Crohn’s Disease: Can Medical Marijuana Help?

Rahul Sood, D.O.

When you have Crohn’s disease, you experience inflammation and irritation in your gastrointestinal system. This chronic disease usually impacts the small intestine and beginning of the large intestine (colon). However, it can also cause problems anywhere in the digestive tract, including your mouth or anus.

Estimates reveal that over half a million Americans live with Crohn’s disease. It can develop in anyone at any age, but appears more frequently in people who smoke, are between 22-29 years of age, or have a family member with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Our team at Metro Pain Centers understands that Crohn’s disease can worsen over time and come with periods of remission lasting for weeks or even years. One tool we use to treat this chronic pain condition is medical marijuana.

Why medical marijuana

Medical marijuana comes from a group of plants, known as cannabis, with therapeutic benefits. 

What makes this plant unique involves the more than 500 chemicals — especially the active phytocannabinoids or cannabinoids — it contains. These unique compounds interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system, involved in processes that include:

  • Pain
  • Mood and emotions 
  • Stress response
  • Appetite and gastrointestinal motility
  • Immune function
  • Memory

As a result, doctors use medical marijuana as a therapy for numerous conditions, ranging from seizures and sleep disorders to chronic pain conditions like Crohn’s disease.

How medical marijuana helps Crohn’s disease

As we mentioned above, Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition, so you shouldn’t consider medical marijuana a cure. 

Instead, this therapy can ease many symptoms associated with this disease, such as:

  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • Cramping and abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Fatigue

This is largely due to the THC and CBD — two specific cannabinoids that medical marijuana contains. On its own, THC can improve appetite and relieve nausea and pain. On the other hand, CBD provides more benefit to the immune system by reducing inflammation, spasticity, and pain.

Together, they deliver valuable medicine to the endocannabinoid system when treating IBD conditions like Crohn’s disease.

Getting started with medical marijuana

If you have Crohn’s disease that hasn’t responded to other treatments, it could be time to try medical marijuana. To see if you’re a good candidate for this therapy, we perform a comprehensive assessment, discuss your symptoms, and review your treatment history.

After we determine medical marijuana is right for you, we help you fill out the paperwork to apply for your medical marijuana license. Once you’re approved, you can pick up your medication at a state-approved dispensary.

Based on your symptoms and overall health, we could recommend a variety of formulas and forms, such as:

  • Capsules or edibles
  • Oils for spraying or vaporizing
  • Topical applications
  • Dried buds and leaves for smoking

To ensure you find the perfect formula and dose, we regularly monitor your response to the medication and make adjustments based on your reactions.

Are you looking for relief from your Crohn’s disease symptoms? Contact one of our six offices in New York and New Jersey to see if medical marijuana is right for you.

Rahul Sood, D.O.

Rahul Sood, D.O.

About Rahul Sood, D.O.

As a board-certified anesthesiologist and doctor of osteopathy, Rahul Sood, DO, is an integral part of the team at Metro Pain Centers. He is also a specialist in venous medicine with an extensive history and experience in treating lower extremity spider and varicose veins. He practices from the offices in Clifton, Middletown, Riverdale, Edison, and Jersey City, New Jersey; and Staten Island and Ardsley, New York.

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