If you have, or know someone who suffers from, Crohn's disease, you know that patients with this decision have a defect in the intestines that allows bacteria to leak into the intestinal tissue causing inflammation and pain. It can also lead to a secondary condition known as Ulcerative Colitis, where the tissue can rupture and bleed.
Current medical knowledge suggests that both of these diseases are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, meaning that people with the genetic pre-disposition for these conditions who are then subjected to the environmental triggers - stress, poor diet, bacterial infections - are likely to develop the actual diseases.
So where does cannabis come in?
Recent research done in the UK has shown that two of the compounds found in marijuana, CBD (cannabidiol) and THC, do interact with intestinal function, lending credence to a lot of anecdotal evidence that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for many inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn's.
The British researchers found that cannabinoids derived from actual plants (as opposed to synthetics), encourage tighter bonds between the cells that form the barrier in the gut that prevents bacterial leakage. This information is new, though it's long been known that cannabis is an anti-inflammatory, which also helps treat the symptoms of Crohn's disease.
In addition to reducing inflammation and helping to regenerate bowel tissue, medical marijuana also helps ease the cramps associated with intestinal irritation and boosts the appetite. While the appetite stimulation qualities of cannabis are known to be vital for cancer and AIDS patients, they're equally important for patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's whose leaky guts prevent the absorption of essential nutrients.
What kinds of marijuana are best for treating bowel conditions? Most patients recommend Indica strains as they have the strongest muscle relaxing effects. Specific strains used to treat these conditions include Auntie Em, Blue Fruit, and Dynamite.