We really shouldn’t be surprised to learn that 1.4 million Americans have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis since both diseases are linked to stress and diet. The typical Western diet is atrocious on a good day, and our stress levels are higher than they have ever been.
While stress and diet are not the only things associated with these diseases, the fact that they are linked should be a good indicator that we need to, at the very least, make changes in these areas.
The typical Western diet is atrocious on a good day, and our stress levels are higher than they have ever been. While stress and diet are not the only things associated with these diseases, the fact that they are linked should be a good indicator that we need to, at the very least, make changes in these areas.
Crohn’s disease is also thought to have an environmental association. We know that the rates of Crohn’s are higher in developed countries, urban areas, and northern climates for instance.
While researchers say none of these things together or alone, are the only causes of the disease, 700,000 Americans still suffer from Crohn’s every year. And the number of people suffering from the disease has increased by a whopping 74 percent in just 12 years, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (1). What’s worse, doctors are essentially at a loss when it comes to this disease, especially since they say there is no cure (2).
One sixteen year old boy disagrees, however. He says that while conventional medicine may not know how to cure Crohn’s disease, nature certainly does. Diagnosed at 11 years old, Coltyn Turner turned to cannabis when conventional medicine failed him—and he has never looked back.
What Is Crohn’s Disease?
Once diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, doctors say you will have it for the rest of your life. This often debilitating condition causes inflammation in your digestive tract, or gut.
What most people don’t know, though, is that Crohn’s disease can actually affect any part of your gastrointestinal tract (GI), which means anywhere, from your mouth to your anus (3).
Most cases, however, occur in the last part of your small intestine and the first part of your large intestine (4).
The symptoms of Crohn’s disease can be horrific in severe cases. This inflammatory disease can cause excruciating pain, depending on what part of the GI tract is affected.
People also experience bloody diarrhea, gut and or mouth ulcers, anemia brought on by extended diarrhea, fevers, fatigue, rectal bleeding and anal fissures, loss of appetite and extreme weight loss.
As the disease progresses, you can also expect to experience arthritis in some cases, as well as skin rashes, inflamed eyes and even liver damage. In children, Crohn’s disease can lead to delayed growth or sexual development.
It can take a while before doctors can make a diagnosis, since Crohn’s is typically diagnosed by ruling out other diseases. So, people often undergo a long series of tests and screenings before they are given an official diagnosis.
Once diagnosed, conventional treatment includes an array of drugs including anti-inflammatory medications such as Humira, corticosteroids (drugs that contain cortisone and steroids), immunosuppressant drugs, which can cause vomiting, nausea, and a weakened immune system, antibiotics and anti-diarrheal medications.
In the US, people with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease that don’t respond to the above medications, are typically prescribed Remicade (5). This drug can cause numerous side effects from rashes, stomach pain, sore throat and sinus infections to liver damage, Lupus and even cancer.
And even after all of these drugs, about 70 percent of Crohn’s patients ultimately need surgery at some point. If you’re lucky enough to only need part of your intestine removed, research shows that inflammation will often come back, typically to a place near the area you had removed.
Because of this, some Crohn’s patients need more than one operation. In fact, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, close to “30 percent of surgical patients will have a flare-up within three years, and 60 percent will have one within 10 years.”
In a worst case scenario, you may need a colectomy, which is the complete removal of your colon in which case you will also need to have a bag attached to your side to collect feces for the remainder of your life.
Any way you look at it, the outcome is not great, something Coltyn knows all too well.