Mar 31, 2016 5:36 AM

How can medical marijuana help with… Chronic Pancreatitis?

Definition of Chronic Pancreatitis.

Chronic pancreatitis is a repetitive inflammation of the pancreas - the gland which is an integral part of the digestive tract. Pancreas produces digestive enzymes - substances that help transform food into caloric energy. Without proper enzyme production, the body may experience serious malnutrition and inability to imbibe food intake (especially, fats). As the pancreas is located just below the stomach, common signs of the ailment include abdominal pain, which may irradiate into the back, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. Despite the symptoms directly associated with pancreas inflammation, chronic pancreatitis brings overall body weakness and weight loss, and requires the patient to stick to strict diet.

Pancreatitis is most commonly caused by gallstones in the pancreas. Lack of physical activity, food containing excessive amount of fats, and/or alcohol abuse may cause formation of gallstones. Among other reasons that are not food-related are abdominal trauma, infection, tumor and autoimmune inflammation.

How can medical marijuana help?

Medical marijuana has been thoroughly tested for its anti-inflammatory properties in recent years. Studies show that it may be the alternative reliever for nearly every possible inflammation, including (and especially) those with unknown causes. Doctors in marijuana legal states may prescribe medical marijuana as supportive medication for treatment of chronic pancreatitis. Besides alleviating inflammation, cannabis can also help manage pain outbreaks, if they are not too severe. Research related to cancer-induced pain suggests that medical marijuana can successfully handle mild persisting pain, which is typical for pancreatitis. Furthermore, there is a widely portrayed appetite boosting effect that marijuana may provide. Diarrhea and weight loss are common secondary conditions to chronic pancreatitis, and smoking marijuana would stimulate more frequent food intake, and speed up metabolism, too. In fact, it is suggested by laboratory studies that cannabiniods contained in marijuana may serve as digestive agents, effectively supplementing enzymes that the pancreas is short on producing. So, if it can be legally prescribed, medical marijuana should be considered by doctors as part of pancreatitis treatment.

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