What is inflammatory bowel disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of chronic disorders that cause inflammation in the digestive tract. The two most common types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These conditions can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus, but most commonly affect the small intestine and colon.


People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can have a wide range of symptoms, which may include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Diarrhea, which may be bloody
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Urgency to have a bowel movement
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation (less common in IBD than diarrhea)

These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may come and go, or they may be persistent. The type and severity of symptoms can also depend on where and how bad the inflammation is in the digestive tract.

It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to see a doctor if you are experiencing any of them. Only a healthcare professional can accurately diagnose and treat IBD.


The exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is unknown, but it is thought to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors.

  • Genetics: People with a family history of IBD are more likely to develop the condition. Studies have also identified specific genetic mutations that are associated with an increased risk of IBD.
  • Environmental factors: Some research suggests that certain environmental exposures, such as infections, may play a role in the development of IBD. There is also evidence to suggest that the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and a diet high in refined sugars and processed foods may increase the risk of IBD.
  • Immune system: IBD is thought to be caused by an abnormal immune response in the digestive tract. In people with IBD, the immune system mistakenly attacks the cells and tissues of the digestive tract, leading to inflammation and damage.

It’s important to note that IBD is not the same as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a common disorder that affects the large intestine and is not associated with inflammation.


Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is individualized and may include a combination of medications, surgery, and lifestyle changes. The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation, prevent flare-ups, and improve quality of life.

      1. Medications: The type of medication used to treat IBD depends on the type and severity of the condition. Options may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: These medications, such as corticosteroids and aminosalicylates, can help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.
  • Immunomodulators: These drugs, such as azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine, work by altering the immune system to reduce inflammation.
  • Biologics: These are newer medications that are made using biotechnology and are designed to specifically target certain proteins involved in the immune response. Examples include infliximab and adalimumab.
  1. Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged portions of the digestive tract or to repair structural abnormalities.
  1. Lifestyle changes: Making certain lifestyle changes can also help manage IBD and prevent flare-ups. These may include:
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Avoiding trigger foods that may worsen symptoms
  • Getting enough rest and exercise
  • Managing stress
  • Quitting smoking (if applicable)

It’s important to work closely with a healthcare professional to develop a treatment plan that is right for you. Treatment for IBD is often a long-term process and may involve adjusting medications and other therapies over time.


If you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), there are several precautions you can take to manage your condition and prevent flare-ups:

  • Follow your treatment plan: It’s important to take your medications as prescribed and follow any other recommendations from your healthcare provider. This can help reduce inflammation and prevent flare-ups.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet: A diet that is high in fiber and nutrients can help manage IBD symptoms and prevent malnutrition. Avoid trigger foods that may worsen symptoms.
  • Get enough rest: Getting enough sleep and rest can help your body heal and manage symptoms.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help reduce stress, improve sleep, and improve overall health.
  • Manage stress: Chronic stress can worsen IBD symptoms. Try to find ways to manage stress, such as through relaxation techniques or counseling.
  • Quit smoking: If you smoke, quitting can help improve your overall health and reduce the risk of flare-ups.
  • Protect your skin: People with IBD are at increased risk of developing skin problems due to medications or malnutrition. Use a moisturizer, avoid hot water and harsh soaps, and wear protective clothing when outside to help prevent skin irritation.
  • Stay hydrated: Diarrhea and other IBD symptoms can lead to dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

It’s important to work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a plan for managing your IBD and preventing flare-ups.

Can I treat my Inflammatory bowel disease with medical marijuana in New York?

Medical marijuana is legal in the state of New York, and it can be used to treat certain medical conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, it is important to note that the use of medical marijuana is strictly regulated and must be recommended by a licensed healthcare provider.

In order to qualify for medical marijuana treatment in New York, you must have one of the following conditions:

  • Cancer
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord injury with spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Neuropathy
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

If you have IBD and are interested in using medical marijuana to manage your condition, you will need to obtain a medical marijuana card in new york from a licensed healthcare provider and register with the New York State Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. Only then will you be able to purchase medical marijuana products from a registered organization.

It’s important to note that medical marijuana is not a replacement for traditional medical treatment and should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. It is important to work closely with your healthcare provider to determine if medical marijuana is an appropriate treatment option for you.


Even if your condition is not listed in this article, you might still get the medical marijuana card, provided you are recommended by a registered marijuana physician in New York. However, if you are experiencing any life-threatening medical condition or adverse effects of medical marijuana, you should not hesitate to contact the emergency service.

Note: This article’s content is provided for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional legal or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or queries regarding laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult a lawyer, physician, or other licensed practitioner.