Both Colitis and Crohn’s disease are serious chronic inflammatory conditions that cause internal damage. Those diagnosed with these diseases have difficulty digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste. Studies into treating Crohn’s and Colitis with CBD oil have consistently yielded promising results. What exactly are CBD’s effects on Crohn’s and colitis?
Crohn’s disease and Colitis often result in chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract, but most often affects the portion of the small intestine just before the colon. Colitis only occurs in the large intestine and rectum.
There is a mounting body of evidence supporting the idea that CBD’s effects on Crohn’s and colitis are positive. And CBD may also be a safe and effective treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Researchers are hopeful that CBD oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can provide relief from debilitating conditions such as Crohn’s disease and Colitis.
Understanding Crohn’s Disease & Colitis
According to the Center For Disease Control, an estimated 3 million U.S. adults suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (either Crohn’s or Colitis); a million more people than 16 years prior in 1999. 
These factors increase one’s risk of IBD:
- Aged 45 years or older
- Hispanic or non-Hispanic white
- With less than a high school level education
- U.S. born
- Living in poverty
- Living in suburban areas
As with many autoimmune diseases, researchers don’t fully understand the exact cause of Crohn’s disease and Colitis. Researchers collectively categorize these two conditions as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD).
It’s thought that the immune system responds incorrectly to environmental triggers, or that it dysfunctions, possibly due to genetic factors.
Other ideas suggest that the diseases could be caused by a virus or bacteria triggering the immune system to attack cells in the digestive tract resulting in a host of ailments including:
- Bowel obstruction
- Anal fissure
- Colon cancer
- Other health risks
Those with both Crohn’s and Colitis go through periods of remission and flare-ups. With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, patient’s gastrointestinal organs aren’t able to function properly leading to symptoms such as:
- Persistent diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal bleeding
Traditional Therapies and Treatments for Crohn’s and IBD
Traditional medicine utilizes various combinations of anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, and immune system suppressors such as corticosteroids to treat Crohn’s disease and Colitis.
While corticosteroids have been shown to induce remission in short-term studies, they have not been shown to have an impact on the maintenance of long-term remission in patients with Crohn’s disease. Furthermore, the drugs are associated with a high potential for dependence and serious toxic side effects. 
Many scientists are adopting the notion that irritable bowel syndrome, IBD, and other autoimmune system disorders may be due to a clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. Research has indeed confirmed the theory that endocannabinoid deficiencies play a significant role in developing these types of conditions. 
Further research is greatly warranted. But current studies suggest that compounds such as CBD may hold great therapeutic value to both Crohn’s Disease and Colitis patients.
Research Studies on CBD’s Effects on Crohn’s Disease & Colitis
Scientific studies into CBD’s effects on Crohn’s, colitis and IBD provide promising results for doctors and patients alike. However, continued federal prohibition of cannabis limits the scientific community’s ability to host large-scale, long-term clinical trials to look into CBD’s effects on Crohn’s Disease and Colitis.
Author and researcher, Schico R., from the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology in Austria, in his report entitled, “Cannabis finds its way into treatment of Crohn’s disease,” confirms the effect of cannabis compounds in Crohn’s patients saying that “Cannabis produces significant clinical benefits in patients with Crohn’s Disease.” 
And in another study entitled, “Cannabis induces a clinical response in patients with Crohn’s disease: a prospective placebo-controlled study,” 45% of Crohn’s disease patients experienced complete remission. Patients received just an 8-week treatment of cannabinoids.
Several of the patients were weaned from steroid dependency and many subjects reported improved appetite and sleep. 
CBD in the Treatment of Crohn’s Disease & Colitis
As you can see, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome may find relief from CBD oil treatments. CBD’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties are thought to be the main mechanisms through which the diseases are mediated. 
In 2013, Crohn’s disease patient Bruce Buckner wrote on an Internet forum called rxmarijuana.com about his experience with cannabinoid therapy and IBD saying, “I have several relatives with Crohn’s disease. Every one of them has had major surgery. Every one of them has had complications from the steroids and immune suppressors they have been prescribed . . . I am firmly convinced that I would be in the same condition as my relatives with Crohn’s if I hadn’t used [medical cannabis].” 
Alleviating Symptoms of Chrohn’s
In the landmark 2005 paper by MD Jeff Hergenrather which looked at CBD’s effects on Crohn’s Disease titled “Cannabis Alleviates Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease,” patients reported wide-ranging benefits and reduced reliance on [traditional] drugs with adverse effects. Dr. Hergenrather reports, “For all signs and symptoms evaluated in the study, the patients described marked improvements with the use of cannabis. Beneficial effects were reported for appetite, pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, activity, and depression. Also, patients reported that cannabis use resulted in weight gain, fewer stools per day and fewer are-ups of less severity.” 
Studies into CBD’s effects on Crohn’s Disease suggest that the conditions correlate with a dysfunctional endocannabinoid system, or possibly a clinical deficiency of endocannabinoids. 
While there is no cure for Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis currently, CBD gives hopes to patients living with chronic inflammation.
CBD and cannabinoid therapies will affect each individual uniquely according to genetics, potency, dosage, and method of administration. Consult with a physician before experimenting with CBD oil to treat inflammatory bowel diseases.
Curative Biosciences’ potent softgels contain a nanoencapsulated CBD oil which is ideal for use in delivering CBD to the digestive tract.
You may also be interested in our article about CBD’s effects on cancer.
- Corticosteroids in Crohn’s Disease. Yang YX. AM. J. Gastroenterol. 2002 Apr;97(4):803-23 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12003413
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease. CDC. Data and Statistics. 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/ibd/data-statistics.htm
- Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) revisited: can this concept explain the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions? Smith SC. Wagner MS. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2014;35(3):198-201. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24977967
- RxMarijuana.com. Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine. Bruce Buckner. 2013. Web. http://www.rxmarijuana.com/index2.htm
- Impact of Cannabis Treatment on the Quality of Life, Weight, and Clinical Disease Activity in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients: A Pilot Prospective Study. Lahat A. Digestion 2012;85:1-8 https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/332079
- Cannabis finds its way into treatment of Crohn’s disease. Schicho R. Storr M. Pharmacology 2014;93(1-2):1-3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24356243
- Cannabis induces a clinical response in patients with Crohn’s disease: a prospective placebo-controlled study. Naftali T. Clin. Gastreoenterol. Hepatol. 2013 Oct;11(10):1276-1280. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23648372
- Cannabis Alleviates Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. Jeff Hergenrather, MD. O-Shaughnessy’s. 2005. http://www.beyondthc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Crohns05.pdf
Research Papers on CBD’s Effects on Crohn’s and Colitis
- Cannabidiol in inflammatory bowel diseases: A brief overview
- CBD reduces intestinal inflammation through the control of neuroimmune axis
- Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): Can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions?
- Cannabinoid actions at TRPV channels: Effects on TRPV3 and TRPV4 and their potential relevance to gastrointestinal inflammation
- Therapeutic potential of cannabinoid-based drugs
- Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease (Biochemical Pharmacology)
- CBD and the gut: New developments and emerging concepts
- Endocannabinoids and the gastrointestinal tract
- CBD and gastrointestinal motility
- Getting into the weed: the role of the endocannabinoid system in the brain-gut axis
- Cannabinoids and GI Disorders: Endogenous and Exogenous