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Teen Uses Cannabis to Treat Crohn’s Disease


Teen Uses Cannabis to Treat Crohn’s Disease

Recently, 15-year-old Coltyn Turner testified before the state legislature and rode a bike again for the first time in years. Previously so ill he was confined to a wheelchair caused by the debilitating effects of Crohn’s Disease, over the past year the Colorado Springs teen has used cannabis oil on his path to healing.

“I’d rather be illegally alive than legally dead,” he says.

Coltyn’s mother Wendy describes her family as Colorado refugees. Forced to uproot from Illinois to treat Coltyn with cannabis, the Turners have found a way to put their son’s health first. While they appreciate the welcome in the state that allows Coltyn to utilize cannabis as a medicine, being forced to move has not been easy – especially on the teenager.

“He’s a prisoner in the state of Colorado because of medication,” Wendy says of trips other members of the family take to see relatives and friends back home. “Coltyn can’t go, he can’t go back home, he can’t go see his friends, he can’t go see his family, he is stuck in the state of Colorado…He can’t live a normal life in the place where he grew up and the place where he has six generations of family. It’s just tough.”

After Coltyn nearly drowned at Boy Scout camp in 2011, he developed a bacterial infection that doctors believe triggered his Crohn’s Disease. Once diagnosed with the disorder that affects the gastrointestinal tract, the Turners searched for answers as their son’s health continued to deteriorate. When doctors suggested looking towards holistic remedies, the family turned to cannabis as one possibility.

“We had already been researching [cannabis] because he had been sick for so long and nothing was doing anything right,” Wendy says. “It really can’t hurt anything, the only side effect that it could have, was that it may not work. The decision to go with the cannabis was that there wasn’t any side effects, so we just picked him up and left.”

A 2011 study conducted by a team of researchers at the Institute of Gastroenterology at Tel Aviv University in Israel was the first report on cannabis and Crohn’s Disease. Within the study, 70 percent of participants showed dramatic improvement. In addition, in 2013, the The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America released a statement, calling for additional research.

Families like the Turners don’t have the time to wait for such research to be conducted. The decision to treat Coltyn with cannabis was addressed at a family meeting with his brother and sister, then 15 and 11.

“We sat them all down and said ‘this is what we’re going to do, we’re going to try this cannabis and what cannabis is, is marijuana,” Wendy said, explaining that the kids didn’t care what the treatment was, only that Coltyn could be healthy.

Coltyn and his father Tommy left for Colorado a month later.

“We’re probably two of the biggest hypocrites, when it comes to marijuana use, that you’d ever meet because we were so against it when we were in Illinois,” Wendy says. “We never really believed that it was a bad substance, we always just believed that it was illegal and if you get caught with it, you get in trouble. We were a new family, we didn’t want anything to happen to our children and we own a gym full of little bitty gymnasts and we wanted to be the right people and do the right thing. We were just abiding by the law.”

When the Turners researched cannabis and how it might help they made the difficult decision to send Coltyn and his father four states away for treatment.

“I knew in my heart that this was the right thing to do,” Wendy says. “You would do anything for your kid.”

The gamble paid off. Coltyn started his treatment with cannabis through the state’s medical marijuana program in March and by July was climbing Blue Mountain.

“That was amazing to me I was so happy for him,” Wendy says as she begins to cry. “It’s difficult, just even thinking about it. It’s amazing.”

Coltyn describes his experience in a similar way.

“It’s great because I can finally do stuff that I wasn’t able to a long time ago, like I can finally ride my bike after three or four years, shovel snow, hike mountains and it’s just amazing,” he says.

While they still have the support of their community and family back home, the Turners are also building a new support group of fellow cannabis refugees in Colorado Springs. They frequently host families visiting Colorado from non-medical states who are also seeking answers for their children’s health issues with cannabis.

“It’s had a larger positive effect on me than any other pharmaceuticals have and the pharmaceuticals all they did was make it worse,” Coltyn says.

While he’s not one for many words Coltyn has made a video that demonstrates his healing and shows the cannabis he takes. The video is proof enough, Coltyn believes as he closes with a shrug “Any questions?”

How has cannabis healed you? Share with us below.

Featured image by Angela Bacca



  1. Pingback: Medical Marijuana News - 7/9/15 -

  2. Brazzo

    May 17, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Would sewing the federal government for the classification of Marijuana as schedule 1 be the best and effective way for justice? It´s clear now that it was classified Schedule 1 with false data and research. How much more proof does a judge need? This way you may return home and live free from persecucion because you need real medicine. I also suggest if possible have a human rights group involved, because many humans are suffering preventable and curable deceases. I wish nothing more than to see MJ correctly place as the best plant for mankind.

  3. James Irby

    May 17, 2015 at 11:35 am

    ive had crohn’s sonce I was 13. I’ve had two surgeries and they’ve fed me so many different kinds of pills.. I’m now 22 and I live in Missouri so I can’t legally use cannabis. I’ve chosen to stop taking my pills because for one l, I can’t afford them I also have a wife and a daughter. I’m pro-cannabis in MO but I can’t use at the moment because of my job. I can relate with Coltyn in every aspect!! Stay strong little dude you’re not alone

  4. Joe

    May 17, 2015 at 2:04 am

    I am a service disabled Marine with PTSD, fatigue, crohns, and fibromyalgia. I have never smoked pot, but am becoming curious if this would help me… I will be in CS soon, how can I learn more?

    • Joe

      May 17, 2015 at 2:05 am

      I’m tired of taking 20+ rx daily

    • Mrs. Morgan

      May 18, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      Joe, I am a cannabis patient in Oregon so laws, of course, are different. However, there are many ways to take in the health benefits of marijuana, smoking just happens to be most traditional. I have severe ptsd, anxiety, and 3 separate forms of neuropathy. Unfortunately there’s no way to tell what strains or products work best for you without being your own guinea pig. Smoking will generally give you a head high which is good for mental health issues, whereas edibles and tinctures will present a body high and pain relief for a broad spectrum of causes, including neurological, injuries, and disease.
      Best of luck and hope you find something that works for you! 🙂

  5. Gail

    May 16, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    I pray for relief every single day. Crohns is so painful at times.

  6. Mike

    May 16, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I have had crohn’s since 85, had surgery in 87, it came back in 88. I guess you could say pot is what saved me from a life of misery. I was able to eat, it calmed down the storm in my gut, and eventually put my disease into remission. I have been drug free of any meds for crohn’s for over 15 years now. It works, I know! I am now 57 and may start looking to using it again to help battle the Parkinson’s I have been diagnosed with recently. Good luck to all!

  7. Tom

    May 16, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Hey All,
    I have been using cannabis to alleviate my Ulcerative Colitis for a few years now and it has completely cured me, so much so that my consultant told me earlier in in the year that I no longer have it and there is no evidence remaining that I’d ever had it save for my previous medical records as my bowels are clear.

    I will state that after this visit I stopped smoking for 3 weeks to see if my illness came back and it didn’t as in previous try’s to stop the symptoms had returned around 10-12 days later.

    The disease knocked me for six and without cannabis I would be a pale comparison to the man I am today, mainly as it’s safe to leave the house without the fear of crapping myself or letting rip with all the vast amount of wind that builds up and you don’t know if it’s gas or liquid and usually both.

    It was a crime against humanity when cannabis was criminalised and how many people have suffered due to it, because of this my medicine costs me around £10000 a year to keep my self medicated and I’m a criminal for buying it and I’ll be a criminal if I grow a plant to save the NHS money giving me shit drugs that don’t work and give you side effects as bad as the illness there meant to be curing.

    Live a better life use cannabis..,


    • katerina

      June 7, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      hey tom,
      glad to here you are ok now. I was recently diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis and i am already finding that the tablets they are giving me are not working they give me bad side effects at the moment im on no tablets, i have read up a lot of cannabis oil but i am not sure how to buy it, how to use or even how much to take, iv never tried this stuff before have never even tried a cigarette before,i am all new to this. could you please let me know how all this stuff works
      thankyou 🙂

  8. giuseppe maniglia jr

    May 16, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    hi! im 17 but ive had crohns for 2 years now. ive been on meds and although they work most of the time, ive smoked cannabis for awhile now. when i saw this post from a friend of mine i thought i should check it out. when looking at it i felt like i wasn’t alone in using cannabis and how it helps. so i stand up with u bro, crohns is tuff and personally i think cannabis helps me and clearly im not the only one. thanks for standing up!!!

  9. bri o.

    May 16, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    This sounds just like my story. I developed Crohn’s Disease in 2013 after suffering from a horrible bout of food poisoning. Since then, I have had symptoms that ranged from digestion issues to pain, joint pain and swelling, migraines, depression. Crohn’s Disease is much more than having an upset stomach. It consumes you every single day.
    With that being said, I have been on every single medication for Crohn’s Disease, many which made my symptoms worse. I am currently on 6 medications to manage my symptoms plus medical marijuana. I did not try medical marijuana for treatment until 3 months ago. Before I tried it, I could not leave my bed. I was consumed by pain and symptoms. I wasn’t able to eat, I wasn’t able to leave the house, I wasn’t able to do anything.
    3 months into treatment, I am now able to do most things I used to be able to do before Crohn’s.
    People need to understand that medical marijuana is saving lives and giving lives back to those drowning from illness. Sure there are those who take advantage of it, but there’s people like me out there that use it to help get from day to day.

  10. Scott Carson

    May 16, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I have multiple sclerosis for going on eight years, the other person I knew that had it was in a wheelchair within a year! Pharmaceuticals were my first three years and it was continued pain and flu like symptoms the entire time, not to mention I hate giving myself shots three times a week! I quit using the pharmaceuticals and the neurologists dropped me for not being able to pay! I have a son and a soon to be born daughter, and can’t even get a job somewhere because they can’t cover me under their insurance, and North Carolina will not give me disability because I can still walk and move! It’s definitely because of my switch off pharmaceuticals and change to illegally obtained marijuana for medicine! I have no further exasperations for six years thus far because of it, and would be jailed if caught taking medicine that works for me here! Justice isn’t blind to anything, hey keep things unobtainable legally! Be wise and learn to grow your medicine, hats the only way to stay well and safe! You always have my support! Save the masses,decide that the government has no rights over something growing on earth as long as people have been here too! Things imply don’t happen where it isn’t placed in scrutiny for cancelling big pharma’s agenda to get paid at people’s expense! These places hadused this great healer for thousands of years there,the majority have never even heard of conditions like yours and mine,they don’t have reported cases there!

  11. Leah Dunn

    May 16, 2015 at 9:54 am

    I am 33 years old now. I too suffer from chron’s. I started smoking marijuana when I was young just for fun. When I turned 16 I found out I was pregnant so I quit without any problem or withdrawal. When I turned 19 I started having horrible bowel pain and trouble after going to the emergency room several times, and going from 140 lbs to 96 lbs they found I had chron’s and that I had 2 lesions that had to be removed. Then my second struggle begun with trying to find the right medications to treat me. It was a long horrible road of all kinds of medicine, hospital stays, and testing after testing. I also started becoming dependent on the narcotic pain meds being prescribe.If I ran out of pain meds because of holiday or missing a appt I started having withdrawl. It was horrible. I finally found a great doctor and he recommended making the move to a legal marijuana state.I am a single parent and don’t have the finances to move so I have been risking my freedom to treat my illness. But I must share with everybody since I started back treatment with marijuana I have felt so much better. I have gained all my weight back. I now weigh 145 lbs and I am able to take care and be more involved mother. I am very thankful for this but it scares me with everything I have to go threw and to find it. It scares me to think I could go to jail and loose my freedom for something that has changed my health for a positive and life for the positive. Hoping and pushing for medical marijuana in all states. I just wanted you to know that I totally support you, and to share my testimony. #Promedicalmarijuana

  12. Lupe

    May 16, 2015 at 9:51 am

    My husband has Crohns and recently had surgery and had 12″ of his intestine removed. I would love to know the steps towards getting this for him. Thank you.

  13. Lara Kelly

    May 16, 2015 at 4:14 am

    Hi, I suffer from crohns disease too and nothing really seems to work! I was.just curious to know do you also take other medicine along with this? Like I take 4g of pentasa satchet daily do you take anything else with this?

  14. dabor

    May 16, 2015 at 1:45 am

    i’ve had ulcer since i was 9 and my mum being a doctor has been the one treating me…she even said it’s gastric uc,and it was getting really worse..i couldn’t just eat anything i like especially lipids and proteins like beans even eggs,there was this day i went to my aunt’s place and i was served beans,i knew i was allergic to it but i ate it anyway…five hours later my stomach started grumbling,it was the worse moment of my life,all i could feel is pain in my tommy..i was later admitted to the hospital nd it was until i vomitted the last pint of beans in me tat i got okay..i was 17 when i started smoking marijuana and ever since then i’ve been able to eat any food i want to,i even consider beans as my best food now tanks to

  15. janette

    May 16, 2015 at 12:03 am

    I have had crohns disease since I was 15. After being hospitalized for 6 weeks and trying every drug possible the only one that helped was remicade. It kept me in remission but then I developed an allergy to it. Im 32 now and ever since last year ive been struggling on and off with flares and have constant pain in my joints especially hips and legs. I was told about this cannabis oil but what do u do with it? I mean u dont smoke it so what do u do? I live in CA so how would I even go about trying it?

  16. wade stansbury

    May 15, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Im on probation for a dwi drinking n driving. Long story short i been smoking for years before i got in trouble as i see medicinal, will explain. I live in md and cant smoke, plus on probation. Before i found weed i could never eat much no appitite i b hungry but would start dryheaving when food near me. Sleep was a challange take few hours to get to sleep and very restless. Attitude is a issue with me i have always been edgy or snappy violent outburst road rage etc other words just not a pleasant person to bAround. Weed straightens these thingsn more out So these things while not life threatining i still belive my rights as a person , the right to pursue happiness. I get creative wen i smoke, i create things i would of never thought of.even in work im better i can do more intricate things. just want to b calm loving normal. Plus weed helps depression anxiety road rage sleep appitite and more. It keeps me regular as well lol. And im the opposite of the sterotypical “pot head” i dont get lazy i get productive. I take care if myself better. I could go on and on with the benifits for me but no point. Just want to b left alone wen it comes to weed. Im not hurting anybody i do it privately i was a ” normal person” but g man wants drones as i call people. Mindless sheep imo but go agead n take my freedom n pursuit of happieness md im goin to colorado asap. Lock me up for faild urin thc? Go ahead im still me your not going to change that rant over. . .

  17. Jason

    May 15, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I also have Crohns and cannibus is the key! The shitty part of medical cannibus is while its legal in many states us working guys have to roll the dice on drug tests. It’s a miracle natural remedy that at least needs to be labeled as a medicine that is prescribed to patients and taken off the drug test evaluation. I live in Colorado have my red card and still sweat the pee tests, but its worth the gamble.

  18. Kelsie Orgeron

    May 15, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    I am also a Crohns patient, I am amazed by those results. I totally support this! If I could, I’d try it also!!

  19. tiffaney tenorio

    May 15, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Wow!This story hit me hard love reading stories like this I do believe in medical marijuana how it can help with anything I’ve been taking cannabis oil for about 2months for my arthritis what a difference it made my life I wake up feel great every morning so I’m askin for someones help! Im from odessa texas I work with this girl name Joanna she’s so amazing very sweet works hard for her family her son has lupus I dont know how long he had it but he’s already having to do dialysis I’m trying to help her to get her son on this oil I already told her to read up on Rick Simpson told her to do some research on cannabis oil but what will help her even more if she can talk to someone that knows what she is going through or a parent that has a child on this oil I can only do so much so please if anybody can help & willing to talk her I really appreciate that I really want to help her out thank you & god bless

  20. Patty

    May 15, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    I have been diagnosed with Crohns since 2012 but have suffered from all the symptoms since 2008. I had my entire large intestine removed and now have a j-pouch. I’ve had two temporary ileostomies and may need to go back for a third. I recently quit my job of 11 years working as a laboratory supervisor. I’m only 34 , I’m the mother of four wonderful children ranging in ages from 15-2 years old. My kids have only known me as there sick mommy who can never really play and have fun although I try my hardest. It’s been so hard on my husband, watching me go through this disease I call hell. Yet he stays right by my side. I live in a state that has just passed laws for medical marijuana use my problem now is finding a doctor to give me all the paperwork I need to get my medical marijuana license. It’s been a nightmare my gastroenterologist is all for me using medical marijuana but he is not certified to give me a license. If anyone knows the laws here Massachusetts please let me know. Or a doctor or if they have information on how I can get a license that would be so helpful. I praise you and your family for taking the steps to get the help your child desperately needed and to see he is doing so well gives me hope.

  21. louanda thomas

    May 15, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    I too prob have chrons I quit smoking yrs ago then got sice with the doctors call chrons and had to quit due to children and have been sick for yrs now my go doc suggested the move but can’t I’m in tears now reading this

  22. Jenny

    May 15, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    i have uc, i have been fighting it for 7 years now. I never see improvement just seems gets worse i would like to find out how i can get help. So i can be the playful active mommy i want an need to be. Not fair for my children to see me sick all time

  23. Kristin

    May 15, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Marijuana helps with PTSD and insomnia with me, so No one should jud

    • Go fuck yourself

      May 17, 2015 at 7:49 am

      Same here. Without it my anxiety and Ptsd put me in a bad place. I use to quiet the nightmares and give me a level of functionality that remains constant.

  24. marion

    May 15, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    My issues aren’t as serious …but I have have worked nights for a long time and have bulging discs in my lower back and what my doctor says is severe IT band syndrome on opposite side of disc problem due to my job …I have never really smoked pot since I was a kid . I am now 48 and a mother of 5 all from ceserian birth and has never affected my work …with age and time it has had the affect on my body and doctors want me to take muscle relaxers for pain so I can sleep and NSAID…Has never worked…I stopped medication and started using ice packs on my back and hip to numb pain so I could sleep. My severe restless sleeping was making my pain crippling . it became so severe I was calling out of work every 3 days because I couldn’t walk..I was almost looking my job. My friend said get a medical card and smoke pot’s legal. Only the card is but if I’m hurt on the job and tested for drugs it’s not legal … I started smoking in the morning after work just to sleep and it was amazing …after 3 months I am finally able to get solid sleep …for hours …tested to go to work …walking 100 percent fine …before I was limping at work …couldn’t bend to tie my shoe …had to pick up my leg to put in car after work …I’m a 5’1″ woman at 130 lbs …so my issue was never a weight one …it was pain …in my down time from work and not being able to move at home I added 40 lbs …now I sleep like a baby …well rested …doing physical therapy because I can get up to go and walk much more easily …who wouldn’t want this to help someone ???? My 19 year old daughter knows it’s illegal and doesn’t want me to get in trouble but she sure is happy that her mom is able to get up and help her with college projects and household chores .

  25. Carmelita Sols

    May 15, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    I have a loved one who is suffering from crohns disease and I am curious to know the first steps we need to take to get him to a doctor in Colorado? We live in Utah and he is currently on a medication called Humira and is experiencing side effects. We are worried the medicine is causing longterm damage. Thank you for your time and this story (: it feels good to know we are not alone!Good luck to you!

    • Rachel Noel

      May 15, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      I took remecade in 2008 I had gone through 3 visit when I began to feel side effects, I was torn when I discovered I had developed RA rhemothoid arthritis as a reaction to the medication, which prompt me to withdraw from further treatment. By December of 2009 I experienced internal bleeding and was advised 6 months to yr, I was only 23 years old at the time and decided that I would quit all medication and treatment all together, and turned to medical cannabis, it is 2015, and I’ve had moments, but nothing like its was between the time I was diagnosed at 18 years old to 23. I am living, and thriving. Friend, there is a cure, and it grows naturally.

    • Jason

      May 15, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      I also have Crohns I’m 42 and was on Humira for about six months then the side effects started brutal headaches, blurry vision, exhausted and first time in my life got kidney stones. Humira is evil! doctor took me off Humira took about 4 weeks to get pout of my system but all the effects are gone. If you can find a alternate med do it!

    • Rachel Landers

      May 15, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      Humira and any other injectable or infusion is awful. They are biologics and can cause cancer. Humira gave me 2 good years. Remicade lasted a year. Now nothing works. My latest drug, that doesn’t work, can cause a rare brain disease. Try cannabis these drugs are horrible.

    • Clara Miller

      May 16, 2015 at 12:38 am

      I have crohns. I have been fighting it for 33 years! I was diagnosed at 19. And I am now 52. If cannabis helps, use it! No matter what you have to do! Humira was not made for crohns disease! It was made for Rumatoid Arthritis! I found a medicine called Inflixamab, pronounced like it is spelled. It was and is the only medicine ever made for crohns disease! It saved my life! It has done for me what the cannabis did for the Turner boy in this article. But I say use what works for you! Inflixamab is only in Introvenus form. And it is expensive. But they usually have some programs through the hospital you use for the treatment, or the crohns and colitis foundation, or the drug company your Inflixamab was made at. That will help pay or even cover the total cost of this drug! You have to be proactive and do some research on your cost of treatments. Ask the local hospital, and your insurance carrier and even your doctor for help in getting and paying for this drug! Please trust me! This medicine is worth it!! I was the first patient in the United States to get this drug! The day it came on the market for people to use, I had my gastrointerologist fed-ex it to her office and a few hours later I was in the treatment center of my local hospital getting it NY IV. They didn’t know how much or how often to give it! They did not know what if any side effects thee were or ANYTHING about this dug then! But I knew if I didn’t get it I was going to die! So I took it and lived! I lived better then I had in almost 2 decades! What I am saying is just try it! It will save your life and help you have a better quality life then you have had in years! Maybe ever!

    • jared

      May 16, 2015 at 9:24 am

      I have one answer for all of those who wish to be pain free and more. Move your kids and yourself to California or Colorado get your medical card and receive treatment it will be easy and one of the better decisions in your lives.

    • Søren

      May 16, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      Jeg var 12 dage i the tempel of the way of light. og jeg er helbredt for crohns sygdom.

    • Joe

      May 17, 2015 at 2:01 am

      what are the side effects of humeria?

  26. Jordin rose

    May 15, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    This article hit a lot inside me. I’m a teenager from Nevada that used cannabis for my Crohn’s disease. But my grandma doesn’t seem to understand that it helps and I just don’t know how to talk to about it with her, I’ve tried before and it’s just failed. Do you have any advice to give me that could help? Please and thank you for your time.

    • joe

      May 15, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      Yeah print out this article and others so she can read and get informed.old people are stubborn but it’s worth a try.

    • Mike

      May 16, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      Explain to her that God put this plant here for a reason, for us to figure out the extraordinary benefits this plant is capable of. I started smoking in the 8th grade , 1975 and finally quit in 2006 with no side affects. It saved my life from being miserable, tell her that you too deserve to feel good and be healthy. And if pot is what it takes, then how can she scorn you for wanting to feel normal again. Soon this plant will be the talk of all medical studies. Good luck and I hope she can come to terms with you choices.

      • Mike

        May 16, 2015 at 7:02 pm

        My crohn’s went into remission by the way, drug free for over 15 years.

  27. Kathleen Pfeiffer

    May 15, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Marijuana doesn’t not hurt teenagers, I started as a teen as million other people, been smoking for 30 years the only thing harmful is the Law

  28. clive sanbrook

    May 15, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I all so have this. Iav hadd part of my bowl taken away an now hav a stoma bag. I wud love to get this oil. Plz help

    • Kathleen Pfeiffer

      May 15, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      Look up Rick Simpson oil will tell you how to make it good luck

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