Treating Digestive Disorders with CBD ( Crohn’s, IBD, IBS )
Digestive diseases are acute (lasting a brief period of time) or chronic and long-lasting like Crohn’s disease. When you have to deal with the symptoms of a chronic digestive condition on a daily basis, the need for an effective medical or medicinal solution assumes even importance. Ideally, the solution should address the symptoms of the disease without causing side-effects. In reality, disease management is possible thanks to advancements in modern medicine but side-effects are hard to avoid. Side-effects arise from the nature of treatment, such as surgeries and steroids.
Studies so far point to limited and less risky side-effects of cannabidiol. For example, this review of clinical studies and relevant animal studies indicates that cannabidiol has a better side effect profile compared to other drugs used in the treatment of epilepsy and psychotic conditions.
CBD for Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes abdominal pain fatigue, weight loss, diarrhea and malnutrition. The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is not known; it is likely that an abnormal immune system response triggers inflammation. Certain bacteria in the intestine may be responsible, and there are theories suggesting the role of diet, genes and environmental condition in causing this bowel disease.
Unfortunately, Crohn’s disease does not have a cure as yet. The progression of the disease can be slowed by steroids and immunosuppressants. The treatment plan for a Crohn’s patient generally involves inducing and maintaining remission, minimizing the side-effects of treatment, and improving his/her quality of life. Though side-effects of conventional treatment such as weight gain, puffy face, insomnia, night sweats and hyperactivity are not a cause for concern, serious ones such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, glaucoma, osteoporosis and cataracts are problematic. This is why the potential of cannabis in the treatment of this disease must be welcomed; there is a need to not only improve symptoms but also reduce side-effects.
Historical evidence suggests that people have been using cannabis for consumption and textile making since 8,000 BCE. Cannabis was used medicinally by the Chinese to treat a variety of ailments as far back as 2,737 BCE.
CBD Clinical Studies on Animals and People
Animal studies of THC and CBD compounds on the gastrointestinal system have been encouraging. In an observational study of 30 Crohn’s patients in Israel, researchers inquired about the severity of symptoms, medical treatments and reasons for marijuana use. All the patients smoked marijuana, averaging a dose of one to three joints everyday. Their responses were compared against hospital documentation to make objective assessments about disease severity.
Researchers found the following: all the patients reported that marijuana had a positive impact on disease severity; 21 reported a significant improvement in symptoms. Importantly, many patients said that they required fewer medications while using marijuana while nine stopped using IBD medication altogether. All the patients also reported requiring fewer surgeries while taking marijuana than they had undergone previously. As far as symptoms were concerned, patients reported fewer daily bowel movements with marijuana use than without, with a fall in average from eight to five.
CBD for Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Gastrointestinal problems can be annoying and interfere with your professional as well as personal life. The use of cannabinoids in the management of gastrointestinal issues has gained steam in recent years. According to this review, cannabinoid therapies can help CB1 receptors in the gastrointestinal system regulate symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and pain more effectively. Besides the above-mentioned symptoms, CB1 receptors in the body regulate food intake, GI movement, stomach secretions and cell reproduction.
Gastrointestinal Pain Relieved by CBD
Visceral pain from GI disorders can either be a stomach pain not related to any ulcers or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects 11% of the population worldwide and causes other symptoms like flatulence and constipation. The research found that cannabinoids had a stimulating effect on CB1, CB2 and TRPV1 receptors, resulting in pain alleviation, less abdominal movement, decreased abdominal movement and therefore less diarrhea.
Results of the animal study, which used mice as representatives of humans with GI symptoms, suggested that the modulation of the GI system using cannabinoids could reduce excessive movement of the gut and lower pain.
Nausea and vomiting, common symptoms of gastroenteritis, motion sickness, emotional stress and psychological illnesses among several other conditions, are caused by the stimulation of certain brain receptors that bind with signaling molecules such as serotonin, dopamine and cannabinoids. The research found that those who experienced nausea and vomiting had lower levels of endocannabinoids and CB1 receptors than those who did not experience these symptoms. It suggested the possibility of increasing endocannabinoids in preventing nausea and vomiting arising from GI and other disorders. A separate study found that Sativex, a combination of THC and CBD in a 1:1 ratio, worked effectively in controlling the two symptoms and was well-tolerated by patients.
Overall it would appear that research suggest Crohn’s, IBD, IBS and other Gastrointestinal issues could be relieved with the use of CBD products.