3 Studies Testing Cannabis as Treatment for Crohn’s Disease

Prior to 2011, there was pretty much no research on the results of consuming cannabis to lower the effects of Crohn’s disease. Since then, studies have shed light on the substance.

Study 1

In a study published in The Israel Medical Association Journal, they studied 30 patients with active Crohn’s disease.

“The average Harvey Bradshaw index improved from 14 ± 6.7 to 7 ± 4.7,” the study reported. The Harvey Bradshaw index is one of the indexes used to measure Crohn’s disease activity.

Patients consumed one to three cannabis sativa joints per day, which each contained around 0.5 mg of THC. The CBD values were not reported or noted, although the study noted both cannabinoids have been known to have profound anti-inflammatory effects prior to the study.

Image result for 1 gram joint
Comparing joint sizes. Source: Nevada Says No

0.5 mg in the study seems low or incorrect. Let’s say you roll a 1 gram joint, and the vendor claims 15% THC, which is typical – not overly high and certainly not low. Let’s factor in the fact that the number is probably exaggerated a bit, so we’ll say 10% of absorbable THC.

1000 mg joint * 0.10 THC = 100 mg of THC per joint

100 mg is 200x the amount reported in the study, but luckily we have other studies.

Source: Treatment of Crohn’s disease with cannabis: an observational study. (PMID:21910367)

Study 2

In the next study, patients also consumed cannabis sativa. This was placebo-controlled. A decreased Crohn’s Disease Activity Score of >100 was observed in 10 of 11 subjects in the cannabis group (90%; from 330 ± 105 to 152 ± 109) and 4 of 10 in the placebo group (40%; from 373 ± 94 to 306 ± 143; P = .028).

I think it’s worth noting that 40% of people on placebo thought the effects were beneficial, as CDAI is based on a survey. Although not necessarily proper to do so, we could subtract 40% provided from the placebo group from the cannabis group (90%) and conclude it’s actually 50% effective.

In this study, patients took the cannabis via cigarette form, twice daily, with each joint containing 115 mg of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That’s a 1 gram joint with a medium level of THC content.

Study 3

In another study that focused in CBD, researchers found that after offering low dosages of CBD (10 mg, twice daily) to Crohn’s disease patients, CBD was safe to consume but did not offer any beneficial effects. This was concluded to be either because CBD has no effect on Crohn’s disease activity or because the dosage was too low.

Bonus Note

“Its benefit may be simply derived from pain relief and not from improvement in inflammation” said one study.

Conclusions

  • Sativa is generally used in medicinal purposes over indica
  • Smoking 2-3 joints per day has proven beneficial in many cases
  • Smoking is not the only form that works – vaporizing via a bong and digesting via edibles is also effective
  • Cannabis is known to have a placebo effect and may not always help as much as patients believe
  • Researchers have yet not found benefits of CBD

Books on Cannabis and Crohn’s


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