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Study: Inhaled Cannabis Reduces Crohn’s Symptoms

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 13, 2013

    Inhaling cannabis reduces symptoms of Crohn’s disease compared to placebo in patients non-responsive to traditional therapies, according to clinical trial data published online ahead of print in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

    Researchers at the Meir Medical Center, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Israel assessed the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis versus placebo in 21 subjects with Crohn’s disease who were nonresponsive to conventional treatments.

    Eleven participants smoked standardized cannabis cigarettes containing 23 percent THC and 0.5 percent CBD (cannabidiol) twice daily over a period of eight weeks. The other ten subjects smoked placebo cigarettes containing no active cannabinoids.

    Investigators reported, “Our data show that 8-weeks treatment with THC-rich cannabis, but not placebo, was associated with a significant decrease of 100 points in CDAI (Crohn’s Disease and activity index) scores.” (The CDIA is a research tool used to quantify the symptoms of Crohn’s disease patients.) Five of the eleven patients in the study group also reported achieving disease remission (defined as a reduction in patient CDAI score by more than 150 points).

    Researchers also reported that “no significant side effects” were associated with cannabis inhalation. Subjects in the study group reported improvements in appetite and sleep compared to those in the placebo group. Cannabis inhalation was also associated with “significantly less pain” among the participants.

    The study is the first placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess the consumption of cannabis for the treatment of Crohn’s.

    Israeli researchers had previously published observational trial data reporting that Crohn’s patients require fewer disease-related surgeries following their use of cannabis.

    According to survey data published in 2011 in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, some one-half of Crohn’s disease patients acknowledge having used cannabis to mitigate their disease symptoms.

    26 Responses to “Study: Inhaled Cannabis Reduces Crohn’s Symptoms”

    1. Barbara A Lucas says:

      I am a retired trauma nurse. Diagnosed with Rhuematoid arthritis, osteo arthritis and osteoporosis. I have been on every opoid made over the course of the past ten years. I now am off all opiods and only smoke pot. Howvever pot is not legal for me. It cures my pain more than anything else ever has. Tell me what I can do to help.

    2. joe says:

      As a person with crohns I agree its always helped me at times when I can’t eat. I’m not a burnout but I do smoke when j need to. Its a lot better then my other alternatives like drinking beer which helps also but I know its destroying my insides.

    3. mexweed says:

      Next step: compare with a vaporizer administration method– or a 25-mg-serving size one-hitter (how many hundred mg’s in those “standardized cannabis cigarettes”?).

      The basic process of a cigarette is that it BURNS– destroying a part of the cannabinoid– and provides a bonus drug cocktail of heat shock, carbon monoxide, combustion toxins etc. which may partly sabotage some benefits of the cannabis.

    4. disvet13 says:

      wait until they start eating a mature bud fresh off the plant. it may not be the best tasting but it works wonders for stomach problems.

    5. I’ve had Crohn’s 22 years now. Conventional medicines have not worked for me. Now my GI doctor wants me to go back on Humira but I am quite frankly afraid of the long term side effects which can give me cancer & other more significant problems down the road. My 22 yr old daughter was also diagnosed with this same horrible disaease @ age 14. so obviously I am afraid for her future also dealing with this disease of a lifetime.

    6. Galileo Galilei says:

      “Israeli researchers had previously published observational trial data reporting that Crohn’s patients require fewer disease-related surgeries following their use of cannabis.”

      Surgeries are expensive. Anything that will help minimize the need for their use helps drive down health care costs and benefits us all, the sick and the healthy.

    7. Jimmy John says:

      Typically drugs tested by the FDA look over long terms consequences for an 18 month period before they are approved. Cannabis has been around for thousands of years.
      There are more likely better delivery systems than simply smoking (oils, pastes, edibles, vaporizers, etc.).
      I am still amazed at how reticent people are to admit that marijuana helps them:
      Joe;
      As a person with crohns I agree its always helped me at times when I can’t eat. I’m not a burnout but I do smoke when j need to. Its a lot better then my other alternatives like drinking beer which helps also but I know its destroying my insides.

      EVERYTHING is in the DOSING. Do you not think that Big Pharma’s ‘wonder drugs” are ‘destroying your insides’?

    8. Miles says:

      One of the things the DEA, being the medical experts they think they are, keep saying is that smoked marijuana has no medical benefit. I love the fact that this study used smoked marijuana!!!It truly gives those control freaks one less talking point…

    9. Julian says:

      @mexiweed, you are correct about the vaporizer, but I would go further to recommend a fuel cell. They produce pure THC, increasing medication, and they don’t produce smelly combustive smoke. There is a need for patients to medicate themselves in privacy. They sell propane fuel cells for smoking “tobacco” at any smoke shop or they can order you one if you don’t want to link your laptop or phone to an order and go on line. They can run around $200 but they save more in efficiency and privacy. They look more or less like a dugout or a large lighter like you see

    10. Julian says:

      “In any gas station” was what I was going to say. (Jeez, there’s ONE advantage to ordering in person: not pressing “enter” by mistake).
      My nephew has Chrone’s Disease. It looks like my sister’s three other kids who are past puberty now are showing signs. A few years ago my nephew was busted smoking pot and his parents cut out his college fund and told him he would have to go to work after high school. They’re strict and by the rules. In light of this evidence I feel compelled to forward the news to my sister, but I regret she would only be offended. The state of Texas is the last state that I ever expected to even introduce decriminalization legislation. For that I send a very heart felt “thank you” to NORMAL.
      Many of us who accept weed know that we live in an overly prescribed society. Diseases like chrons disease and some forms of autism hit around adolescence- a time when young minds and hearts are grappling with an overwhelming variety of growing pains, depression and possible diseases. Weed is a natural pain relief that humans have gravitated to like any wounded animal in the forest for millenea. We have cultivated it for so long marijuana is in the muscle memory of our behavioral development in every major civilisation we have created world wide. Yet because of the C.S.Act and a pharma/insurance complex in our overprescribed society it took research in Isreal to diagnose weed as direct medicine for the CB1 cannabinoid that people with Chrone’s disease lack. To be fair, Jewish people have more Chrones Disease in the family than most, so Isreal is good testing grounds. But medical policy is so bad here in the U.S. that we are suffering an epidemic of prescribed medications such as zanex- which when mixed with even a little alcohol can leave you wondering how you woke up taking down someones fence, killing someone, or as with the recent incident with the DA in Austin Texas, driving up the wrong way of the shoulder with a half empty bottle of vodka and some prescription medication. (Thank you, mrs. DA of Austin for refusing to resign to prove how stubbornly misregulated our drug policy really is).
      There’s no excuse for the continued outlaw of marijuana.
      For parents who are worried about their kids getting “high” while they are getting an education under medication, listen: We can even separate the pschoactive ingredient THC from the CB1-simulating cannabinoid! But our system is so screwed up by big pharma that kids are being diagnosed for what they don’t have while kids who could benefit from weed are being denied what they need; without all the side effects of prescribed medicine to distrupt their education.
      Wait, let me back up for emphasis; KIDS & YOUNG ADULTS DIAGNOSED WITH CHRONE’S DISEASE COULD BE TAKING CB1-SIMULATING CANNABINOIDS THAT HAVE BEEN ISOLATED FROM THE PSYCHOACTIVE PROPERTIES OF THC.
      Instead of overprescribing the weight-gaining, diabetes-causing, liver-damaging medicines they have been prescribing for any kid with misdiagnosed autism or ADD just for acting out in class, or even well diagnosed for Chrone’s Disease, we could be giving our kids weed without the pscychoactive effect of being “high.” (Which might not hurt in language or art class, relatively speaking).
      I know I have to change the laws to convince my sister. That’s why I’m donating to NORMAL. Its so encouraging to know there’s a non for profit lobby out there making American Democracy work for us instead of letting the country go to Hell with Pfizer and the DEA at the helm of our marijuana policy.
      Meanwhile, parents and young adults who wish to graduate without their parents worries, go look for a propane fuel cell to inhale your medicine. And if you find the holy grail: a hydrogen fuel cell inhaler– than blog me back! I don’t care WHAT it costs, that’s gold!

    11. Eric says:

      Am I the only one that read this and thought:
      How did the people smoking the ‘placebo cigarette” not know it was a placebo….I mean obviously if it didn’t get them high, and the other ‘half’ got high….iunno.

    12. Cat Cassie says:

      What an amazing God given plant. No wonder the dea was so against any kind of testing or research on it. How many more lives will be destroyed before they admit they were wrong? How many more sick people will suffer for fear of going to jail? Enough is enough.

    13. im a ohio says:

      As Barbara Lucas goes so goes cannibis prohibition
      many like her realize how backwards current policy is
      With the great strength blogs like Norml have, we all get
      to make contact and tell our story and speak our minds.
      So it won’t be long for this wisdom to spread to all
      And we will all be the better of it. Hold on Barbara peace is coming.

    14. Craig C. says:

      I’m glad it works for a lot of people to get in or close to remission but it definitely has NOT done that for me and I’ve tried a lot of different preparations.

      Don’t get me wrong. It helps with pain, relaxation, sleep, calming me down after cramp attacks and if taken orally does help reduce gastric emptying or times going to the bathroom. It does help with hunger but i’m still not eating enough because crohn’s has stripped away my desire to eat during this flare. The munchies aren’t the same when I’m flaring. The desire somewhat returns but the stomach may not be willing. Cannabis has not reduced the abdominal pressure I experience making eating hard to do.

      So basically I am going to have to use remicaid in a month because what I’m trying isn’t working including cannabis. I love cannabis it’s great but for remission, at least for me, it’s not doing it.. and I’ve been at it for many months with salves, balms, oils, edibles and just smoking it. Perhaps I am just at the point where I need more pharma meds to get this under control.

    15. Lauren says:

      I was diagnosed with colitis in 2004. a couple years ago they said they can’t tell if it’s crohn’s, colitis, or both. Just to maintain my disease requies a daily regimen of over 27 pills. That does not include when medications like steroids and antibiotics are thrown into the mix. Just one of the medicines is nearly $400 a month. They still do not always work or put me in remission.
      The last few months I have stopped all pills and started smoking a small amount of pot once a day before bedtime. in the time I was smoking regulary, I did not have a single flare up. I was able to eat normally and had no pain in my tummy. I ran out of pot 5 days ago. Three days ago my colitis flared up. I can’t eat due to the horrible tummy pain. I can’t even leave the house because I have to stay near a restroom.
      Pot is a godsend for people with this disease. It’s use for medicinal purposes is not legal in my state. I detest that I have to be treated like a criminal to use a drug that is effective in managing this disease. Would you rather smoke 1 bowl and be free of costly medications with unpleasant side effects or spend thousands of dollars and take more than 20 pills a day that aren’t even effective? I am not a criminal. It is criminal that people are being denied access to an effective and less harmful treatment option.

    16. Jason says:

      I have had stomach problems for years, i have lost a lot of weight at times because of the inability to eat. The stomach pain is sometimes very unbearable and since i don’t get a lot to eat i am very weak a lot of the time. For me its like i am a different person when i get to smoke, a person without pain, someone who can eat normal just like everybody else. They have yet to diagnose me, but continue to look. I have more tests this week and i am hoping something can be done. I am not a criminal, i just want to be okay.

    17. Anonymous says:

      Julian= Sponges are the first known that had the cannabinoid receptor, 200 million years ago+. Today, almost every animal has a (endo)cannabinoid system. Without which, if gone tomorrow, we would die. Mankind is bred into cannabinoid, it was not a conscious thought to become adaptive to cannabinoids and their use.
      After all, there is a reason Mj does not kill!

    18. stopthelies says:

      The feds/DEA used the argument of no medicinal properties to get it on schedule I.. so why no new lawsuits to change this, or remove it completely? Only big pharma fears this.. how long until the world looks at CO and WA and realizes legalization isn’t the end of the world.

      [Paul Armentano responds: There have been numerous legal actions pursued to remedy the federal scheduling issue, the latest being this one: http://norml.org/news/2013/01/31/court-rejects-challenge-to-the-prohibitive-classification-of-cannabis.

    19. crohnsblazin420 says:

      Smoking/vaporizing does help extremely, I have had crohns for 21 years w/ extreme symptoms, two bowel resectionings leading to illeostomy, more fistulas than I can remember and rediculous wait loss, been on every drug offered including pain meds(which suck & harmful), one of the first in us to receive remicade(reps showed up to watch me receive it), and it only lasts so long like the rest, ingestion does work, but not straight off the plant, you needs fats to extract the THC from the bud like butter, if u choose not to smoke it, break it up very fine and simmer it in butter n add it to your foods, its one of the easiest methods, and there’s plenty of recipes out there. Ganja does work for crohns in multiple ways, and yes it is illegal in some states, like Florida, but screw em, I was arrested a month ago n really don’t care, yea it sux its on my record, but the 4 anal fistulas I had operated on one week later no one gave a shit about, or the five other operations with a combined 24 insitions do to the same reaccurring fistulas. Think anyone cared bout that, or the 45 lbs I lost,or how much it all cost me or what my illeostomy supplies cost,not at all,they just care bout how much $ they can make off ya, don’t know bout anyone else,” But I don’t do drugs!!!!” I just try to live a normal life.

    20. Crohns patient says:

      Hello everyone. I am 24 with 6+ surgeries since i was
      Diagnosed at age 15. Have had fistulas abscess colon resections.After i turned 18 i refused to take any more meds or treatments. I felt like a guinea pig, remicade ,humira,rprednisone remicade u name it. I smoke once every couple weeks sometimes.months go by. When i do the next morning i am so happy .The following is the effects of inhaled marijuana specifically 1 to 2 joints (1.25 cigarrette paper):

      Significant reduction of inflammation
      No pain at all
      300% less bowel movements i can go out without looking for the nearest bathroom.from usually 6 to 15 times a day i go once maybe twice and.am able.to pass gas.
      I have gallstones too n the pain sometimes wakes me up i refuse to get surgery for now but smoking mj has me pain free at night.
      I am no doctor but as other fellow crohns patients i have been through hell n back. I strongly believe marijuana helps with symptoms and so far no adverse effects.I support medical use for marijuana. All the best to you from Miami,Fl.
      P.s ….i dont munch out ,simply sit n relax eating too much of anything isnt a good idea,atleast.for me. U eat before smoking if.i do get hungry i eat crackers oe food that i usually tolerate.well in moderation. I am usually on thr run but mj makes life w
      With crohns alot easier.

    21. Crohns patient says:

      Hello everyone. I am 24 with 6+ surgeries since
      i was
      Diagnosed at age 15. Have had fistulas
      abscess colon resections.After i turned 18 i
      refused to take any more meds or treatments. I
      felt like a guinea pig, remicade
      ,humira,asacol you name it.
      I smoke once every three weeks
      sometimes months go by. When i do the next
      morning i am so happy .The following is the
      effects of inhaled marijuana specifically 1 to 2
      At a time.(1.25 cigarrette paper):

      Significant reduction of inflammation
      No pain at all
      300% less bowel movements i can go out
      without looking for the nearest bathroom.from
      usually 6 to 15 times a day i go once maybe
      twice and am able to pass gas naturally.

      I have gallstones too n the pain sometimes
      wakes me up i refuse to get surgery for now but
      smoking mj has me pain free at night.
      I am no doctor but as other fellow crohns
      patients i have been through hell n back. I
      strongly believe marijuana helps with
      symptoms and so far no adverse effects.I
      support medical use for marijuana. All the best
      to you from Miami,Fl.

      P.s ….i dont munch out ,simply sit n relax eating
      too much of anything isnt a good
      idea,atleast.for me. I eat before smoking if.i do
      get hungry i eat crackers or food that i usually
      tolerate well in moderation. I am usually on the
      run but mj makes life with crohns alot easier.

    22. Kevin says:

      Live in Seattle. Lot’s of Crohn’s patients getting the help they need. Put together some info on FB https://www.facebook.com/cannabidiolforcrohns

    23. Anonymous says:

      Well i had debilitating chrons i lost a lot of weight was bleeding all my insides out i guess i was slowly dieing i took Medicine got a bit better ran out and started smoking pot and from there i forgot i had the disease because its been 3 years now and no real symptoms marijuana is bueno

    24. Crohns patient says:

      Anyone heard of or tried maranol? I think it is a a drug based on marijuana. Here in Fl it is trying to be approved for doctors to prescribe . I am skeptical though. Medications help for one thing then harm 10. I quit smoking quite a while back , received surgery for my gallbladder and am still refusing to take any lifelong medication for c.disease.
      So far I am coping , but I know many others are suffering greatly with fistulas , abscesses and need medication outweighing the risks. Goodluck to you all. Hope someone finds a cure someday. Life goes on don’t let your symptoms define you.

      [Paul Armentano responds: Dronabinol, trade name Marinol, is oral synthetic THC. It was approved by the FDA in 1985 for prescription use in all states. It is a schedule III drug. I believe you are referring to cannabidiol (CBD), which is a non-psycotropic organic cannabinoid which we have written about extensively on this site. Presently, it is classified along with all organic cannabinoids as schedule I substances under federal law.]

    25. Amanda Jones says:

      So I have chrons and I havehad bowel resection a been hospitalized numerous times sometimes every couple months now I’ve been in remission for a year and a half thanks to a oil marijuana oil its referred to as Rick Simpson oil luckily I live in a marijuana legal state Washington thank you very much but if you don’t live in a state where you can just walk in the store and buy some you can make it quite easily there’s plenty of websites explaining it it also works wonders for diabetes add autism depression arthritis glaucoma sleep problems cancer side effects some say its cure the cancer its self and the list goes on I’m at all for help me to lose of 150 pounds I gained from steroids from the medicine for the chronsfor me a call during initial here when you take something and then you’re done you can take it anymore this I take daily about the size of currency does that make me hi sleepy you can get it without THC just high CBD but I do get to tha for extra pain relief I have joint pain and do some stomach pain from scar tissue .do be careful when making it I would suggest doing the simplest method in beginning if it make I personally buy it already made a lot more cost effective and safe for me if anybody has any questions I would love to answer them for you you can email me at Amandaflegeljones@gmail.com I am NOT a doctor or a nurse I’m just somebody that has had great results someone to help other patients and please don’t buy from somebody off line who says no mail you some hemp oil not a good idea and hemp oil is not the same thanks have a great day bless you

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