Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic, lifelong, gastroenterological condition where parts of the digestive system become inflamed. It’s a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects roughly 300,000 people in the UK. Although Crohn’s disease can affect people of all ages, the symptoms usually start in childhood or early adulthood.


What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease?

The symptoms vary from person to person, but the most common symptoms include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach aches and cramps
  • Blood in your poo
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

The symptoms can be constant in chronic cases, or they may ebb and wane every few weeks or months. These periods of more intense symptoms are known as flare-ups.


What causes Crohn's disease?

Although the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, experts believe that several things can be linked to the condition. These include:

  • Genetic predilection
  • Problems with the immune system that causes it to attack the digestive system
  • Smoking
  • A previous stomach bug
  • An abnormal balance of gut bacteria

Some people claim that certain diets could contribute to Crohn’s, but experts emphasise that there’s no evidence to suggest this is true.


What treatment options are available for Crohn's disease?

As there’s no known cure for Crohn’s disease, experts have focused on developing treatments to help reduce or control the symptoms and improve quality of life. These treatments include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines in the digestive system, usually steroid tablets
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines to prevent inflammation elsewhere, usually in either tablet or injection form
  • Surgery to remove a small part of the digestive system
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Liquid diet, especially for children and young people
  • Biological medicines

The best form of treatment is usually a combination of treatments from a GP, a specialist nurse, and specialist doctors.

During flare-ups, behavioural and lifestyle changes may also be necessary, such as eating plain, often liquid foods, resting a lot, and avoiding stressful or exerting situations. This can cause significant disruption to daily life and make it difficult to keep up with work, school, or other responsibilities.


How can medical cannabis help with Crohn's disease?

When traditional treatments fail to provide relief for patients with Crohn’s disease, other avenues can become useful, such as medical cannabis. Researchers Timna Naftali, Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider, Iris Dotan, Ephraim Philip Lansky, Fabiana Sklerovsky Benjaminov, and Fred Meir Konikoff worked together on a study, ‘Cannabis induces a clinical response in patients with Crohn’s disease: a prospective placebo-controlled study’. They found that medical cannabis achieved complete remission in 45% of patients and reduction of symptoms in 90% of patients. 

On top of that, the use of medical cannabis was also shown to be useful in weaning patients off the use of steroids to manage symptoms, reducing the side effects from these stronger medications as well.

These results are corroborated by a second study, ‘Treatment of Crohn’s disease with cannabis: an observational study’ from some of the same team, where only two of the eleven patients tested subsequently needed surgery after conducting treatment with medical cannabis. 

The Medical Cannabis Clinics’ team is dedicated to raising awareness about how medical cannabis can help with a range of gastroenterological conditions, including Crohn’s. Your prescription can be tailored to suit your individual circumstances and needs, with ongoing support and adjustments made as necessary.

At The Medical Cannabis Clinics, we offer personalised treatment plans and private care for patients through online video link consultations with our expert specialist doctors, who will guide you through the treatment options available from the clinic.

Appointments start from just £70. Book a private consultation today and one of our expert specialist doctors will be able to offer you targeted advice and treatment plans, unique to your needs and symptoms.

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