Jun 4, 2016 9:15 AM

Can Medical Marijuana Help Celiac Disease Patients?

The number of people diagnosed with celiac disease is increasing rapidly. Some people think that it is quite easy to follow a gluten-free diet but, in fact, the problem is bigger than it seems to be. Although celiac disease is not a fatal illness, it considerably changes the patient's life, affecting them both physically and mentally.

Celiac disease is a digestive and autoimmune disorder caused by gluten intolerance. Gluten (a special protein that can be found in barley, wheat, and rye) damages the lining of the small intestine causing severe pain and difficulties in absorbing nutrients. Celiac disease can also result in serious complications.

Many patients have to follow a gluten-free diet along with switching to gluten-free detergents, shampoos, shower gels, and cosmetics. That is why such people are usually limited in their actions and choices when visiting cafes and restaurants, shopping, or dining out, which leads to depression and anxiety. So, can medical cannabis provide relief from both physical problems and emotional stress?

In a 2013 study , researchers at the University of Teramo, Italy,discovered that cannabinoid receptors in the intestinal tract were more prevalent in untreated patients with celiac disease than in those patients who had been following a gluten-free diet for over a year. This fact proves the idea that patients can get rid of the painful symptoms more quickly if those receptors are targeted.

Today, doctors often prescribe indica strains of cannabis to patients with celiac disease to reduce their suffering. Indica can help with relaxing muscles and easing stomach pain. Another side effect of the disease is weight loss, but medical marijuana can also help deal with this problem by stimulating appetite. Moreover, the plant has been proven effective in easing anxiety and depression.

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