Cannabis and colitis
The body naturally produces endocannabinoids, similar to the cannabinoids in marijuana. Endocannabinoids help regulate mood, appetite, pain, GI mobility, memory, emotions, stress, immune function and more. They live throughout the body, such as in the brain, muscles, fat, and—importantly for colitis—the entire GI tract.
THC and CBD have a similar molecular shape as endocannabinoids, so they can “fit into” the same receptors and trigger responses.
Cytokines are proteins in the body that regulate immune and inflammation responses. When the body is under threat from infection, cytokines are produced to send signals for help to other cells. They also help with clotting and spurring the immune system to adapt for future threats, making it stronger.
In patients with colitis or Crohn's disease, there is overproduction of both anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory cytokines, confusing the bowels and causing prolonged inflammation.