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  • Alec Chenkus

Medical Cannabis for Crohn's Disease

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

Medical Cannabis for Crohn's Disease in Ohio
Medical Cannabis is Available as a Treatment Option for Crohn's Disease in Ohio

With the passage of House Bill 523, Ohio legalized medical cannabis treatment for a range of medical conditions. Included in the list of 21 qualifying medical conditions in Ohio was Crohn's Disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the digestive tract and, in serious cases, can cause life-threatening complications. Currently, there are no pharmaceutical medicines or medical treatments that offer a cure for Crohn's disease. While immunosuppressants and steroids can be used to slow its progression, these treatment options will not entirely prevent flare-ups and symptoms.

While medical cannabis has become a popular treatment option for patients living with Crohn's across the country, it is important to note that cannabis is not a cure-all treatment option; rather, patients utilize medical cannabis treatment to prevent flare-ups and provide symptomatic relief. With over 800,000 people living with Crohn's disease in the United States, it is estimated that roughly 175,000 individuals are living with this condition in the State of Ohio.

Cannabis Research on Crohn's Disease

At this time, there are no current studies that show conclusive evidence that cannabis is successful at treating the underlying symptoms of Crohn's. This is mainly due to the federal restrictions prohibiting federal cannabis research as cannabis is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the DEA. However, according to Dr. Dustin Sulak, there are a number of animal models that show a clear, positive correlation.

Most recently, Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather, a medical cannabis physician from California, is involved in a 500-person study on Crohn's at the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv that may reach as many as 1,000 participants. Final results are not yet ready, yet Dr. Hergenrather had a positive outlook on his observations thus far according to Leafly. Dr. Hergenrather further expanded that about half of the patients treating their condition with cannabis seem to be able to eliminate the use of conventional medicines.

Dr. Sulak has also seen encouraging results with his patients:

"We've treated maybe 400 people with inflammatory bowel disease, [and] we've seen a whole range. We've seen people who are on biologic drugs that have been able to achieve better control when adding cannabis, and then over time get off those drugs and retain their remission. We see people who just don't tolerate those drugs because they have a lot of side effects and they come here for alternatives, and cannabis works well."

Both Dr. Sulak and Dr. Hergenrather state that the success of medical cannabis treatment can range between patients, although it is generally suggested to utilize CBD-rich and THCA-rich cannabis products.

Lane Britnell Treats Crohn's with Cannabis
Lane Britnell, former national champion vaulter. Left is Britnell after a surgery he had complications related for Crohn's disease. Right is Britnell after months of using cannabis. [Source: The Star Phoenix]

Patient Testimonial

Angela Bacca is a journalist with over 12 years of experience in cannabis media, business, research, and policy advocacy that has been living with Crohn's disease for 15 years. Bacca warns that, although cannabis is a wonderful treatment option, she experienced negative consequences from believing the only thing she needed to treat her Crohn's disease was medical cannabis. Rather, most patients using medical cannabis to treat Crohn's disease will use cannabis in conjunction with conventional treatment options and pharmaceuticals to boost the efficacy of both the pharmaceutical and cannabis.

"All health should be about eliminating the conditions that cause the disease state as well as treating it, Bacca told Leafly. "No, cannabis doesn't cure [Crohn's], but it makes a lot of symptoms go away."

How Can Cannabis Help Patients Living with Crohn's

Medical cannabis can be most helpful for patients looking to treat symptoms associated with Crohn's and, ultimately, prevent flare-ups. According to Leafly, cannabis can relieve symptoms of nausea and digestive issues, it can stimulate appetite to prevent weight loss, it can relieve pain, and can assist in getting better sleep to help fatigue. Cannabis has also been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory treatment, which acts on Crohn's at the most base level. A small - but promising - study on Crohn's patients found that participants needed less surgery and reduced bowel movements while using cannabis, as well as drastically reduced need for other medicines.

Further research is required in order to draw any conclusive evidence about the risk and benefits associated with treating Crohn's disease with medical cannabis; however, the preliminary research thus far, and patient testimonials, share an optimistic picture for those living with this disease.

Common Cannabis Strains for the Treatment of Crohn's Disease and Associated Symptom(s)

Gelato (Thin Mint GSC x Sherbert) | Caryophyllene, Limonene, Humulene

GSC (Durban Poison x OG Kush) | Caryophyllene, Limonene, Humulene

Wedding Cake (Cherry Pie x GSC) | Limonene, Caryophyllene, Myrcene

Original Glue a.k.a GG#4 (Chem's Sister x Sour Dubble) | Caryophyllene, Limonene, Myrcene

Sherbert (Pink Panties x GSC) | Caryophyllene, Limonene, Humulene

Wedding Cake Cannabis Strain
Wedding Cake cultivated by Fire Rock Farms (Woodward Fine Cannabis)

Northern Lights (Thai x Afghani) | Myrcene, Caryophyllene, Limonene

Zkittlez (Grapefruit x Grape Ape) | Caryophyllene, Humulene, Limonene

Do-Si-Dos (Face Off OG x OGKB) | Limonene, Caryophyllene, Linalool

Blueberry (Purple Thai x Thai) | Myrcene, Caryophyllene, Pinene

Mendo Breath (Mendo Montage x OGKB) | Caryophyllene, Limonene, Myrcene

Blueberry Cannabis Strain
Blueberry cultivated by Ancient Roots prior to hand-trimming

Harlequin (Swiss Sativa x Thai) | Myrcene, Pinene, Caryophyllene

Amnesia Haze (South Asian Indica x Cambodian) | Myrcene, Caryophyllene, Limonene

Harlequin Cannabis Strain
Harlequin is currently being cultivated by Cresco Labs

Based on the terpene profiles of the suggested strains, it would appear that the primary terpenes that should be utilized for Crohn's treatment include caryophyllene, limonene, myrcene, and humulene. Furthermore, the cannabinoids THC, CBD, and CBG appear promising for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases.

To learn more about the best cannabis strains for chronic pain treatment, click here.


Ohio Marijuana Card Logo
Ohio Marijuana Card

If you are an Ohioan suffering from one of these 21 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana, which includes both THC and CBD products.

Click here to learn more about what Ohio Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at (866-457-5559) and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment.

Also be sure to follow us on social media for regular updates and breaking news announcements on Facebook & Instagram!


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