Can marijuana or CBD help?

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There is great interest in medical marijuana and CBD to help manage various conditions and symptoms such as pain, nausea, i sleep problems. If you or a loved one is struggling ulcerative colitis (UC) and its symptoms, you might wonder if marijuana or CBD could help with that.

It is useful to understand the difference between marijuana and CBD. Marijuana comes from a plant that people sometimes use for recreational or medical purposes, the so-called Cannabis sativa. It contains two main active ingredients: THC (abbreviation of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (abbreviation of cannabidiol).

It is THC in marijuana that gives you high value. If you buy CBD products, they come from a relative of cannabis marijuana called hemp. There should not be a lot of THC in your CBD. So CBD might feel you tired or make your own mouth you feel dry, but you won’t swell if you take it.

Does it help with UC? Some researchers and doctors are investigating the possibility that cannabis in one form or another helps people with inflammatory bowel disorders, including UC. Based on the evidence so far, the answer is not simply yes or no.

“There is a percentage of patients who use cannabis and feel better,” says Jami Kinnucan, MD. gastroenterologist at the University of Michigan. “Their symptoms are the most common abdominal pain or pain in the body, diarrhea, appetite and nausea – improve. ”

Limited evidence

But, says Kinnucan, that doesn’t mean cannabis use is a good way to treat UC. This is because people with UC have inflammation in their digestive tract. This one inflammation as well as ulcers are associated with UC symptoms including diarrhea, pain, cramps, bleeding and fatigue. The primary goal of treatment is to stop the inflammation.

There is some evidence in mice to suggest that cannabis may help with inflammation. This has to do with certain receptors that respond to other cannabinoids that our body produces naturally. Cannabis can also slow down the digestive tract. But that is not clear smoking cannabis or taking in a capsule fights underlying inflammation in people with UC.

In one small Clinical trial, people with UC who took CBD capsules containing a small amount of THC for 10 weeks were not more likely to enter remission than those who take a placebo. Smoking two cigarettes of marijuana a day did not reduce the signs of inflammation.

“If you do that blood work, painting or stool samples, the number of patients does not change, ”says Kinnucan. “Although they may feel better, their inflammatory load is not improving.”

A CBD study reported that 10 weeks of treatment improved quality of life. But study participants also reported side effects, including dizziness, attention problems, headache, nausea, and fatigue. Dizziness was the most common reason why people in the CBD study gave up. A marijuana study did not report any side effects or quality of life.

A recent review of two clinical studies concluded that the effects of cannabis and CBD on people with UC remain uncertain. There is no evidence that it can help bring people with UC into remission.

But it is too early to say whether it sometimes helps in other ways and how safe it is.

Kinnucan says it is possible that cannabis could help some patients with UC and not others. For those with drug-controlled UC, he says there’s no reason to think adding cannabis would help. It is never a good idea to replace approved medications with cannabis. There is a risk that cannabis could hide the symptoms and encourage people to stop the necessary treatments.

“At the end of the day, if you want to control inflammation, there is no data to confirm that,” Kinnucan says.

Weigh the risks

The most important thing for people with UC is to continue with treatments that doctors know work. If you still have symptoms, Kinnucan says your doctor should evaluate your illness to make sure the treatments you are taking are sufficient. But if you or a loved one is taking it drugs as prescribed for UC control, there is a chance that cannabis could help with long-term symptoms such as pain or nausea. She recommends taking cannabis orally instead of smoking because of the risk of smoking and to start with the lowest THC levels.

Kinnucan says more doctors and patients should discuss cannabis, including how and why patients can use it on their own. But for now, it’s hard for doctors to know how to advise people with UC on how they can safely use cannabis. Research on cannabis for inflammatory bowel disease including UC is underway, so more data is coming.

In addition to working, doctors and patients also have legal issues to consider when it comes to cannabis. CBD is federally legal as long as it contains only very low levels of THC, although the rules in some states could change.

As for marijuana, it’s getting more complicated. For example, in Michigan, recreational marijuana is legal, but medical marijuana requires a confirmed diagnosis from two physicians. UC is on the list of qualifying requirements for medical marijuana. Marijuana can be classified as medicinal or recreational. Both are legal in some states. Other states have legalized only medical marijuana. And in some, no form is legal. The Federal Anti-Drug Administration (DEA) also recognizes marijuana, including medical marijuana, as a controlled substance.

“We have patients who live in one state and drive across state borders to get cannabis, but then bring it back illegally,” says Kinnucan. “You should invoke your state laws. Crossing the border can be a criminal activity. ”

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