Best Cannabis Strains to Treat Crohn’s Disease
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Updated on August 27, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
More and more states are allowing patients to seek medical marijuana treatments for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s disease. Not only does cannabis treat the cause, gastrointestinal inflammation, but it also targets some of the condition’s most painful symptoms.
If you’re ready to start medicating with medical marijuana, we can help you find strains that target Crohn’s symptoms.
Symptoms Caused by Crohn’s Disease
Before choosing a medical marijuana strain, you need to decide which symptoms of Crohn’s you’d like to treat. Although cannabis can treat many different side effects of the disease, strains are usually designed to target a specific symptom.
Crohn’s disease is caused by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. This directly affects the body’s digestive system. Patients can go through times where symptoms appear to be more severe, called flare-ups. At other times, symptoms will appear to subside and even disappear, or go into remission. Patients shouldn’t think just because their condition is in remission that it’s entirely gone — there’s still no cure for Crohn’s disease.
Common side effects caused by Crohn’s include:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea, with or without blood
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Depression and anxiety
Cannabis Strains to Treat Crohn’s Disease
It’s important for patients to manage their symptoms so they don’t develop more serious complications. Medical marijuana has the benefit of treating many of the symptoms associated with the condition. Other medications may only treat one or two symptoms.
Here are our strain recommendations if you’re looking to use cannabis for Crohn’s disease based on the symptom you’re trying to treat:
- Inflammation. The root-cause of Crohn’s disease is inflammation of the digestive tract. Two active compounds found in marijuana have anti-inflammatory properties: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). These two cannabinoids relieve chronic inflammation and pain caused by inflammation. Studies with Crohn’s patients show that medical marijuana can reduce digestive tract inflammation and allow patients to reach complete remission. Strains used as anti-inflammatories include:
- Purple Urkle (indica)
- Harlequin (sativa)
- Banana Kush (hybrid)
- Tangerine Dream (hybrid)
- Abdominal pain. One of the most common uses for medical marijuana is as a pain reliever, or analgesic. The inflammatory nature of Crohn’s can cause severe abdominal pain. Some patients get addicted to prescription opioids, which are accompanied by dangerous side effects. However, cannabis is a safer, less addictive alternative for pain relief.Certain cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, and cannabis terpenes are known to have analgesic properties. The terpenes found in marijuana create the aroma of the plant, but also contribute to its medicinal benefits.The following strains have been known to have pain-relieving properties. Patients should experiment as every person’s experience with these is slightly different.
- ACDC (hybrid) — high in both CBD and THC
- Blackberry Kush (indica) — high in THC
- Harlequin (sativa) — high CBD content
- Nausea and vomiting. One of the most well-documented benefits of cannabis is for chemotherapy patients who struggle with severe nausea. The plant has an almost miraculous ability to squelch nausea and allow patients to live a fuller life. This ability to alleviate nausea isn’t limited to chemo patients. Other conditions, like Crohn’s disease, can benefit from this.Strains with both CBD and THC have valuable nausea fighting abilities. The plant provides quick relief and eases the stomach of many users. Strains commonly used include:
- OG Kush (hybrid)
- Jack Herer (sativa)
- NYC Diesel (hybrid)
- Berry White (indica)
- Lack of appetite. Many Crohn’s disease patients find it hard to keep food down. Whether it’s nausea, diarrhea or painful inflammation, loss of appetite is a common side effect of the condition. People may joke about pot giving people the “munchies,” but for Crohn’s patients it’s a true medical benefit. Marijuana’s proven ability to induce hunger is just what they need to keep their strength up and fight the disease.The best strains for this include:
- Sonoma Coma (sativa)
- Monster Cookies (indica)
- Maui Bubble Gift (hybrid)
- Anxiety. Because of the chronic and incurable nature of Crohn’s, many patients suffer from severe anxiety. Marijuana can calm even the most anxious patients, giving them a deep sense of peace and allowing them to rest. Some strains high in THC can increase feelings of anxiety, so you may want to consider those with a higher CBD content.Some strains to help with anxiety include:
- Granddaddy Purple (indica)
- Jack Herer (sativa)
- Cannatonic (hybrid)
Before choosing a cannabis product, speak to your marijuana doctor. They can give you product recommendations and advice about the best method of use and dosage.
More and more states are allowing patients to seek medical marijuana treatments for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s disease. Not only does cannabis treat the cause, but it also targets some of the condition’s most painful symptoms. Learn which strains are best for Crohn's disease.
10 cannabis strains to combat Crohn’s Disease and colitis
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are gastrointestinal disorders in a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that can affect any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the rectum, although it may skip certain areas of the intestine, leaving some healthy, while other parts suffer. Ulcerative colitis is a very similar disease in the IBD group of disorders, but it only affects the colon, affecting only the innermost lining of the colon.
The telltale symptoms of Crohn’s disease:
- Persistent diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal pain and cramps
- Urgent need to move bowels
- Sensation of incomplete evacuation or “rectal tenesmus” (Hey, you learned a new word!)
Other signs that are associated with IBD:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of menstrual cycle in women
Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? These are painful, life-altering disorders, which is why Crohn’s disease and colitis are specified as qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in nearly half of all medical marijuana states.
These symptoms can be controlled somewhat through diet, but often cannabis offers some of the best relief for the most severe symptoms—cramps, nausea, loss of appetite, etc.
Without further ado, here are the top strains for your symptoms, according to Leafly reviews:
A fan favorite in Canada, Jean Guy (pronounced “Jawn Gee”) is a sativa-dominant strain known for its high THC content and energizing effects. A great one to start your day cramp-free.
Hog’s Breath is a strain with roots tracing back to Kush landraces. It is known for its potency against pain and anxiety—a good strain to relax after a long work day.
Medicine Man lives up to its name by delivering potent pain relief with high levels of THC. This strain is closely related to the master of the indica jungle–White Rhino.
Hash Plant is known for an abundance of trichomes and a heavy body stone. This strain has a reputation for blissful euphoria, as well as easing pain and inflammation associated with Crohn’s and colitis.
Willie Nelson is named for the Red-Headed Stranger himself. This strain offers a clear-headed, energetic high known to incite creativity, as well as a decent case of the munchies.
Chemo is just as sedative as you might imagine–a heavy body high that’s perfect for chronic pain. Take note: the munchies are strong with this one. If you have stomach cramps or trouble eating, this strain will inspire your appetite.
Lemon Jack is a cross between the famed Jack Herer and Lemon Kush, and offers potent effects. Lemon Jack is a daytime strain almost as strong as a cup of coffee, but without the harsh stomach irritation. It’s recommended for consumers who suffer from fatigue.
Golden Pineapple is as delightful as it sounds. A hybrid that delivers uplifting, creative effects with a delicious fruity taste, it can offer relief from stress and anxiety without causing fatigue.
Confidential Cheese is born of the legendary LA Confidential and Exodus Cheese. It can offer powerful pain relief, as well as relief from insomnia. Great for winding down before bedtime, Confidential Cheese may also subdue painful muscle spasms and cramps.
K2 is named for the world’s second highest mountain peak, which makes sense, as it comes from two of the greats–White Widow and Hindu Kush. K2 is known to increase appetite and calm nausea.
Explore cannabis strains highly rated by Leafly reviewers for Crohn's Disease and colitis symptoms.