Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Although Crohn’s is typically found in the last part of the small intestine and the first part of the large intestine, it can be found anywhere in the digestive tract, including the mouth and anus.
The main symptoms of Crohn’s are:
-Diarrhea (sometimes with blood; some have it 10-20 times per day)
-Unexplained weight loss
-Fistulas (opening between organs) Patients with Crohn’s may go long periods of time with no symptoms or have only a few, but some have the symptoms all the time.
Crohn's disease is an autoimmune disease, in which the body's immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation; it is classified as a type of inflammatory bowel disease. There has been evidence of a genetic link to Crohn's disease, putting individuals with siblings afflicted with the disease at higher risk. It is understood to have a large environmental component as evidenced by the higher number of cases in western industrialized nations. Males and females are equally affected.
Smokers are three times more likely to develop Crohn's disease. Crohn's disease affects between 400,000 and 600,000 people in North America. Prevalence estimates for Northern Europe have ranged from 27–48 per 100,000. Crohn's disease tends to present initially in the teens and twenties, with another peak incidence in the fifties to seventies, although the disease can occur at any age.
There are prescription medications that can be taken to manage the symptoms, but there is no cure. At the present time, there are five basic categories of medications used in the treatment of IBD. They are:
Medical treatment for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis has two main goals: achieving remission (the absence of symptoms) and, once that is accomplished, maintaining remission (prevention of flare-ups). To accomplish these goals, treatment is aimed at controlling the ongoing inflammation in the intestine—the cause of IBD symptoms.
Evidence for and Proposed Mechanism for Cannabinoid Therapeutics
In a prospective clinical trial by FM Konikoff et al. it was concluded that "a short course (8 weeks) of THC-rich cannabis produced significant clinical, steroid-free benefits to 10 of 11 patients with active Crohn's disease, compared with placebo, without side effects."
1. WebMD online resources
2. Konikoff FM et al. Cannabis Induces a Clinical Response in Patients With Crohn's Disease: A Prospective Placebo-Controlled Study. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Volume 11, Issue 10, October 2013, Pages 1276–1280.e1