There are myths and misconceptions everywhere regarding treatment of ulcerative colitis with medical marijuana.
The surge in popularity of marijuana, CBD and all things cannabis has created a glut of low-quality information that’s written more for Google than for people who need help with their healing.
A major goal of this blog is to change that and provide real and actionable information for people with ulcerative colitis (UC) and other chronic health problems.
These are the 10 myths about healing ulcerative colitis with medical marijuana that I’ve heard online over and over.
After reading this post, you’ll have a solid basis for navigating the sea of information and misinformation out there online.
Note: If you have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, you’ll want to check out my two epic blog posts Healing Ulcerative Colitis Naturally – The Principal Guide and Medical Marijuana for Ulcerative Colitis – The Principal Guide. These two posts will give anyone with inflammatory bowel disease a HUGE head start on healing. They’ll teach you everything I’ve learned in the past 15 years of healing ulcerative colitis naturally – and successfully – myself.
Keep reading to learn The 10 Myths About Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Ulcerative Colitis…
Myth 1 – Diet Doesn’t Matter
Whether it’s in the medical mainstream or even the majority of cannabis culture, there’s a pervasive myth that ulcerative colitis isn’t related to diet and that what you eat doesn’t really matter once you have UC.
I’ve even heard a number of doctors and medical sites recommend “junk food” and “fried foods” because they’re “calorically dense” and people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) need the calories to gain back weight they’ve lost due to all the bloody diarrhea, dehydration and resulting malnutrition.
This is insane.
I’ve written an entire article on just the basics of eating for managing and healing UC.
Food, health and healing becomes quite the “rabbit hole” when we get into it seriously. And, we have to get into it seriously if we want to heal serious diseases like UC and Crohn’s disease.
If you’re using medical marijuana, you’re wasting at least some of it’s great healing power by re-inflaming the gut with bad food. This is in addition to triggering the immune system on a system-wide level.
The great healing I’ve achieved over the past 15 years was due to just food and lifestyle for the first 10 years.
The cannabis came in much later.
I’m in year 6 of medical marijuana as I write this, and I’d say it’s only the last 3 years that my health and healing really started to take off from the marijuana.
Diet is the foundation of everything when you decide to take responsibility for your own health and healing after an inflammatory bowel disease diagnosis.
Marijuana or no marijuana, diet is the most important factor in healing ulcerative colitis naturally.
Get food wrong and nothing else will work optimally.
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Myth 2 – Lifestyle Doesn’t Matter
Lifestyle is the broadest category in my three pillars of healing UC naturally:
- Medical Marijuana
(If you’d like to see how everything fits together in healing ulcerative colitis naturally, read my in-depth and epic post Healing Ulcerative Colitis Naturally – The Principal Guide.
Though “Lifestyle” could actually include food and cannabis, I believe it’s more instructive and easier to visualize like this.
You have your food practice, your medical marijuana practice and then your remaining lifestyle practices.
Healthy Lifestyle Practices for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease
Lifestyle is a huge area of exploration. It becomes a lifelong journey, just like the food.
We live in a modern world that is, essentially, alien to our ancient, hunter-gatherer physiology.
There are many “normal” things in modern life that are detrimental to our health and healing.
Some of the basic lifestyle practices to think about in a healing program for UC are:
- Daily Yoga
- Daily Meditation
- Limit Digital Stimulation
- Limit Social Media and Email
- Develop a Healthy Sleep Routine and Sleep Well Regularly
- A Good Minimalist Fitness Routine that’s Age and Health-Appropriate
- Self-Development and Self-Improvement Reading and Courses
- Create Healthy Boundaries for Yourself
- Evaluate Relationships and Friendships
- Consider Work, Career and Purpose
- Consider Dedicated Trauma Release Courses
These are the basics. I guess they aren’t very basic are they?
Each is its own long-term area of study. Note that everything above is a practice that produces tiny results incrementally over time.
Every one of the above bullets will significantly affect the trajectory of inflammatory bowel disease over the patient’s lifetime, in my opinion. These are not obvious factors and they certainly don’t get talked about much relative to UC and Crohn’s.
Myth 3 – Medical Marijuana Is Only a Symptom-Reliever and Palliative
This goes along with the myth that UC is incurable in general. If it’s incurable, then medical cannabis can make you feel a little better while you don’t feel very well at all, much of the time. Like when cannabis is used to make chemo a little more bearable for cancer patients.
Medical marijuana can be used to make us feel better during a flare-up and ease our symptoms.
But, the real magic of using marijuana as medicine is when we experience its powerful anti-inflammatory effects over time.
I’ve personally found marijuana – high-THC marijuana in particular – to be a very powerful anti-inflammatory with minimal side-effects.
Medical marijuana is more than a symptom reliever. It’s a powerful long-term healing agent when the right lifestyle and eating conditions are met.
Myth 4 – THC is of Less Medicinal Value Than CBD
There’s a somewhat simplistic idea in the popular media that considers THC to be the intoxicating compound in cannabis and CBD to be the healing or medicinal one.
THC, bad. CBD, good. Hulk smash.
This is a highly oversimplified way of looking at things and, in my personal opinion, it’s something of a holdover from the old “Just Say ‘No’ to Drugs” nonsense from the 80’s.
It’s still hard for some people to accept that straight-up THC is actually good for humans.
Decades of propaganda and demonization of marijuana have taken a toll. Still being a Federal Schedule I substance doesn’t help either.
THC and CBD
According to Martin Lee, a leading expert on CBD, THC and CBD used to be present in marijuana plants in a roughly 1:1 ratio.
During the 60’s and 70’s, cannabis growers in Northern California bred strains selectively to increase THC and create the “perfect” high.
Non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD were mostly unknown and quite uninteresting due to their non-psychoactive nature.
How CBD Medicine was Born
Over the last 10 years, growers began to look seriously at breeding high-CBD strains of medical cannabis. Much of this work was fueled by growing awareness that CBD could calm seizures in children with Dravet syndrome without getting them high.
A grower in Colorado successfully bred a high-CBD, low-THC marijuana strain and named it “Charlotte’s Web” in honor of Charlotte Figi. Little Charlotte later became somewhat of a “poster child” for medical cannabis and CBD when she and her family were featured in the CNN documentary “Weed,” hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
The documentary was overwhelmingly pro-cannabis and Dr. Gupta became a strong and outspoken proponent of medical cannabis during his involvement with that series.
Both CBD and THC are medicine. Both are powerfully anti-inflammatory.
Myth 5 – There are Specific Strains that are Better Than Others
This one might be quasi-true. There are probably some strains that have a bit more of one terpene or another that’s anti-inflammatory. If you got enough of it over time, it could be beneficial, I suppose.
I think the idea of “strain selection” is overblown and really a waste of time in most cases.
The two things to consider with medical marijuana are:
- THC and CBD content by percent
- Classification of the Plant
Think about marijuana in four broad categories:
Those categories above will have the most discernable differences in the affects a user will feel. Once in a while, there may be a strain that we like “better” for one reason or another. But some of this, I suspect, is that it’s just a different strain and we’ve developed a tolerance to whatever we’ve been using regularly.
Switch strains and the new one feels a lot different or “better” for a little while. Then it’s just pot again too.
The Most Important Factor Is THC in the System Over Time
It’s the “over time” part that matters. It took several years of daily use for me to heal.
I believe my healing was primarily from the THC that was in my system consistently all that time. The long-term anti-inflammatory effects of THC are quite significant.
When we understand that healing UC naturally and with medical marijuana takes on the order of years, we realize the folly of pursuing certain strains or relying on them too heavily.
No natural product like cannabis can be expected to produce an identical crop indefinitely. Marijuana will grow, evolve and change as it always has. Strains will come and go.
Don’t get too attached to particular strains, your favorites will probably be disappearing or changing sooner or later.
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Myth 6 – Any Delivery Method is As Good As Any Other
I primarily smoke medium to high-quality, high-THC marijuana flower.
I use a bong with ice and a Bic lighter. I also grind and weigh everything I smoke. Absolutely precise and efficient, while being as easy and low-tech as possible.
Concentrates, Edibles and Cost
Flower is the lowest cost per gram THC of any marijuana preparation available. Any additional processing raises the price by a factor of 2-3, if not more. Concentrates, tinctures, capsules, edibles. It’s all more per gram of THC than plain old flower. Always.
With concentrates, the idea that you use so much less never seems to pan out in practice. Tolerance increases rapidly with concentrate use and you can waste a lot with equipment problems or inefficient dabbing techniques.
If you’re in a medical-only state like me here in Connecticut, you end up using a lot of your monthly 2.5 ounce allotment toward very little concentrate.
With edibles, you’re not only paying for the processing of the cannabis into concentrate for cooking, you’re also paying for the food and the preparation of it! In my opinion it’s just too much cost for too little medicine.
Vape Pens and Tabletop Vaporizers are Expensive and Prone to Breakage
When we get into electronic vape pens and tabletop vaporizers, the costs go way up. That’s not even counting the inevitable replacements parts and breakage.
I’ve found every cannabis electronic I’ve used to be absolutely fragile.
If I can buy a $40 Streamlight tactical flashlight and use it without problems for years, why can’t anyone make a $200 vape pen that lasts more than a few weeks?
A little rechargeable, electronic vape pen in my pocket sounds great. But that’s never really panned out for me in practice. The real-world convenience never materializes as equipment failure and frustration mount over time.
Someone needs to get vape pens up to EDC quality standards.
The Zen of Simplicity – Smoking Marijuana Flower in a Glass Bong
The low cost of flower combined with the simplicity of a bong and lighter make this a very attractive way to go.
I find the regular pipes and bowls too harsh on my throat and lungs. If you’re smoking regularly, get a bong and use ice and fresh water in it. It’s a major difference in comfort and efficiency.
More stress dealing with my apparatus isn’t going to help my stress-related illness. A backup bong in case my glass one breaks and a pack of lighters is all I need to know I can medicate when I need to.
I keep things simple and minimalist. You can always experiment later when you have your routine solidly established.
Myth 7 – Any Edibles Are “Fair Game” for People with UC
Since I don’t recommend even gluten-free grains in a diet for managing and healing UC naturally, it should be no surprise that I don’t recommend most edibles either.
My main problem with edibles is more with the food it’s made of than the delivery mode itself.
I Do Like Some Edibles
Because of my strong dietary biases toward Paleo and Paleo-AIP, I like clean edibles that are generally a natural product of one kind or another. Cannabis infused organic honey, coconut oil, coconut butter and some infused juices are about it for me.
Basically, cannabis extract that’s just in some kind of wholesome and natural food.
I Think of Capsules as Edibles Too
There’s little difference between marijuana-infused coconut oils like those above from AGL, and a 30mg marijuana capsule that’s using coconut oil as a carrier. Theraplant 30mg THC capsules are shown below.
These are all great options for experimenting with an edible delivery system, at reasonable cost and without anything immune-stimulating for those with UC and Crohn’s.
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Myth 8 – Light, Casual or Inconsistent Use is Fine
Diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can be quite severe. Marijuana is powerful medicine, but that’s with daily dosage starting around 100mg of THC total.
Marijuana’s effects are subtle and take time to become really apparent.
I’d at least approach cannabis medication at 100mg or so per day for inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune diseases of similar severity. That’s 3-4 30mg capsules or 4 or 5 joints a day.
Obviously, this is an intoxicating amount.
Increase even to this point slowly and intelligently and under a doctor or pharmacist’s supervision, obviously.
Keep detailed notes and records, be consistent, change one thing at a time and approach your usage as you would with any other serious medication.
Once we get into medical use of cannabis, we have to approach it seriously and consistently to derive the most benefits from it.
Myth 9 – High Dosage Is Harmful or Not Necessary
Somewhat to my point above, I think consistent use of reasonable dosages of THC are necessary for healing ulcerative colitis naturally.
Of course, we want a minimum effective dose. Sometimes people tell me they don’t feel or see any difference in their IBD with medical marijuana. Many times this is because they haven’t reached their minimum effective dose yet.
THC, CBD and cannabis are pretty benign substances. Marijuana is certainly more benign than things like prednisone. I’ve never used the newer stuff like Entyvio or Humira for UC, but marijuana’s got to have fewer side effects and be more pleasant to use than that stuff.
Once we’re sick enough with an inflammatory bowel disease, I think concerns about food or lifestyle changes being difficult or marijuana being dangerous or untested in whatever way, become irrelevant.
The disease itself, as well as the side effects of the pharmaceutical solutions available make cannabis a very attractive medicine for UC and Crohn’s.
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Myth 10 – Concentrates are the Most Economical Way to Medicate
I don’t know how it became a “thing” in cannabis culture to say that vaping concentrates is the most economical way to medicate, but apparently a lot of people believe it.
Proponents like to cite the need for fewer hits of concentrate vs. flower, the efficiency of vaping and the purity of vaping vs. smoking for lung health.
In practice, concentrates are 2-3 times more expensive than flower. You don’t need to 2-3 times less of it, though. Maybe in theory, but it won’t pan out in practice.
Concentrates also require specialized and expensive equipment of one kind or another. And the electronic stuff always seems to break down.
Some day, I’ve got to have someone who really knows what they’re doing show me how to dab with a rig and a butane torch. If it’s possible to do it well and economically, I’d love to see it. I’m always open to learning new things. I tried. I couldn’t do it.
Concentrates and Monthly Allotments
Concentrates also really eat into your grams per month if you’re in a medical-only state like CT. Here we get 2.5 ounces of flower or flower equivalent per 30 days. When they calculate your concentrate at 3 times the flower, you can spend a lot and run out of gram allotment toward the end of the month pretty easily.
Pens and Electronic Vapes are Expensive and Prone to Breakdown
When pens break down, they need parts. Coils and batteries manly. These break or stop working a lot. No matter how careful you are. This means waiting and it means money.
I used several pens by big-name makers and none were reliable at all. Using them became stressful because they were so unreliable.
I had bought mine mainly to travel with and use when I wasn’t home. The unreliability and broken parts made me stop carrying it within a month or so. It was so unreliable I didn’t even want to use it.
Until someone gets smart and figures out how to make a “bulletproof” vape pen, I’m not interested in them.
One Way I Do Use Concentrate
As a way of bumping up the THC in my flower, I like to use kief and other softer concentrates on top of flower in a regular bong.
I find this the most reliable way to use concentrates. Just as a supplement to my regular flower. Kind of like a Red Eye from Starbucks.
The Truth About Medical Marijuana For Healing Ulcerative Colitis
Medical marijuana is an exceptional treatment for ulcerative colitis. It’s also a soothing palliative for those inevitable days when we don’t feel our best. Even I have one or two of those days every so often and marijuana can be a welcome relief.
Marijuana has been life-changing medicine for me and the exponential growth in medical marijuana’s popularity for UC and Crohn’s backs up my own experience.
The truth is, medical marijuana is a powerful medicine in conjunction with a rigorous food and consciously designed lifestyle program.
Healing ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease is incredibly difficult. It’s a lifelong journey and medical marijuana can be a powerful anti-inflammatory in a holistic program to treat and heal ulcerative colitis naturally.
Are you considering using medical marijuana for ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease? Have you been using it? What are your results and experience so far? What products, strains and preparations have you tried?
Let me and the other readers know about your experiences in the comments!