Medical Marijuana For Inflammatory Bowel Disease In Tennessee

Does IBD Qualify for Medical Cannabis in Tennessee?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a condition that impacts millions of Americans. According to the Crohn's Colitis Foundation, approximately 70,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. There are currently no known cures for inflammatory bowel disease, however there are new treatments constantly being explored to help alleviate the pain and treat symptoms of IBD. One treatment method that has been used for many years with IBD is cannabis. In Tennessee, inflammatory bowel disease has been approved as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis.

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Medical Marijuana

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How Can Cannabis Help Tennessee Patients With IBD?

There are many receptors throughout the body that interact with cannabis, and some of those reactions occur in the gastrointestinal tract. When these receptors interact with cannabinoids, symptoms such as pain and inflammation can often be relieved. Studies have shown that cannabis use can help reduce inflammation in the intestines, which is a significant driver of IBD itself.

A study performed by the British Journal of Pharmacology showed that rats with colitis suffered much lower rates of inflammation when dosed with THC as opposed to rats that were given a common anti-inflammatory medication. Similar studies in Israel have also shown excellent anti-inflammatory results with cannabis. One study even showed that patients were able to give up their steroid-based therapy thanks to the relief provided by medical cannabis.

More research is still being conducted on the use of medical cannabis in treating IBD, but the results we have now are very promising. In addition to relieving inflammation and pain, this treatment can also help reduce weight loss, fatigue, and increase quality of sleep. As the laws surrounding cannabis change in TN and other states, it will become easier for more research to be done on the impact cannabis has with conditions such as Crohn's Disease and Colitis.

What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD, is a chronic condition that is caused by an inflamed digestive tract. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two most common forms of IBD. This condition leads to symptoms like chronic diarrhea, severe pain in the abdomen, fatigue, weight loss, and much more. 

 

As a result of the discomfort from IBD, it can be challenging for patients to lead a normal life, and many patients with IBD get sick very easily due to a compromised immune system.

 

Treatment options available for IBD are primarily focused on alleviating the symptoms, such as reducing the inflammation that leads to pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids and immunomodulators are often used to treat IBD but can be very stressful on the body, and often include their own list of symptoms and ailments. 

 

Changes in diet are often prescribed to include more water and balanced nutrients, and some IBD patients may also try herbal therapies to keep gut bacteria balanced. These treatments are shown to have no concrete impact on the condition itself, and are prescribed to treat only the symptoms, not the condition of IBD.

Is IBD the Same as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Though the two conditions share some commonalities like intractable pain and chronic stomach pains, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome are different. They are not inherently the same illness, the two ailments are categorized as separate conditions, and IBS does not qualify for medical cannabis in Tennessee.

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