Crohn’s disease: With CBD to a better quality of life

Interview with a cannabis patient

Cramping, severe abdominal pain and severe diarrhea – typical symptoms of Crohn’s disease (CD). Those affected usually lose a large part of their quality of life. This was also the case for Sonja H. (name changed by the editors). Even after she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and treated for the chronic inflammatory bowel disease with drugs such as cortisone and immunosuppressants, Sonja continued to suffer from severe symptoms that made her everyday life a misery. A resounding success in the treatment came only after Sonja tried the cannabinoid CBD.

Kalapa: How old were you when you were diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease? What were the first complaints and symptoms?

Sonja: I was first diagnosed in 2001 – when I was 33 years old. The first symptoms were blood and white mucus in my stool and I had to go to the bathroom more and more often. My doctor at the time, a naturopath, dismissed it and told me that it would certainly be hemorrhoids or something similar. I kept telling her that the discomfort wasn’t getting better and that it was worrying me. I then talked to my gynecologist and she immediately sent me for a colonoscopy. At first, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Over the years, this developed into Crohn’s disease.

Kalapa: You have tried many drugs over the years, some with very severe side effects. Nevertheless, the standard therapy did not have a sufficient effect on you …

Sonja: I tried all kinds of things – from cortisone to immunosuppressants to alternative medicine, such as Chinese medicine, kinesiology and so on. Some things helped, but nothing sufficiently. Cortisone was still the most effective medicine. The immunosuppressants  had bad side effects – I even had a black skin cancer, which probably came from one of the immunosuppressants. Again and again the inflammation levels rose, whereupon I did not feel well at all – the higher the inflammation level, the more often I had to go to the toilet and then I also had some fever.

Kalapa: How did you learn about cannabis or CBD treatment and when did you first come into contact with it?

Sonja: Iread about CBD repetitively and googled about it – and it just seemed very logical to me that it must help! I then wanted to try CBD oil, but did not dare to simply order something over the Internet, because there is an incredibly large number of products on the net and many certainly of very poor quality. Finally, I came across the Kalapa Clinic in Spain on the recommendation of friends – nowadays, you can also contact Kalapa directly in Germany – got advice there and then ordered a CBD oil.

Kalapa: How has your health changed as a result of CBD?

Sonja: My inflammation level went down relatively quickly and that was immediately noticeable: I had to go to the toilet less and generally felt much better.

Kalapa: How did your doctor react when you first approached him about cannabis or CBD?

Sonja: My doctor was absolutely not averse to supporting me in this. On the contrary, he was very interested in me trying it out, as he had already heard various positive things about therapy with medical cannabis. He was interested in my experiences with this treatment so that he could pass them on to other patients.

Kalapa: In the meantime, you have changed your medication and are now taking a cannabis full extract that contains high doses of CBD and a small amount of THC. For this cannabis medicine, with the support of Kalapa, you have successfully applied for reimbursement from your health insurance company, which is now covering the cost of your treatment. How have you tolerated the change in your medication and what has changed for you as a result?

Sonja: I tolerated the change very well and I am extremely happy that my health insurance approved the treatment. Of course, this is extremely helpful for my wallet and also shows me that the health insurance company has obviously already had good experiences with it, otherwise they would not give permission to cover the costs. I can now see everything even more relaxed, since my health insurance is also behind it!
Kalapa: Do you need any other medications besides the cannabis extract? And how are you today?

Sonja: Sometimes I have to take some cortisone, for example, when things get very stressful. Then my condition worsens a bit, but with the cannabis extract I get that under control again relatively quickly. I’m doing quite well today – unbelievably my inflammation levels have gone down so much since I’ve had counseling and am taking the CBD oil and cannabis extract! I had Corona at the beginning of March, which also triggered a small flare. But with the cannabis extract I got that back under control quite well.  

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease (CD), like ulcerative colitis, is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and can occur throughout the digestive tract – from the mouth to the rectum. Most often, however, the small intestine and colon are affected. Typically, chronic diarrhea occurs, which, unlike ulcerative colitis, is usually bloodless and without mucus. In addition, MC often results in mucosal changes such as strictures, fistulas, and abscesses.

The disease usually breaks out between the ages of 15 and 35. Crohn’s disease progresses in relapses, so that many patients have no symptoms at times. Since there is currently no cure for the bowel disease, relapses and flare-ups of inflammation can occur at any time.

About Gesa Riedewald

Gesa Riedewald is the managing director of Kalapa Germany. She has been working as a medical writer on the topic of pharmaceutical cannabis since 2017 and has years of experience in the healthcare sector.

Gesa Riedewald ist die Geschäftsführerin von Kalapa Deutschland. Sie ist bereits seit 2017 als medical writer für das Thema Cannabis als Medizin tätig und besitzt jahrelange Erfahrung im Bereich Healthcare.