CBD Oil for Crohn’s: How Can It Help & Is It Safe?

White guy standing up holding his stomach with both hands wearing a charcoal long-sleeve shirt, blue jeans, and a black belt.

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If Crohn’s feels so debilitating that you feel as though you have nowhere left to turn for treatment- did you know CBD is an option?

CBD lowers inflammation and discomfort, so it is a great tool for people with painful gut issues like Crohn’s Disease. In fact, cannabis is reportedly used by 10-20% of surveyed Crohn’s patients to manage symptoms.  

While research in the area is constantly evolving and changing, evidence does suggest that for many, CBD is an effective tool in treating many disorders associated with inflammation. CBD is also known to be a great mood-booster, a sleep aid, and a general resource for improving both mental and physical health alike. So, what exactly is this research, what does it say, and how can it help us better understand how we might approach Crohn’s and similar inflammatory conditions in the future?

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) similar to ulcerative colitis. It is the result of severe inflammation in the digestive tract, and can lead to a host of unpleasant and painful symptoms, such as diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain, mouth sores, weight loss, and fever.

Crohn’s is a chronic disease without a cure. Treatment plans aim to manage symptoms more than they aim to cure the underlying cause, as medical researchers aren’t exactly sure what ultimately causes the inflammation.

It seems to sometimes be linked to immune response, and things like heredity, age, diet, and lifestyle can play a factor in the likelihood that an individual may develop it.

Symptoms may sometimes, with the proper treatment, go into remission for a period of time, but they often come back. The more frequently Crohn’s flare-ups occur, the more likely it is that the sufferer will encounter a severe complication as a result. Over 75% of Crohn’s sufferers will have to undergo surgery at some point, which is obviously a risky and unpleasant prospect to face.

Crohn’s seems to be becoming more and more prevalent, with over 3 million adults in the U.S. currently suffering from it. It seems to be the result of a variety of factors, both environmental and genetic, but this upwards trend indicates that we may need an effective treatment for Crohn’s sooner rather than later.

But the exciting news is: CBD may offer some relief.

What does CBD oil do for Crohn's disease?

CBD oil and CBD products in general can help manage the inflammation (and resulting pain) that commonly afflicts many individuals with Crohn’s. The natural anti-inflammatory nature of CBD makes it a good pain management option, but the benefits of CBD don’t stop there. 

CBD is also a great tool for promoting appetite, relieving mental stress and anguish, and helping promote restful sleep, all of which can indirectly impact a person’s battle with Crohn’s and their general quality of life.

Though research on CBD and how it impacts the digestive tract is still evolving, discussed in more depth later, there is some fact to the assumption that the compound can tackle inflammation in the gut and, as a result, help prevent other unpleasant symptoms.

Even though CBD isn’t really a “cure” for Crohn’s and doesn’t have the ability to fundamentally change the bodily processes that contribute to it, it can be a great resource for managing pain and helping an individual get their life back to what it used to be. 

This is especially true because unlike many other traditional medical treatments and prescriptions, CBD carries a very low risk of side effects (and even if they do appear, they’re likely to be mild). Especially compared to other painkillers, CBD is non-addictive and can be a very safe treatment plan.

Womens hand holding an eyedropper full of CBD oil with one drop falling from the tip.

Is CBD oil good for stomach inflammation?

CBD oil can target inflammation in nearly any part of the body. Some users might find that consuming CBD oil sublingually or orally does a better job than other options when it comes to targeting digestive and stomach discomfort, but there isn’t much evidence to suggest that such a phenomenon is fact.

Still, those experiencing stomach inflammation are likely to notice at least some change after consuming CBD. 

CBD oil is a particularly appealing option for stomach inflammation because it’s versatile, easy to use, and long-lasting. CBD oil consumed orally may take longer to have an effect than sublingual consumption, but regardless, it’s likely to produce pain-relieving effects that can last for several hours.

Both older and new research suggest that there may indeed be real therapeutic benefits to be had from CBD for not just those with Crohn’s, but those dealing with gut or digestive conditions of all sorts.

So, implementing CBD into your routine or using it when pain levels are higher than normal can indeed be an effective way to manage stomach inflammation. 

Keep in mind though that if it isn’t working for you, you’re not necessarily doing anything wrong – different people experience different results, and we still have a long way to go in terms of fully understanding just how CBD works in the body.

Crohn’s Disease and Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids, including CBD, are molecular structures found in cannabis plants that interact with an important part of the body known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is a complex network throughout the body full of receptors to which cannabinoids can bind. These receptors, once activated, influence the way cells communicate and function. This phenomenon is responsible for the effects we associate with CBD.

There are many cannabinoids to consider aside from CBD, but they each bind to specific receptors in the body. As such, cannabinoids that bind to receptors responsible for managing pain and inflammation as well as digestive functions have more potential in terms of medical treatment for Crohn’s.

CBD binds to receptors in both the immune and nervous system, meaning it can manage inflammation and the pain that it causes. This reality means that CBD has the unique ability to impact both body and mind. 

THC, the cannabinoid responsible for creating a psychoactive high, is generally not found in hemp-derived CBD, or exists at such a low level that it doesn’t really produce effects of its own. Still, THC is known to behave similarly and help patients manage symptoms associated with chronic pain. CBD and THC in conjunction is an even more powerful option as the two compounds amplify one another’s effects.

Limited but promising research

A small 2018 study conducted by a team of Israeli medical researchers attempted to figure out the effectiveness of using cannabis products for Crohn’s disease.

Over the course of 2 months, a group of 46 Crohn’s sufferers were given either cannabis oil or a placebo oil to treat their symptoms.

The results were fascinating — over 65% of the patients given cannabis oil went into remission, compared with only 35% of the patients given a placebo.

However…

Wheel chart showing the results of a 2018 study where 65% of patients that took cannabis oil went into remission vs 35% that didn't take cannabis oil.

Without a wide body of research it’s difficult to make any solid claims about CBD’s capacity to treat or alleviate symptoms in sufferers of IBDs.

For one thing, similar studies with CBD isolates (products that are pure CBD and nothing else) had much less promising results than this study, which used an oil that contained 15% CBD and 4% THC.

This result could be for a variety of reasons — one being the Entourage Effect, a potentiating effect that CBD, THC, and other compounds in cannabis can have on one another in order to make the pain-relieving effects of CBD more intense.

However, the ineffectiveness could also mean that maybe other compounds found in cannabis are responsible for feelings of relief for sufferers of IBDs. In other words, CBD and THC may work together to bring Crohn’s relief, rather than CBD working alone.

Additionally, there’s no great proof that CBD is a treatment for the root cause of the symptoms of Crohn’s, only that it can alleviate the pain that comes as a result of it. During the course of the study, it was determined that it wasn’t CBD’s widely reported anti-inflammatory properties that were helping, meaning that it might not have the potential to be the cure for Crohn’s disease. With that being said, even if it’s not a cure, any relief from chronic pain feels like a miracle.

The other good news is that CBD has very little side effects and it is impossible to overdose. That means there is no harm in trying out some small doses of CBD oil for Crohn’s and seeing how they affect you. In the best case scenario, you could have found some wonderful relief.  

Current Research on CBD for Crohn's Disease 2021

More current research on CBD continues to suggest that it may indeed have a lot of potential for treating gut and digestive conditions like Crohn’s. 

As research surrounding CBD has continued, so too has research on the ECS itself and how it works to help the body maintain homeostasis. The ECS is now known to play a vital role in many digestive processes; that means that introducing cannabinoids that can bind to relevant receptors might be an effective way to treat any symptoms related to the ECS, but more trials are needed to confirm this opinion.

One recent study indicates that several weeks of CBD-rich treatment did indeed result in significant clinical improvement in patients with Crohn’s, though it didn’t do much to fundamentally change the body itself. 

Instead, the study suggests that CBD treatment can indeed be effective when it comes to managing pain and making life with Crohn’s bearable and enjoyable. Still, as is the case with most research in this area, professionals recognize that more testing is needed and refrain from making official recommendations.

The future of research, at least for the time being, seems to be focused on discovering whether anecdotal claims surrounding the efficacy of CBD are rooted in fact. 

Many researchers are also interested in further exploring the ECS and how medical professionals might be able to take advantage of it to better treat patients of all kinds.

CBD Oil Dosage for Crohn’s Disease

Before beginning any CBD regimen, speak to your doctor so they can let you know if they believe CBD is right for you, or so that they might provide a suggested dose. You doctor will know the specific drug interactions CBD may have with some of the medications you are being prescribed, as well.

For moderate to severe Crohn’s, consider starting off with anywhere from 40 to 50 mg a day. Test the waters and see if your pain eases up after a week or two of taking this dosage before gradually increasing it by 5-10 mg. Continue doing so until you would like to stop, or until the severity of your pain has been reduced and you feel you don’t have to hike up your dosage anymore.

When looking to treat Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, or another IBD with CBD, consider investing in orally ingested or inhaled CBD. These are fast-acting methods for treating internal pain, and they absorb fully into the bloodstream, unlike topically applied CBD products.

If you’re alright with a bit of THC in your product, too, consider purchasing a full spectrum CBD product in order to benefit most from the pain relieving properties that THC and CBD bring when partnered together.

Conclusion

CBD can have some powerful pain-relieving effects, particularly when paired with THC, so CBD oil for Crohn’s Disease shows a very promising future for Crohn’s treatment.

CBD is an incredibly safe supplement, so it’s a great thing to experiment with in order to test out its effects on you. However, it’s still important to let your doctor know that you are interested in trying out CBD, as it can have drug unwanted interactions at certain doses. Always start off with a low dose and work your way up.

If you’re looking for reputable CBD sellers to treat Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or another chronic illness, check out CBD Facilitator’s CBD directory. We offer a variety of CBD products from a number of high-quality vendors, from pills, edibles, oils, lotions, and more.

Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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