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The number of people living with chronic forms of gut inflammation has more than doubled in the last 20 years or so. Diagnoses of Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and several other conditions are more common than ever before. Even if you don’t have one of these chronic conditions, you may suffer from gut inflammation.

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What foods cause gut inflammation?

Many foods can cause gut inflammation, depending on the individual. Some of the usual culprits include sugar, excessive alcohol, vegetable and seed oils, refined carbohydrates like extra fine flour, and processed meats. By limiting these foods, you can help limit gut inflammation.

That said, many people will still suffer bouts of inflammation in their digestive tracts, while others will live with chronic conditions. Can medical cannabis help?


The Case for Medical Cannabis and Gut Inflammation

In the last two years alone, there’s been a spate of research studies looking at the potential of medical cannabis in the treatment of inflammatory conditions. Among those conditions are gut inflammation, including chronic conditions like Crohn’s disease and colitis, which are forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

What the research has uncovered thus far is promising, although ongoing research will refine the current scientific understanding of how medical marijuana might be able to assist in managing gut inflammation.

Some studies have suggested cannabis has a therapeutic effect on colitis in mice.


How It Might Work

The current theory suggests that the endocannabinoid system plays a key role in moderating gut inflammation. It appears to play a role in moderating two key processes.

The first process is designed to destroy pathogens in the intestinal tract, but it can also cause damage to the intestines themselves. The endocannabinoid system appears to be able to help regulate this process, preventing it from attacking the intestinal tissue and limiting damage.

The second process turns off the inflammation response. In healthy mice, a chemical called an endocannabinoid was responsible for turning off the process. If the chemical wasn’t present, inflammation was allowed to run unchecked.

These findings have yet to be replicated in human beings, but they may explain why some people report feeling better when they use medical cannabis where inflammation is involved.


Cannabis at Work

Cannabis contains cannabinoids, which are very similar to the endocannabinoid chemicals the body naturally produces. If a patient doesn’t have the endocannabinoid substance, then administering medical marijuana could balance the system.

In turn, this would reduce inflammation in the gut and help patients find relief from their symptoms.

There are more than 100 known cannabinoids. CBD and THC are two of the best studied. Both are noted for their role in reducing inflammation in the body. Patients looking to reduce gut inflammation will want to know more about both.


Is It Right for You?

Gut health is likely contributing to many chronic diseases, and in the next 20 years, attacking bacteria in the gut and promoting a healthy gut flora might lead to revolutionary outcomes in brain issues, mental health issues, and other systemic disease.

Is medical cannabis right for you? The answer is that it could be. If you have IBD or another condition connected to gut inflammation, cannabis has the potential to help.

That said, more research is needed to demonstrate that cannabis helps regulate gut inflammation in humans the same way it appears to in mice. More studies about the mechanism for these effects are required as well.

If you struggle to regulate gut inflammation or have a chronic condition, you may be able to better manage your symptoms with medical marijuana. Talk to your doctor about this option today.


why-more-patients-are-turning-to-cannabis-for-pain-relief

Dr. Michael Verbora

Michael earned an MBA from the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business in 2009 and an M.D. from Schulich School of Medicine at Western University in 2013, before entering a Family Practice residency at the University of Toronto. A member of the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids, Doctors for Responsible Access and the Canadian Pain Society, he has completed over 2,000 cannabinoid therapy consultations and has presented many talks in community and hospital settings while serving as student health physician at Seneca College and Medical Director, Canabo Medical Clinic.

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