Cannabis & Crohn’s: Part I

Alterative medicine does not promise easy solutions or single protocols in general, and certainly not for something severe as Crohn’s, which is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is a disorder where the body attacks an organ. Sometimes, as in the case of arthritis, the body attacks its joints. With Crohn’s and colitis, the body attacks the intestines. Depending on the location within the intestines and some symptoms designates whether it is Crohn’s or.[1]

I think of Crohn’s as a five-alarm fire. In a five-alarm fire, one station house is not expected to manage it. Instead, several firehouses are enlisted, each with a prescribed duty. Some duties might appear small compared to the other jobs but without them management of the fire would be lessened and perhaps more loss of property and life would result.[2]

Similarly, with an autoimmune disease, many approaches are warranted to achieve the greatest possible good outcome. The first major component is diet. One needs to put out the source of feeding the fire within the gut.Autoimmune Disease & Diet: An Ongoing Odyssey

The second question to consider in a comprehensive treatment plan would be, is there something that can be taken to help the body heal itself? Medicines do not cure the body. Instead, they lessen the negative symptoms, while promoting positive ones to a higher degree so that health can be restored. A major source of public interest and academic research involves the use of cannabis. In this post, I will focus on the oil derived from cannabis which can be labeled as follows: CBD oil, Rick Simpson’s oil, Phoenix Tears, etc… Though the composition of each might vary, the basic premise is similar, deriving the essential oil from the cannabis plant and so concentrate the active components.

A few objections immediately come to mind when discussing cannabis. The first is legality in some states. If it is illegal to ingest cannabis oil in your locality, carefully weigh your options. Consider this post as nothing more than information distilled from open sources.

The second objection is the concern for addiction and as a gateway to more dangerous drugs. I have been told for years from jailers and others in the judicial system, as well as those in the mental health field such as counselors and therapists that they never saw anyone start with cocaine, as a example, it was always marijuana first, followed later by more serious drugs. Of course, not everyone who smokes pot becomes a cokehead. But a wise personal response is to have humility of one’s likehood for becoming addicted, and determine it is better to not even start. ‘Just say No.’ is still good advice.

But I find it curious that many people take quite addictive drugs for surgical procedures and do not become addicted. I asked a doctor about this curiosity, and she pointed out it is generally the purpose of the taking the drug. If one is taking Percocet, an opiate, for pain management for Crohn’s in the hospital, surrounded by loved ones, the chance of addiction is greatly reduced. Human relationships coupled with intention of drug use are the key factors. Cannabis in oil form, with a prescribed dosage taken for an incredibly serious medical condition, is not comparable to rolling joints for a weekend lark.

The third objection, which I think is harder to answer, is how can one tell if the information read is true? This is an epistemological question which every human being must confront each day. It is not limited to the question of cannabis but touches on all decisions. Consider something as mundane as ordering outdoor lights on Amazon. I know a lot of reviews on Amazon have been paid to offer opinions one way or the other. After enough researching and pattern recognition, I make a decision. I have learned to trust my analysis, but I know my analysis it not always correct. I am playing the odds, that it is mostly correct.

The judgment of cannabis’ efficacy is very similar. A lot of spurious claims are made for its healing properties, which I judge, is used to promote its societal acceptance and recreational use. Whether recreational use is a good or bad thing is not the point of the observation but rather, there are some with vested interests making false claims about cannabis and a healthy amount of skepticism is warranted. Honest scientific research coupled with personal anecdotal testimony is the best way to discern the truth. Note it is not only scientific research nor only anecdotal testimony that goes into this decision but both voices are used.

Both voices are needed to arrive at the truth. With sound research, progress can be made with fewer errors. Research is also not an absolute guarantee of certitude. Mistakes can be made, intentional malfeasance is possible, no human endeavor is absolutely trustworthy. Any honest researcher coaches her results with humility and transparency. ‘May’ is one word indicating that the study has a proper deference to its findings. Showing work of other scientists is another indication of confidence.

However another valid input for decision-making, statistically speaking, is when a critical mass of people report the same type of outcome, that in itself, becomes a criteria of proper discernment. The Internet is a marvelous place in the ascertainment of truth, with the proper provisos already mentioned. It allows for the sharing of ideas across geographical and ideological boundaries. It is another tool that can be used in discerning truth.

Finally, personal experience is ultimately the place where we make our decisions. All the studies and online reviews do not take the place of loved ones sharing their experience. When we compare that with with what we have learned elsewhere, and then we set out on an n=1 experiment, with ourselves being the 1. It is critical to have objective markers, perhaps a daily log to track results, a set of criteria for which to gauge progress, and a timeline in mind. This is the scientific method applied individually. Let us consider some academic studies and personal testimonies of those who took cannabis oil so as to indicate a possible path for healing.

To be continued…

            [1]https://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/crohns-colitis-difference#1 accessed May, 21, 2018

                  [2]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple-alarm_fire accessed May 21, 2018