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How cannabis medicines can help Crohn’s and colitis patients

Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week runs from 1-7 December.

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Crohns and colitis: Pat
It is estimated that Crohn's and colitis affect one in every 650 people in the UK. 

To mark the beginning of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week, Integro Clinics explores how medical cannabis can help manage the symptoms of these conditions.

It is estimated that Crohn’s and colitis affect one in every 650 people in the UK. 

National Awareness Week for these conditions takes place in the UK 1 – 7 December 2021 and it is an excellent opportunity to highlight that there are new cannabis medicines available, which some patients find helpful in managing their symptoms.

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to symptoms including, abdominal pain and cramps, severe diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.

Crohn's and colitis graphic

It can affect people of all ages, with the symptoms generally starting in childhood or early adulthood. Ulcerative colitis is another long-term IBD condition, where the colon and rectum become inflamed. The colon is the large intestine (bowel), and the rectum is the end of the bowel where stools are stored. Small ulcers can develop on the colon’s lining and can bleed and produce pus.

Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people. This inflammation often spreads into the deeper layers of the bowel. It is a condition that can be both painful and debilitating and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications. It can also be very depressing and emotionally overwhelming for the sufferer.

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown. It’s thought several things could play a role, including:

  • your genes – you’re more likely to get it if a close family member has it
  • a problem with the immune system (the body’s defence against infection) that causes it to attack the digestive system
  • smoking
  • a previous stomach bug
  • an abnormal balance of gut bacteria

While there’s no known cure for Crohn’s disease and colitis, therapies can reduce their signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission and healing of inflammation. With treatment, many people are able to function well. Traditional medicines used to reduce inflammation in the digestive system are usually steroid tablets or in very severe cases sometimes surgery to remove a part of the intestine is undertaken. 

At Integro Clinics we have seen considerable success in treating Crohn’s and colitis patients’ symptoms using CBM’s (Cannabis-Based Medicines).

CBM’s are medicines derived from cannabis that are used to treat medical conditions. CBM’s contain cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant, including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), or a combination of THC and CBD.

Taking CBM’s either via oil (generally a mix of CBD and THC) or by vaping flower allows the human endocannabinoid system to re-balance and the effect of the active ingredients is found to encourage appetite and help with the pain of abdominal spasms. It also can help with sleep and insomnia, which can become highly disrupted if you are in frequent pain.

Once the patient is sleeping better, eating more and pain is eased, their general well-being will be increased. At Integro Clinics we believe that we can help patients achieve this using CBM’s. Living with Crohn’s disease can be difficult at times, but if symptoms are well controlled, you can live a normal life with the condition.  

“At Integro we have found that cannabis medicines have been very helpful for some of our patients with Crohn’s disease,” commented Sophie Hayes, clinical Nurse at Integro.

“They appear to be quite effective in the management of symptoms such as appetite stimulation, nausea, pain management and sleep, as well as low mood and anxiety often associated with the condition.  We find they are often more suitable medications than opioid painkillers that can have some significant negative effects on gut motility in these patients.”

Alex, a patient living with Crohn’s added: “Consuming cannabis, particularly inhaled THC medicines, greatly reduces my pain. It also means fewer toilet trips and much better sleep. It practically eliminates my nausea and gives me the appetite to eat well and keep my weight up. When I started taking cannabis it was illegal and it was difficult to find what worked best for me and to have a consistent supply. It’s fantastic that we now have legal access to prescribed cannabis medicines with the guidance and expertise of doctors like those at Integro.”

Integro Medical Clinics Ltd always recommends remaining under the care and treatment of your GP and specialist for your condition while using cannabis-based medicines. The Integro clinical team would always prefer to work in collaboration with them.

If you would like further information or to speak to Dr Anthony Ordman please contact Integro Clinics:   

Website: www.integroclinics.com 

Email: Contact@integroclinics.com 

Twitter: @clinicsintegro 

 

Support is available from your care team and organisations like Crohn’s and Colitis UK if you need it.

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email sarah@prohibitionpartners.com / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag

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