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There is a growing body of evidence that medical cannabis can help with several health issues, including gastroenterological conditions such as ulcerative colitis.
However, the various strains of medicinal cannabis have different properties, which make them better suited for different uses. This is why each individual needs to understand the differences between the various products available and how they may be able to help with their circumstances.
In this article, we will explain how medicinal cannabis can help with IBD conditions, according to scientific research. We will also help you to learn how to identify the best cannabis strain to treat ulcerative colitis.
What is Ulcerative Colitis
To understand how medicinal cannabis products can help with ulcerative colitis, we must first understand exactly what the condition is and how it affects people.
Ulcerative colitis is an IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) which manifests as a chronic gastroenterological condition causing inflammation and ulcers in the form of small sores in the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis can develop in persons of any age, though it tends to be more common between the ages of 15 and 30. Symptoms vary between individuals but will usually include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and blood in the stool.
Even today, medical experts are not 100% certain what causes ulcerative colitis. Abnormal reactions in our immune systems, along with our genetic make, are generally considered to play big roles, as well as the environment we live in and the lifestyle we lead.
Research into Cannabis Effects on Ulcerative Colitis
For IBD conditions like ulcerative colitis, much of the medicinal cannabis research conducted so far reports a significant link between the use of cannabis and a reduction in the inflammation that makes the condition so unbearable.
There is also research examining the effects of products like cannabidiol (CBD) oil on IBD conditions, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. While not necessarily helping the conditions go into remission, one cannabis oil study discovered that the participants taking CBD oil reported significant improvements in their quality of life compared with the participants on placebos. As other studies support, this is likely due to the anti-inflammatory reactions of the endocannabinoid system to the cannabinoids in medicinal cannabis products.
Importance of Choosing the Right Strain for Treating Ulcerative Colitis
As the studies have shown, the cannabinoids in products like CBD oil have the potential to help reduce inflammation in some people suffering from IBD conditions like ulcerative colitis. However, some products have higher levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis.
THC is one of the many cannabinoids in cannabis and has its health benefits. It is a terpenoid, a naturally occurring organic chemical found in plants known for their aromatic properties as herbal remedies. However, the psychoactive qualities of THC mean that products containing it are not advisable for everyone.
Understanding Medical Cannabis
There are two main sources of medical cannabis, namely, pharmaceutical cannabis and medicinal-grade herbal cannabis:
Pharmaceutical cannabis can be a natural or synthetic medical-grade product that’s been synthesised to have standardised content with higher levels of THC than found in herbal cannabis. The three main types of pharmaceutical cannabis are Dronabinol and Nabilone, which are synthetic forms of THC, and Nabiximols, which is a 50/50 chemical mix of THC and CBD.
Medicinal-grade herbal cannabis
The medicinal-grade herbal cannabis is produced and processed in legal and controlled conditions to create standardised medical-grade products free of any contaminants. This kind of herbal cannabis usually contains higher levels of CBD and other cannabinoids but lower levels of THC.
Importance of CBD and THC in cannabis strains
It’s important to understand the difference between THC and CBD and how each may help with certain conditions. As previously mentioned, THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis. It has been reported as helping to relieve pain and reduce anxiety, while CBD is the non-psychoactive component which helps to neutralise the stronger effects of THC.
CBD has also been labelled as having ‘no public health risk or abuse potential’ by the World Health Organization. At the same time, the psychoactive properties of THC make it popular with some people but less suitable for others.
The Best Strain for Treating Ulcerative Colitis
Each individual may have differing expectations from a cannabis product and thus the strain it is derived from. But here, we will focus on the anti-inflammatory properties which sufferers of ulcerative colitis are most likely to desire.
Many strains contain this sort of chemical composition to help with inflammation, but we will choose the ACDC strain as the best in this instance as it has a naturally high CBD and low THC content.
ACDC cannabis strain for ulcerative colitis
The ACDC strain is made from a phenotype of cannatonic, which is another strain low in THC and high in CBD. ACDC’s parent strain has often been prescribed to people with inflammatory gut disorders, and ACDC has been honed to enhance cannatonic’s qualities. It is commonly used in the treatment of inflammatory gut disorders, as well as certain neurological conditions like epilepsy. It has also been used to mitigate the side effects of chemotherapy.
Benefits of using ACDC for treating ulcerative colitis
With the same terpene profile as the Cannatonic strain but with even fewer intoxicating effects, ACDC can provide relief from the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders without compromising an active lifestyle.
How to use cannabis for ulcerative colitis
The recommended starting dosage for using medicinal cannabis to treat ulcerative colitis is always very low. You can increase the dosage in small increments until it becomes noticeably effective. This minimises the risk of experiencing any of the side effects mentioned above.
Methods of consumption include edibles to be eaten, herbal products to be vaped, and oils or tinctures, which can be dropped or sprayed under the tongue.
Potential interactions with other medications
Both CBD and THC have the potential to affect how other medications work if taken at or around the same time. If you are taking any other medication, you must discuss this potential interaction with a medical specialist or expert who can inform you of the possible risks.
Ultimately, the different properties of each strain mean every individual will need to decide exactly what they want from their medicinal cannabis treatment. However, to maximise the anti-inflammatory properties with a minimum of psychoactive effects, ACDC is the best strain for ulcerative colitis.