DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Celiac disease can be devastating to those who suffer from it, but evidence suggests that there is a natural plant treatment that can mitigate or even cure the ailment: cannabis.
People who have celiac suffer from autoimmune attacks on their small intestine after eating gluten, which can lead to pain and an inability to absorb nutrients, as well as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and cancer over the long term.
Gluten is ubiquitous in the Western diet and people who take pains to avoid eating it are still likely to consume some by accident on occasion, and even in small amounts gluten can lead to extremely painful and embarrassing episodes. Fortunately, marijuana may be able to help.
A study published in the PLOS One journal in 2013 suggests that cannabis could play a key role in taming the ravages of celiac. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Teramo in Italy, took intestinal biopsies from celiac patients and looked at the cannabinoid receptors in the gut, which play a role in controlling inflammation and dysfunction. The results showed significantly more receptors in people with an active disease than those who had been treating it with at least 12 months of a gluten-free diet, leading the scientists to suggest that the data “points to the therapeutic potential of targeting [cannabinoid receptors] in patients with celiac disease.”