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What is Crohn’s Disease?
According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition affecting over 780,000 people in the United States alone, characterized by inflammation of various parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Most often the inflammation occurs in the ileum (the lower portion of the small intestine) and the colon. However, inflammation can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, including the:
- Small intestine
- Large intestine (colon)
Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease is an immune response that causes pain, swelling, and redness. It’s a natural response to tissue damage that is meant to ward off pathogens and initiate healing. This response occurs without external causes in Crohn’s.
Crohn’s is an autoimmune condition, meaning that the body’s immune responses inappropriately are directed at its own cells and tissues. This results in chronic, damaging inflammation. When this inflammation is severe enough, it can cause ulcerations and fistulas.
The cause of Crohn’s disease is largely unknown but it is typically genetic and there are no known cures. Symptoms of the disease are as follows:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Bloody stool
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Painful sores on the mouth or anus
- Chronic diarrhea
- Frequent and urgent need to move bowels
How Can CBD Help?!
CBD may reduce the symptoms of Crohn’s disease in several ways. According to a randomised, placebo-controlled study, researchers from Israel led by Dr. Timna Naftali found that when CBD stimulates the CB1 and CB2 receptors these receptors to reduce:
- Visceral pain
- Problematic intestinal motility
- Gastrointestinal secretions
CBD was also found to alleviate inflammation by reducing cytokine release. Cytokines are communication chemicals used by the immune system to mount a response that results in inflammation. However, current studies show that in the case of Crohn’s disease, CBD works mainly on endocannabinoid receptors to reduce symptoms, not necessarily the inflammation itself.
What Does This Mean For You?!
While the results are promising and participants of the study reported a 65% decrease in symptoms, it’s always best to consult a physician before beginning a CBD regimen!