CBD for Crohns: Overview of Crohn's Disease
Crohn’s disease is one of a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is characterized by inflammation of your gastrointestinal tract.
The condition is named after Dr. Burrill B. Crohn who, along with colleagues Dr. Gordon D. Oppenheimer and Dr. Dr. Leon Ginzburg, first described the disease in 1932.
The symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease and other irritable bowel diseases can range from mild to severe.
However, some painful and debilitating symptoms may lead to complications that put your life at risk. While there is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, the symptoms can be managed with effective treatment.
Who is Affected by Crohn's Disease?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 3 million people in the United States are affected by IBD. Crohn’s disease is equally prevalent among men and women.
Although people of any age can develop Crohn’s disease, it is most common among teenagers and young adults who are 20-30 years old.
Clinical studies have revealed that up to 28% of individuals with an irritable bowel disease may have a first-degree relative who has a related condition.
Crohn’s disease is more common among Caucasian people. However, individuals of other racial and ethnic backgrounds may also develop the condition.
In fact, the prevalence of Crohn’s disease and other IBDs have been increasing among Asian and Hispanic people in the past few years.
Although genetics do play a role in the onset of Crohn’s disease, it is impossible to predict if you will develop the condition based solely on your family history or ethnicity.
Crohn's Disease and Your Gastrointestinal Tract
Your gastrointestinal tract is the pathway that runs from your mouth to your anus. Any part of your gastrointestinal tract can be affected by Crohn’s disease.
However, the condition most often impacts the end of the small intestine and the beginning of the colon.
Symptoms of Crohn's Disease
If you have Crohn’s disease you may experience a variety of signs and symptoms.
These signs and symptoms are usually felt gradually, however there are cases where they come on suddenly without warning.
You may also go through periods of remission where you experience no negative symptoms.
Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease when the condition is active include:
Individuals with severe Crohn’s disease may also experience inflammation of their skin, eyes, joints, liver, or bile ducts.
- Mouth sore Fever
- Seeing blood in your stool
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Pain or drainage around your anus
Types of Crohn's Disease
People with Crohn’s disease may have different symptoms depending on the part of their gastrointestinal tract that is affected.
If you are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, it is very important to find out where the inflammation is. The different types of Crohn’s disease and their associated symptoms are listed below:
Ileocolitis – this is the most common type of Crohn’s disease and affects the end of the small intestine and the colon. Symptoms linked with ileocolitis include diarrhea, loss of body weight, cramping, and pain in the abdomen.
- Ileitis – this form of Crohn’s disease affects the ileum. Symptoms linked with ileitis include diarrhea, loss of body weight, cramping, and pain in the abdomen.
People with severe cases of ileitis may experience complications such as fistulas or an inflammatory abscess in the right lower part of the abdomen.
Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease – this form of Crohn’s disease impacts the stomach and the duodenum. Symptoms linked with gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, loss of body weight.
- Jejunoileitis – this form of Crohn’s disease affects the jejunum. Symptoms linked with jejunoileitis include mild to severe cramps or pain after meals, diarrhea, and the formation of fistulas after a long period of inflammation.
- Crohn’s (Granulomatous) Colitis – this form of Crohn’s disease is characterized by inflammation of the large intestine (colon). Symptoms linked with Crohn’s colitis include rectal bleeding, diarrhea, skin lesions, joint pains, as well as disease, ulcers, abscess, and fistulas around the anus.
CBD for Crohns - How Does CBD Help with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis?
There is no cure for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Treatment typically involves the use of anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive medications.
While these pharmaceutical drugs may provide some relief, they often have a number of serious side effects.
Thankfully, a number of medical studies have identified cannabidiol (CBD) as a possible treatment for inflammatory bowel disease and other related issues.
CBD is a natural substance that is found in cannabis sativa plants such as hemp and marijuana.
The substance in marijuana that makes people high, lightheaded or confused is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is different from THC. CBD is not addictive and it does not make you high. And unlike anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive pharmaceutical medications, CBD does not have major side effects.
Medical Studies on the Use of CBD for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
Over the past decade, several medical studies have investigated the therapeutic effect of CBD for Crohn’s on a number of digestive issues.
Interestingly, the results show CBD may even be effective in managing issues that are resistant to traditional treatment.
- A 2009 study examined the effect of cannabidiol on mice with colitis. The researchers claim that CBD reduced colon injury and is likely a safe compound that prevents experimental colitis in mice.
- A 2010 study on rats with acute colitis found that “THC and CBD not only reduced inflammation but also lowered the occurrence of functional disturbances.”
- A 2011 study investigated “the effect of CBD on intestinal biopsies from patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and from intestinal segments of mice with LPS-induced intestinal inflammation.” The researchers stated that “CBD targets enteric reactive gliosis, counteracts the inflammatory environment induced by LPS in mice and in human colonic cultures derived from UC patients.“ They concluded that CBD may reveal a new therapeutic strategy for treating inflammatory bowel diseases.
- A 2013 literature reviewevaluated the use of cannabidiol in treating inflammatory bowel diseases. The researchers viewed CBD as a “promising drug for the therapy of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)” and concluded that it is “a potential candidate for the development of a new class of anti-IBD drugs.”
Which CBD Products Help With Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis?
Having seen the evidence from the aforementioned studies, you may be thinking about starting a CBD regimen, especially if you are currently experiencing digestive issues.
However, it is important to remember that while the studies have made very promising findings, CBD for Crohns has not been universally confirmed and accepted as a treatment for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
You should always speak with your doctor before you take CBD or any other health promoting supplement.
A number of people with IBDs have chosen to avoid the negative side effects of pharmaceutical medications by treating their condition with CBD. In most cases, people use CBD in the form of tinctures or gel capsules. Other individuals prefer to take CBD by using a vaporizer.