blood. It could indicate that your body is infected or inflamed. Crohn’s disease or other inflammatory disorders could be to blame for the inflammation so, blood test along with other tests is recommended.
  • STOOL TEST: Blood in your stool can indicate digestive issues like Crohn’s disease. A stool culture can also be used to see if you have a bacterial infection.
  • ENDOSCOPY: Endoscopy is one of the few tests that allow your doctor to look within your colon’s walls. They can also use it to inspect the region between your small intestine and colon, which is frequently affected by Crohn’s disease. Endoscopy can assist your doctor in making a precise diagnosis.
  • IMAGING TEST: X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scans, and the upper gastrointestinal (UGI) series are examples of imaging tests. Your doctor can examine your digestive tract from the outside with them. It can aid in the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease and its potentially fatal consequences including fistulas or abscesses.
  • CAPSULE ENDOSCOPY: Capsule endoscopy is a procedure that is utilized when other testing are inconclusive. It can reveal Crohn’s disease symptoms in your small intestine that aren’t visible with a colonoscopy. The advantage of capsule endoscopy is that it is non-invasive.
  • BIOPSY: Biopsies might help your doctor interpret or confirm the results of other tests, such as imaging and endoscopy.

Crohn’s disease could be having these COMPLICATIONS:

  • Obstruction of the intestine, CD can promote intestinal wall thickening, which can lead to intestinal constriction and obstruction over time.
  • Abscesses
  • Additional Inflammation, Inflammation of the joints, eyes, and skin can all be caused by CD.
  • Colon cancer
  • Ulcers in the mouth, intestines, anus, or perineum can result from inflammation anywhere along the digestive tract.
  • Malnutrition
  • Fistulas are formed when inflammation reaches the complete thickness of the intestinal wall. Fistulas have the potential to get contaminated.

Now the concern is whether CBD act on crohn’s disease or not? Beside all other possible treatments CBD is how much effective? What is the need of CBD if other treatments are already working for it? This will be cleared in the section next to the conventional treatments section.

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Traditional Treatments

Crohn’s disease has no confirmed cure at this time. If you’ve been diagnosed with the disease, your doctor will advise you on how to reduce inflammation, manage symptoms, and avoid consequences.

Medication, dietary and nutritional changes, and sometimes surgical procedures to repair or remove diseased parts of your GI system can all be used to treat Crohn’s disease.

  • MEDICATION; drugs controlling the symptoms are given like: corticosteroids, immunomodulators and other anti-inflammatory and pain killers.
  • SURGERY; when drugs fail to control symptoms, or if you develop a fistula, fissure, or intestinal obstruction, surgery is required. The diseased intestinal section is usually removed during surgery, and the two ends of healthy intestines are subsequently linked together. While these surgeries may make your symptoms go away for a long time, Crohn’s disease is likely to reappear later in life.
  • LIFESTYLE CHANGES; changes to diet is recommended by health practitioners.

Using medications may cause several side effects. For example, Corticosteroids have been linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Headaches, vomiting, night sweats, skin illnesses, infections, and nausea are all other possible adverse effects.

This is where CBD, comes into play. CBD is a natural medicine that may help with a variety of medical conditions, including Crohn’s disease. There is hope for people who suffer from this severe sickness.

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Research on CBD and Crohn’s Disease

Let’s explore some SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCES in relation of CBD with chron’s disease.

  • Three studies till 2018 were concluded in this research. According to this paper, out of three small studies two gave effective result and improves the overall quality of life in the CD patients.
  • One of the three studies indicated that cannabis in the form of marijuana cigarettes could aid those who had failed to control their sickness with other treatments. In the study, five out of eleven persons who smoked cannabis cigarettes for eight weeks experienced a remission.
  • In the second study CBD oil was given in the low dosage i.e. 10 mg of CBD only twice a day. This doesn’t give the results in treating the disease. The failure is might be due to the administration of the low dosage.
  • In the third study, participants were given cannabis oil containing 15% CBD and 4% THC. It concluded that there were significant improvements in quality of life and the Crohn’s disease activity index.
  • This study states that CBD could also aid in the maintenance of a healthy intestinal barrier.
  • A recent review in 2020 by Naftali T, “We’ve previously shown that cannabis can help Crohn’s disease symptoms, but we didn’t see any statistically significant changes in the inflammatory markers we looked at in the cannabis oil group.” Although we know that cannabis have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, our study suggests that the improvement in symptoms may not be due to these properties. This is concluded by the author.

Since, the research about the disease is very limited so it is difficult to say that whether it will actually help or not. Till no research is there, concluding the positive effects of treating patients with CBD only. Though a single study is available for full spectrum CBD’s effectiveness. There is requirement of more research in this field.

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How Cannabis work for Crohn’s Disease

Cannabis is comprises of cannabinoids and cannabinoids interacts with ECS to give its therapeutic benefits. Delta-9-THC is the most active cannabinoid in cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another active cannabinoid that has been shown to treat pain, reduce inflammation, and reduce anxiety without the “high” associated with delta-9-THC.

The ECS is a biological system made up of endocannabinoids, which binds to cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoid receptor proteins found throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. CB1 and CB2 are the two primary types of cannabinoid receptors. CB1 and CB2 are found in all levels of the intestinal wall in the gastrointestinal tract.

Cannabinoids primarily function as inhibitory agents in the GI tract by lowering vagal cholinergic tone. CB2 regulates inflammation, while CB1 regulates central functions such as pain, nausea, and vomiting. In this way it helps in reducing the symptoms and improving the quality of life.

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How to Use it for Crohn’s Disease

As it is stated earlier that, in the research isolate CBD is not effective and on the other hand full spectrum CBD give positive results in relevant to crohn’s disease.

There are many options available for having full spectrum CBD. You can take it in the form of;

  • CAPSULES AND PILL, CBD capsules taken on a daily basis may assist to alleviate symptoms.
  • OILS AND TINCTURES are two types of extracts. These are taken sublingually, and as a result, CBD products give great effect in this form.
  • EDIBLES, for those who have difficulty swallowing medicines, these gummy-like candies or other forms are a helpful solution.
  • TOPICAL, these are used to reduce the skin related issues. They are directly applied to the infected area and give therapeutic benefits.
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Dosage Recommendation

DOSAGE, there is no fixed dosage of its treatment. In one study, cannabis oil with a 4:1 CBD: THC ratio was administered. This combination gives therapeutic benefits to the people suffering from CD.  Also it is discovered that CBD in low dosage i.e. 20 mg per day is not effective for CD.

May be in future it is possible that human clinical trials with more dosage of CBD will be there. Till then we have to wait for the conclusion. Research in this field is ongoing so it is recommended to consult your doctor before giving it a try.

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Benefits of Cannabis for Crohn’s Disease

  • It can increase the overall quality of life.
  • It may be helpful in reducing symptoms of crohn’s disease.
  • Antioxidants and anti-acne properties of CBD can heal the skin infections caused in chron’s disease.
  • Pain relief properties can help in healing cramps and unbearable abdominal pain.

As the research for this is limited, none of these properties are scientifically proven effective for crohn’s disease. But it is evident that use of full spectrum CBD could help in reducing symptoms and increasing the quality of life. These properties might be effective for the reduction of symptoms.

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Side Effects of Cannabis for Crohn’s Disease

  • In a study, Crohn’s disease some patients reported at a higher risk of surgery after using cannabis strains.

Since the long term effects related to cannabis or full spectrum CBD use for crohn’s disease is not reported yet. In general CBD might give side effects like nausea, change in appetite, weight change, fatigue and irritability. If using THC high strain it might cause addiction in people. When more studies will available, it might be possible that there will be evident side effects available at that time.

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  • It is evident that it improves the overall quality of life.
  • It helps in reducing the symptoms of chron’s disease.
  • CBD is generally considered well tolerated by humans.
  • Cannabis extracts helps in alleviating skin infections, cramps and body pains.

  • Research related to this disease is very limited that it is very difficult to make any affirmation related to it.
  • Isolate CBD hasn’t shown any potential benefits.
  • THC may cause psychoactive effect if consumed in large quantities than recommended.
  • It may interact with other medications.
  • Side effects are not known.

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