Cannabis for Ulcerative Colitis – How Does Cannabis Help the Patients Live Better with the Disease?


Ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, i.e., the class of diseases that tends to affect the gastrointestinal tract, is currently affecting more than 1 million individuals in the US alone.

The said condition typically involves inflammation in certain parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Different segments of the rectum and colon are affected by ulcerative colitis, depending on the type.

The symptoms may appear in the periods called “flare-up” and get suppressed during “remission” periods. Currently, there’s no formal cure for the condition; however, certain natural remedies like cannabis can reduce the intensity of the symptoms. It makes it easier for the patients to deal with ulcerative colitis reducing symptoms like nausea, pain, and inflammation.

Here we’ll analyze various aspects of the use of cannabis for ulcerative colitis to address certain factors that explain exactly how cannabis is helpful with the said disease. Stick around to learn more.

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation in your colon and rectum, which leads to the formation of tiny sores, also known as ulcers. The condition generally initiates from the rectum and travels upwards towards the colon. It may or may not affect the entire region.

Ulcers are formed by dead cell linings on the surface. These ulcers may be filled with mucus or pus, causing visible bleeding through your stool. Also, the patients experience cramps and diarrhea. Individuals between the age of 15 to 30 are most likely to get ulcerative colitis. The symptoms may vary from individual to individual.

Symptoms and signs of Ulcerative Colitis:

The symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis aren’t the same for all the patients. They widely vary according to the type of Ulcerative Colitis, i.e., the location of the inflammation. Also, it depends on the intensity of inflammation. Some experts believe that individual factors, too, play a major role in deciding the symptoms.

Also, the same individual may experience different symptoms changing over time. The pattern of these symptoms is more clearly explained in two phases:

  1. Remission phase: The remission period is characterized by no Symptoms at all. Even if the patients experience a few, they are too minimal to be recognized.
  2. Flare-up: This phase brings back the severity of the symptoms.

Following are the most commonly experienced symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis:

  • Pain in the abdominal cavity may vary accordingly.
  • Strange abdominal sounds.
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Fever
  • Pain in the affected parts due to inflammation
  • Malnutrition leads to other symptoms in the body, such as fatigue and weakness.
  • Drastic weight loss due to other symptoms
  • Patients may also find their eyes swollen at times.
  • Mouth sores are common
  • Skin problems
  • Appetite is greatly reduced, which further leads to other symptoms.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

What are the Causes of Ulcerative Colitis?

Medical science isn’t well-acquainted with the causes of Ulcerative Colitis yet. Despite being subjected to several studies, the causes are still not found. Although experts suggested that diet and stress might be the potential causes of Ulcerative Colitis, later on, it was elaborated that these factors do not stand as potential causes. However, they can aggravate the conditions by acting as risk factors. Thus experts believe that the following two factors might be the root cause of Ulcerative Colitis:

  1. Immune system malfunction:

An immune system malfunction is suggested as a possible cause. In an attempt to fight off a harmful virus or bacterium, your body’s immune system malfunctions and ends up attacking your digestive tract.

  1. Family history

Hereditary factors seem to play a significant role as most people with ulcerative colitis have some family history of the disease.

Types of Ulcerative Colitis:

Classifying ulcerative colitis into four distinct types helps the experts study each of them more profoundly. This classification is based on the area affected. Following is a brief account of the types of Ulcerative Colitis.

  • Ulcerative Proctitis:

This kind of Ulcerative Colitis is typically characterized by swelling and inflammation in the rectum. This type affects the area closer to the anus and thus results in rectal bleeding. Rectal bleeding is generally the only symptom in most cases. These symptoms indicate the presence of Ulcerative Proctitis in the patients.

  • Proctosigmoiditis:

Proctosigmoiditis affects the lower part of the colon, known as the sigmoid colon, as well as the rectum. Patients face several painful symptoms such as diarrhea accompanied by blood in the stool, cramps in the abdomen, and pain. Most patients find it hard to move the bowels even when they strongly feel the urge.

  • Left-sided colitis

Affecting parts including the rectum to the sigmoid and descending colon, this type of Ulcerative Colitis causes:

  1. Bloody diarrhea where patients experience blood with diarrhea.
  2. High extent of abdominal pain that generally arises on the left side
  3. An urgent urge to defecate.

This type of disease causes inflammation in this whole region.

  • Pancolitis

This is the worst form of Ulcerative Colitis as it tends to affect the patient’s entire colon. The greater the inflammation, the more painful the symptoms are. This type is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  1. Heavy bleeding through stools
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Severe abdominal cramps
  4. Pain
  5. Fatigue
  6. Drastic Weight loss

Risk factors:

Although ulcerative colitis can affect anyone regardless of gender and most other factors, certain factors make you more vulnerable to developing the condition. The risk factors are as follows:

  1. Age:

You can develop the said condition at any time in your life. Some people get it even after 60; however, surveys reveal that it affects the patients before their 30s in most cases. So if you have crossed your 30s, you’re at a lower risk.

  1. Race

It affects people of all races; however, whites are most likely to get affected. In certain cases, it is observed that Ashkenazi Jewish descents are exposed to even greater risk.

  1. Hereditary factors

Like most other diseases, ulcerative colitis displays a potential link with hereditary factors. If you have a family history of Ulcerative Colitis, you’re more vulnerable to developing the condition.

Cannabis for Ulcerative Colitis: How does it help?

Cannabis is one of the few strongly suggested natural remedies acknowledged for its marvelous healing capacities in various areas of medical care. Experts have constantly been striving to unleash more of the curative wonders of the said plant.

The presence of several cannabinoids makes it fit to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps it play significant roles. It helps it regulate several body mechanisms. The following facts will help you understand exactly how cannabis and ulcerative colitis work.

  • Entering remission period

Although ulcerative colitis isn’t completely curable, sometimes the patients enter a phase known as the remission period, in which the symptoms seem to be suppressed temporarily. The longer the patients stay in this period, the better it is for them. Studies show that cannabis could help the patients enter a remission period and prolong it.

  • Pain management

Cannabis shows a close relationship with pain management for ages. People have been using it to reduce the intensity of pain related to different medical conditions. UC involves mild to severe pain and cramps in the affected region, making cannabis a suitable natural remedy for UC. It can help the patients cope with pain without substantial side effects.

  • Fighting off nausea

Nausea is a secondary symptom caused by the primary ones. This leads to decreased appetite and vomiting and ultimately makes the patients weaker. Cannabinoids can substantially reduce the peristaltic movements in the body, which helps the patients to fight off nausea.

  • Reducing inflammation

Inflammation is the primary symptom of Ulcerative colitis, which ultimately leads to the other symptoms. Experts believe that this inflammation might be a result of abnormal functioning of the immune system. It might be in the rectum or colon or both. Studies believe that cannabis can directly interact with the Endocannabinoid system and the immune system to help it function properly. This ultimately helps reduce inflammation.

Cannabis for Ulcerative Colitis: Research and findings

Subjecting cannabis and Ulcerative colitis to rigorous testing and studies, the experts bring forth several astounding facts. Aligning these set of facts, we can deduce how substantially beneficial cannabis can prove to be. Stick around to learn more:

  • THC and CBD may help induce clinical remission, which ultimately helps the patients live better. [1]
  • The cannabinoids present in cannabis plants prove to be potential antiemetic agents. [2]
  • By interacting with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, cannabis can reduce the pain sensations and your sensitivity to pain. [3]
  • Cannabis is most commonly known to protect you from inflammation by regulating your body’s normal immune system functioning. [4]

Final Thoughts

As by the set of facts discussed about the use of cannabis for ulcerative colitis, we hereby conclude that cannabis may potentially reduce pain, inflammation, nausea, and other excruciating symptoms of the said disease. It not only can help the patients stay in the remission period but also to live better with the disease.



Legal Disclaimer : Medical Cannabis Doctors does not provide medical services or medical advice. This information is for awareness purposes only and is NOT medical advice. Do not self diagnose or prescribe any forms of treatments based on this information or the information on this site. Always consult with a licensed physician in your state for any medical advice, treatments, prescriptions and medical services.

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