What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a term used for a variety of disorders that impact the digestive tract through chronic inflammation. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common forms of IBD, and nearly 260,000 Canadians are living with this painful condition. 

Although stress and diet can aggravate IBD, factors such as age, cigarette smoking and family history appear to pose a greater risk when it comes to developing the disease. However, the exact cause of IBD still remains unknown.

Although symptoms can vary in severity and frequency they often include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Cramping and abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite

How is IBD treated?

Depending on the severity of each case, the treatment options for IBD differ. Patients suffering from this condition can sometimes manage symptoms through diet or over-the-counter pain relievers. In some more extreme instances, surgery may also be recommended.

But for patients seeking a more natural alternative to manage their IBD symptoms, there is a surprising treatment option available: cannabis.

How can cannabis help IBD?

There are many ways in which cannabis can potentially improve quality of life for those living with IBD. 

This ancient healing plant is famous for its powerful anti-inflammatory and pain relieving qualities. But interestingly, it is coming to light that the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) also plays an important role in gut homeostasis. 

The ECS is an important biological system that plays a vital role in regulating many of our body’s functions including mood, sleep and hunger. We naturally produce cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, and these stimulate the cannabinoid receptors found throughout our bodies. Since the phytocannabinoids found in cannabis (specifically THC and CBD) are so alike to our own endocannabinoids, they can have a big impact on our ECS.

Because inflammation and gastrointestinal (GI) motility are both linked to the ECS system, it is unsurprising that a growing number of IBD sufferers have been seeking relief with medical cannabis. In survey data collected from Canada and the US, it was found that between 15-20% of IBD patients were currently using cannabis to help their symptoms, with 40% reporting that they had previously tried the drug in the past.

Many IBD patients are already seeking relief…

In an observational study from 2011, the impact of medical marijuana in the treatment of Crohn’s disease was explored. Researchers monitored disease activity, use of medication, and the need for surgery and hospitalization of patients before and after they received medical cannabis. Of the 30 patients involved, 21 reported significant improvements following their cannabis treatment.   

Similarly, a survey conducted involving over 200 IBD patients discovered that a surprising number of individuals were seeking cannabis as a treatment option. Users reported relief from abdominal pain, diarrhea and improved appetite with cannabis. The drug was of particular help to those experiencing chronic pain and for those with a history of surgeries.

Although these results are promising, this type of data is often considered anecdotal evidence. Further quality research and placebo-controlled studies are required to explore the therapeutic benefits of treating IBD with medical cannabis.

Seeking IBD Relief in Calgary with Medical Cannabis

The best way to know if medical cannabis can help you manage your IBD symptoms is to come in for a medical consultation with a physician at one of our medical cannabis clinics in Calgary.

Your appointment is free and covered by Alberta Health Services. Prior to your medical consultation with one of our licensed physicians, you will be educated on how medical cannabis works in our body and how it reacts to our endocannabinoid system.

During your education session with a Cann-Expert, you will learn:

  1. The main differences between an Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid strain
  2. Benefits of THC, CBD, and Balanced strains
  3. Our unique Endocannabinoid Systems (ECS)
  4. The timing of inhalation vs ingestion

At the time of your consultation, your Revolution Medical Cannabis doctor will review your medical history and ensure that cannabis will not conflict with any medications you’re currently taking.

Our Calgary medical cannabis doctors will then prescribe the best treatment plan for you. Our team will guide you in selecting a licensed producer as well as the registration.

Dealing with IBD? Schedule your free medical cannabis consultation with a doctor today!

 

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