Qualifying Condition Focus: Crohn’s Disease and Colitis

This month we are highlighting Crohn’s disease and Colitis, which are classified as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and listed as a qualifying condition for the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program.

There is no “cures” for Crohn’s disease or Colitis, and most treatments are aimed to ease inflammation, prevent flare-ups and keep patients in remission. Considering that patients may have to take medicine constantly to keep these conditions under control, medical cannabis may be a viable, less harmful alternative medicine for their symptoms.

Crohn’s Disease and Colitis are Inflammatory Bowel Diseases that are defined by parts of the digestive system becoming swollen and having deep sores known as ulcers. Crohn’s Disease is usually apparent in the end of the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine, but it has been found in other places along the digestive tract. Colitis, on the other hand, often only affects the colon and the rectum.
The direct cause of Crohn’s Disease and Colitis is unknown. It is thought that people may develop Crohn’s Disease or Colitis when their body has an abnormal response to the bacteria in their intestines, or other bacteria and viruses may play a role in causing the disease. The diseases may also be hereditary.

CSATC carries multiple strains that patients say have positive effects in treating gastrointestinal issues. For example, ACDC, Blue Dream and Willy Jack tend to be patient favorites for helping these issues.

Typically strains with higher CBG help regulate the digestive tract.

The symptoms of Crohn’s Disease and Colitis are stomach pain, diarrhea and weight loss. Some patients may experience diarrhea 10 to 20 times a day, sometimes with blood in their stool. Other less common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include mouth sores, bowel blockages, fissures (anal tears) and openings (fistulas) between organs.

Some of the more recent research on medical cannabis use for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases is promising. A study published in 2011 in the Israel Medical Association Journal focused on 30 patients who had not responded to standard treatments.  Twenty-one of the patients said their overall well-being improved with cannabis use, and the need for other medication was significantly reduced.

Studies have suggested that THC administration was associated with delayed gastric emptying of a standard solid and liquid meal. A second study by the same group demonstrated that THC was associated with relaxation of the colon and inhibition of the increase in tone after a meal.