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Crohn's Disease & Marijuana

Crohn’s Disease is an immune deficiency disease that involves chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Crohn’s can cause persistent cramping, diarrhea, obstruction, and rectal bleed. Surgery is sometimes required to relieve patients of symptoms. Patients suffering from Crohn's disease, or from any type of irritable bowel disease, have a higher level of cannabinoid receptors in their gastrointestinal tract. The endocannabinoids found in cannabis can help to reduce the inflammation caused by these conditions. In 2013, the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that 10 of 11 patients in the cannabis group of a study had a significant reduction in their symptoms and 5 had complete remission with the use of cannabis. Both types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, are found in the digestive system. When CB1 receptors are activated, they can decrease intestinal movement and the secretion of intestinal fluids. CB2 receptor stimulation can lead to an increase in T-cell, white blood cells, and other body cells that mediate inflammation. There is also evidence that THC may be helpful in reducing the leakage of fluids through the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Due to stomach sensitivities in patients with Crohn’s, vaporization or smoking has seemed to be the best delivery method for medical cannabis. Edible forms, however, allow for the cannabis to directly sooth the gastrointestinal tract.

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