Does Ulcerative Colitis Qualify for Medical Marijuana in Ohio?

Around 1.7 million Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases, which includes both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.  Ulcerative Colitis is the more common of the two conditions, with roughly 1 million Americans having the condition, and 35,000 Ohio residents.  Many people with inflammatory bowel diseases experience a lower quality of life and lower levels of productivity. It can affect wellbeing and relationships. If you’re one of these people, know that you have options and resources for managing your condition.

 

In the United States, cannabis use is legalized state-to-state for the medical treatment of several chronic, debilitating disorders. Luckily, patients in Ohio with ulcerative colitis can now explore the potential of medical marijuana treatment in alleviating their symptoms and improving their overall quality of life.

 

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal disorder specific to the inner lining of the colon. It appears in a continuous pattern, and an estimated 30% of patients who are experiencing remission from the condition will relapse within the next year.

 

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

  • Diarrhea, often accompanied by blood or pus

  • Pain and cramping in the abdomen

  • Rectal pain and bleeding

  • Fatigue

  • Weight loss

  • Inability to defecate regardless of urgency

  • Fever

  • In young children, failure to grow

 

The exact cause if ulcerative colitis is not known, but health researchers believe certain factors can play a role in causing the disorder, including an overactive intestinal immune system, genetic factors and environment. Health providers often suggest certain lifestyle changes to help alleviate the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, such as limiting dairy products, fiber and other potentially problematic foods like spicy foods or alcohol.

 

Traditional treatment modalities for ulcerative colitis typically involve either medications or surgery. The different types of medications include:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs like 5-aminosalicylates and corticosteroids

  • Immunosuppressant drugs like azathioprine and mercaptopurine, cyclosporine, infliximab and vedolizumab

  • Antibiotics, antidiarrheals and pain relievers

 

Not all medications work well for all people, however, and many come with a nasty set of nasty side effects. You’ll have to weigh the risks and benefits of each type, and considering alternative treatments can help you avoid these side effects.

 

Medical Marijuana and Ulcerative Colitis

Medical cannabis has been used medicinally for centuries to treat a broad range of diseases and ailments. The cannabinoids exert their effects on the body by binding with specialized structures on the surface of different cells. These endocannabinoid receptors are present throughout the body but are especially prevalent in the gastrointestinal tract. The symptoms of ulcerative colitis that medical marijuana can help alleviate include:

  • Inflammation

  • Pain

  • Reduced appetite

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Weight loss

 

One study, published in 2016 in the journal Gastroenterology and Hepatology, reported that typical patient motives for using medical marijuana in treating ulcerative colitis include the ineffectiveness of other therapies, fewer side effects and getting to feel a sense of control over their condition. Another study, published in the Journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, found that among 292 survey participants, 16.4% of current and past users of marijuana reported feeling as though marijuana was “very helpful” in relieving their abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea. This suggests that a significant number of patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis, use or have used marijuana for the purposes of symptom control.

 

Before venturing into the field of medical marijuana, you should definitely consult with a health professional if you’re interested in finding out more about how it can help relieve your ulcerative colitis symptoms. Give us a call or send us a message if you’d like to know more about your options.

3 Easy Steps

Step 1

Schedule an appointment with one of our friendly marijuana doctors at any location throughout the State! 

Step 2

Visit our office for your

in-person evaluation with a state-certified medical marijuana doctor.

Step 3

With the doctor's approval, you'll receive your card via email from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.

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