Colitis is a serious condition that affects numerous people all over the world. The intestinal disorder occurs as a result of inflammation in the colon, and there is no known cure for it. Individuals living with colitis use a variety of treatments to try to keep symptoms under control, but many traditional treatments leave something to be desired. Marijuana has been studied as a potential treatment for colitis, and the results have been promising. The chemical compounds in marijuana can help with symptom relief and may even assist in controlling colitis. Understanding colitis and its symptoms, reviewing how marijuana might treat it, and looking at the problems with traditional treatment methods will help you understand how you may be able to treat colitis with marijuana.
What are the Symptoms of Colitis?
Colitis is a term used to describe a medical condition that affects the large intestine or colon – which is where colitis gets its name. The colon  is responsible for removing nutrients and water from the food passed through the digestive system and to form stool. When colitis occurs, the large intestine becomes inflamed, preventing the colon from working properly and causing a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine , colitis could be caused by infections, disorders like inflammatory bowel disease or poor blood flow, and diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease among others. Colitis may be a short-term problem or could be a long-term, recurring issue.
The symptoms of colitis cause gastric pain and discomfort, frequent diarrhea, and can cause issues maintaining a healthy weight. These problems can cause big problems and negatively impact the quality of life for those coping with the problem. Treatment is generally required to decrease the impact of colitis symptoms, which include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody stools
- Dark stool
- Constant urge to pass stool
- Lack of energy
- Weight loss
In addition to the physical symptoms, colitis can have an additional impact on quality of life. With the frequent need to use the restroom, consistent stomach pain, and other symptoms, individuals with colitis may not be able to fully enjoy their lives. Eating out, spending time outdoors without access to a restroom, or normal activities like going to work or cleaning the kitchen may not be possible when colitis symptoms are moderate to severe. It is even possible for colitis symptoms to require hospitalization or surgery, which require extensive downtime. This combined with the physical discomfort make colitis a troublesome disease.
How Marijuana May Treat Intestinal Colitis Symptoms
When cannabis is inhaled or ingested, the chemicals contained in it enter the bloodstream and quickly have an effect on both the brain and the body. The full effects of marijuana are not fully understood due to government restrictions that have slowed research and testing initiatives. What is known, is that marijuana enters the bloodstream and affects the brain and other organs fairly quickly when compared with other drugs. The chemicals found in cannabis affect the body in a variety of ways that can aid in relief from colitis symptoms. According to Healthline , the effects of marijuana include:
- Pain relief – which can help reduce the pain and associated with colitis inflammation
- Settles the stomach – which can make it easier to eat normally and avoid frequent trips to the restroom
- Eases nausea and vomiting – which can make it easier to eat normally
- Increases appetite – which can make it symptom to maintain a healthy weight
- Releases dopamine to improve mood – which can make coping with colitis symptoms easier over time
These effects can all improve colitis symptoms and make dealing with them easier, which improves the quality of life. There have also been links made to other, less researched effects of marijuana that could aid in improving symptoms and even curing colitis. Cannabis works within the brain to control various hormones and chemicals that the body produces naturally. Some of these chemicals control the function of various bodily systems, including the gastrointestinal system. Additionally, marijuana has been shown to work as an anti-inflammatory and research states  it may protect against colonic inflammation. These findings could improve current treatments for colitis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
What Does the Research Say about Cannabis and Colitis Disease Symptoms?
With the legality issues surrounding even medicinal marijuana, a lot remains to be uncovered about its uses, so it is not uncommon for cannabis claims to lack sufficient evidence. The good news is that when it comes to colitis and cannabis, some research has already been completed on the potential benefits and risks. Numerous reports have shown a correlation between marijuana and improvements for colitis sufferers.
- The National Center for Biotechnology Information  published a study that suggests the anti-inflammatory properties of marijuana can be therapeutic for inflammatory bowel disease and colitis-related inflammation. Cannabis was shown to provide relief and improve quality of life for the majority of individuals in the study.
- Another study reported on by , indicated that inhaled cannabis improved the quality of life and amount of suffering for some individuals suffering from long-term colitis conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The same study showed a reduction in diarrhea and aided study participants with gaining and maintaining weight.
- Additionally, the British Pharmacological Society  reported that the chemicals found in marijuana show promise in restoring normal gut function, which is essential for improvements in symptoms and suffering for those with colitis.
Studies and reports like these show a clear connection between improvements in colitis symptoms and cannabis use, including decreased diarrhea, decreased discomfort, improvements in pain levels, and improvements in overall condition. Marijuana works in several ways to improve the symptoms of colitis. It works within the body to restore balance and promote healthy intestinal function. It also aids in reducing colitis symptoms like pain and inflammation. Finally, it can improve mood, making coping with colitis easier for some people.
Traditional Colitis Symptoms Treatment
There are currently a variety of traditional treatments available for symtoms of colitis. These methods may be used on a short or long-term basis to improve symptoms, prevent symptoms, and extend periods of remission. According to the , the most common treatment methods used for colitis include medications, diet and nutrition changes, and surgical intervention. While these methods can make a living with colitis easier, there is no one method that can cure the disease or provide long-term, consistent remission. Not only do traditional methods fail to eliminate colitis symptoms, but many of these treatment methods also have side effects that may be as difficult to deal with as the disease.
Side effects of common colitis treatments include:
- Antidiarrheal medications – can cause dizziness, constipation, stomach pain, and bloating
- Aminosalicylates – can cause a headache, nausea, lack of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, and cramps
- Steroids – can cause vision problems, high blood pressure, and insomnia
- Immunomodulators – a headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
As you can see, these side effects can actually contribute to the symptoms a colitis patient is already experiencing. This leaves much to be desired in terms of treatments for those that have some form of colitis. In addition to the drawbacks of prescription medications, another common treatment for moderate to severe colitis is surgery. Surgical intervention puts patients at a high risk for complications and can be extremely disruptive, requiring downtime, multiple appointments, and increasing the individual’s pain level while they are recovering. Marijuana may reduce the need for surgical intervention by effectively controlling inflammation and pain, which could be a major improvement for those with moderate or severe colitis.
Why People with Colitis Choose Marijuana
More and more colitis patients are choosing to use marijuana in conjunction with their current treatments for colitis. Others are looking to cannabis as a replacement. The reason so many are choosing marijuana is simple. Marijuana can improve colitis symptoms, prevent symptoms, and may aid in keeping the disease in remission longer than other treatment methods. However, the biggest reason colitis sufferers are looking to cannabis is the improvement in the quality of life. When you couple improved mood with a reduction in pain and inflammation, it is a perfect combination for many. Although marijuana may not completely replace traditional medications, it has been proven to help colitis sufferers and may offer the groundwork for a colitis cure in the future.
Colitis is a medical condition that causes pain, discomfort, bowel issues, and can negatively impact the quality of life. Although current treatments are available to help patients with symptoms like diarrhea, inflammation, and pain, there is no cure for colitis. Additionally, traditional treatments may cause side effects or in some cases can make symptoms worse. Using marijuana as a treatment for colitis offers those suffering from the disease some hope. Cannabis eliminates many of the side effects of other treatments, and numerous research studies have shown its effectiveness in controlling inflammation, improving gut function, reducing pain, and generally improving the quality of life for those with colitis. The promise of marijuana as a treatment for colitis has resulted in numerous individuals using it in combination with traditional treatments. With further research, marijuana may be even more successful at aiding traditional treatments and could help cure colitis.
1. Web-site ccfa.org, an article “Colitis treatment options”
2. Web-site cnn.com, an article “Marijuana medical advances”
3. Web-site webmd.com, an article “Disjunctive disorders”
4. Web-site healthing.com, an article “Marijuana effects on body”
5. Web-site medlineplus.com, an article about colitis
6. Web-site ncbi.nlm.gov
7. Web-site sciencedaily.com
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