Yet another disease is cured by cannabis.
Never mind that cannabis can cure cancer, depression and kidney failure. It cures the inflammatory bowel condition, Crohn’s disease, as well. ?Complete remission? was achieved in half the participants in one study.
Crohn’s disease is a state of immune deficiency stemming from a great variety of environmental, genetic and immunological factors. It’s an inflammatory disorder which strikes a person’s gastro-intestinal tract, anywhere from mouth to backeye. With Crohn’s disease, the harmless bacteria in the intestines are treated as harmful invaders, and inflammation ensues. There are around 250,000 sufferers in the United Kingdom.
Symptoms can be anything from mild abdominal pain to an urgent need to defecate, bloody diarrhoea, fevers, nausea, rectal bleeding, vomiting and weight loss. While some people need only change their diet, others can be subjected to invasive surgery where bowel segments are removed. Prescription drugs can alleviate milder cases. People can carry the disease for years without showing symptoms.
The 21-subject study by Meir Medical Centre in Israel, published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology in 2014, was prompted by the relief cannabis was known to provide for conditions that include arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Beneficial effects had long been reported in the case of Crohn’s, but there had never been a controlled trial.
The participants all had severe and intractable Crohn’s disease. 11 smoked a modest two joints a day for eight weeks while the remainder constituted a placebo group. Five of the 11 achieved total remission, with increased appetite and better sleep. Severe Crohn’s can cause people to defecate 20 times a day, even waking during the night to do so, and cannabis helped here, too. There were what the researchers termed ?significant clinical, steroid-free benefits? in 10 of the 11. There were no side effects, while the steroids and immune suppressors commonly employed as treatment frequently cause complications. There was ?a statistically significant improvement in almost all aspects of patients’ daily life.? Only four of the placebo subjects experienced any improvement.
The researchers noted that their study merited further attention, with a larger sample size and ?a non-smoking mode of intake? – this latter being a suggestion that the THC be administered by means of drugs extracted from cannabis. Let’s ignore that bit.
Crohn’s tends to run in families. Bruce Buckner wrote that he has several relatives who, like him, are afflicted by this disease. Each of the relatives has undergone major surgery and suffered complications from steroids and immune suppressors. He is firmly of the belief that only cannabis usage spared him the same fate: ?The medical use of marijuana has saved my colon and my quality of life.”
Cannabis was widely used in ancient medicine to treat bowel disturbances. Crohn’s disease takes its name from Dr Burrill B Crohn, who first described the disease in 1932. It occurs more often in developed than undeveloped countries and urban rather than rural areas.
Shona Banda of Kansas, which has not legalised cannabis, found fame when one of her two sons corrected the lies fed to schoolchildren at an anti-drugs presentation and admitted that his mother took cannabis to relieve Crohn’s. He was put into foster care and she was prosecuted. Her son is now back but the case is ongoing.