For patients living with inflammatory bowel disease, medical marijuana can potentially provide great relief. This condition is often associated with severe abdominal pain, nausea, frequent bowel movements, fatigue, lack of appetite, and involuntary weight loss that, in some cases, pharmaceutical drugs are unable to control. Many patients have turned to medical marijuana to help treat these gastrointestinal issues and have reported experiences of relief from their symptoms. For this reason, IBD is a qualifying condition in Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program, and research on the use of medical marijuana to treat this condition continues to advance.
Benefits of Using Medical Marijuana for IBD
Marijuana is effective for various medical conditions due to the fact that it can reduce inflammation in the body. Studies have shown that it is effective in reducing chronic inflammation caused by abnormal behavior in the immune system. The cannabinoids found in marijuana (THC and CBD, in particular), have even demonstrated to be successful in reducing the accompanying pain of inflammation.
One of the top benefits of treating IBD with medical marijuana is pain relief. Many people experience abdominal cramping and pain after eating food, as the body struggles to digest what has been consumed. Medical marijuana helps alleviate that pain by relaxing the gut and even the joints (for those who experience the less common side effects of IBD, like joint pain).
A lack of appetite is normal for those who battle with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis — the two variations of IBD. Not only do patients rarely feel hungry, but some even develop a fear of food due to the pain that eating triggers. By consuming medical marijuana before meals, you may experience a feeling of hunger that can allow you to get some nutrients into your body without the severe pain that’s often associated with it. This increase in appetite can also help you fight against involuntary weight loss.
Helps with Fatigue
Living with the symptoms of IBD can cause an extreme lack of energy or fatigue. During times of flare-ups and frequent bowel movements, it can be very hard to get through each day without feeling like you need to take breaks to rest. Certain sativa strains of medical marijuana are known to treat fatigue and support energy levels in the body.
Improves Quality of Sleep
Sleeping through the night can also be a challenge when battling with the symptoms of IBD. At times, abdominal pain can be so severe that it wakes you up multiple times throughout the night; disrupting your sleep. There are certain indica marijuana strains that relax your body and help you experience a better quality of sleep.
Best Methods of Marijuana Consumption
When approaching medical marijuana as a treatment for your condition, it’s recommended that you start off with low dosages. Marijuana, particularly the psychoactive properties of the medicine, affect individuals differently and should always be consumed with caution. Consult with a dispensary pharmacist ay attention to your body’s reaction to the medication, take note of how you feel, and move forward cautiously by only consuming as much as you feel comfortable with.
There are various methods to consume marijuana, such as vaporizing, digesting, and through topical application. For IBD specifically, some methods of consumptions can be more effective and contribute to the relief of different symptoms.
Vaporizing Medical Marijuana
This method of consumption can be best for immediate symptom relief from pain, fatigue, and lack of appetite. The body reacts to the vaporizing of marijuana the quickest but effects from this type of consumption may also wear off faster than others. There are vaporizers that are compatible with concentrates and dry-leaf that vaporize the medicine and administer it throughout the body. This method may work well in providing relief for inflammatory bowel disease.
The process of digesting medical marijuana, through the consumption of capsules or tinctures, is another effective approach to treating symptoms of IBD. This method is slower to take in effect (with edibles, it can take up to two hours) and it can potentially hit much harder than smoking or vaporizing. It’s very important to approach this method with caution and not to over-consume your medication because you feel it working immediately. By ingesting marijuana orally, you can experience benefits for an extended amount of time, and possibly experience more relief as your body attempts to digest regular foods.
Choosing the Right Strain
There are different strains of medical marijuana that provide relief from different symptoms. For example, sativa strains may help with treating fatigue and enhancing your mood while indica strains can help improve your overall quality of sleep. Consulting with a Restore pharmacist or technician on-site can provide you with assistance in finding the proper strains that can best treat your specific needs. It’s recommended that you try marijuana strains with medicinal benefits in the areas of gastrointestinal distress, chronic pain, inflammation, and lack of appetite. There are a variety of products available in different strains that we recommend for you to consider. (Please note: product availability and stock levels are subject to change. The following strains may not be available at the time of your visit. Please check our menu for our updated products.)
Standard Farms Blueberry Vape Cartridge
Blueberry is an indica strain that is great for pain relief and relaxing the body in preparation for sleep. This specific product is a cartridge used for consumption through vaporizing. Blueberry is also known to treat lack of appetite, stress, and depression that can be side effects of IBD.
Ilera Blue Dream Vape Pen
Blue Dream is a hybrid, sativa-dominant strain that helps patients with gastrointestinal distress. It soothes pain and increases appetite while providing uplifting effects that provide balance with feelings of fatigue. This vape pen product is also consumed through vaporizing.
Moxie Super Lemon Haze Live Resin
Live resin is a marijuana concentrate that is consumed via vaporizing or dabbing. It’s one of the most potent, high-end forms of the medication currently available to patients. The Super Lemon Haze strain of live resin can be very efficient in treating lack of appetite and pain. It is a sativa-dominant strain that can also help with feelings of fatigue.