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Chron's Disease / Ulcerative Colitis and Medicinal Cannabis

In Australia, over 70 thousand people suffer from Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Although two different conditions, both affect the bowel: Chron's causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, and ulcerative colitis refers to inflammation of the inner lining of the large bowel. Collectively, these conditions are known as irritable. bowel disorder.

When treated with medication and diet/lifestyle changes, people living with IBD can live relatively normal lives. 

What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis?

Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis can manifest in a range of ways, including:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea (sometimes with blood and mucus)
  • Tiredness
  • Constipation
  • Malnutrition
  • Nausea
  • Delayed or impaired growth in children

Factors that may increase your risk of developing Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in your stool
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Ongoing bouts of diarrhoea that don't respond to over-the-counter (OTC) medications
  • Unexplained fever lasting more than a day or two
  • Unexplained weight loss

How can medicinal cannabis help with Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis?

Some sufferers of IBDs like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis are using medicinal cannabis to relieve symptoms as cannabinoids are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. A recent study assessed gut inflammation after IBD patients were treated with cannabis. Results found that 65% of the participants met “strict criteria for clinical remission” of Crohn's disease.

Cannabis also resulted in an improvement in the patient's overall quality of life, with participants reporting that after cannabis treatment their sleep and appetite both saw positive changes.

Some of the cannabis products that have shown to be beneficial treatments to Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis sufferers include:

  • Nabiximols
  • Dronbinol
  • THC:CBD extracts
  • CBD extracts
  • Cannabis Sativa
  • Cannabis Indica

They can be consumed as an oil, vape liquid, sprays and wafers.

If you or a loved one are suffering from Crohn’s Disease/Colitis and are considering medicinal cannabis as a potential treatment, please speak to your GP or to one of our SAS accredited doctors here.