Cannabidiol or CBD oil is a popular natural remedy for many health concerns including chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation and many more. But is CBD oil good for IBS? Well, if you are looking for answers, this post is all about CBD and IBS.
The answer is, perhaps yes. Our digestive system consists of many cannabinoid receptors. And cannabidiol or CBD has the ability to interact with cannabinoid receptors in the GI tract. This interaction can change the way how our digestive system functions. Thus, it can relax the tissue, leading to far fewer spasmodic episodes, reduced hypersensitivity in the gut and far less discomfort.
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a common chronic condition which causes mild to severe distress in the gastrointestinal system. It is a functional digestive disorder with a complex pathophysiology. It has a tendency to particularly affect the small and large intestines. The obvious digestive symptoms include bloating, gas, nausea, abdominal and stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea. It also causes altered gut motility, rectal bleeding, visceral hypersensitivity, and mood swings.
This condition has been eminently difficult to treat, especially with modern and conventional medicine methods. Change in lifestyle and/or diet changes in addition to regular stress-relieving treatments and practices may help control some symptoms. However, for most IBS patients, these type of changes and treatment protocols are simply not enough. According to an estimation, over 70 percent of IBS sufferers do not receive sufficient treatment for their condition.
Millions of people suffer from some form of irritable bowel syndrome all around the globe. Unfortunately, the root causes of the many types of IBS are still unknown. Therefore, IBS is an inconvenient and life-changing condition as no medication or therapy has been significantly effective in providing long-term relief. Though, these methods offer varying results in fighting against the IBS symptoms.
Often people suffering from IBS experience some combination of one or more of these symptoms. Thus, there are so many different “kinds” of IBS that people suffer from with completely different symptoms. Furthermore, most people tend to suffer from this condition for an extended period of time or their whole lives in worst cases. However, with recent legalization on hemp, a new highly promising form of therapy against IBS has emerged, the CBD oil.
What is CBD
Cannabidiol or CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBD oil is extracted from hemp and contains around 85 cannabinoid chemicals (1). It is the primary medical powerhouse compound in hemp. It contains pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
Our bodies naturally produce cannabinoids which are called endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids can also be found in plants, known as phytocannabinoids. However, the most common ones come from the plant cannabis sativa which includes cannabidiol (CBD), delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN). Furthermore, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound and does not cause the ‘high” effect like its cousin THC.
CBD For IBS
Currently, there is a lack of scientific studies to support the call that CBD oil will help with IBS symptoms. So, while we know that cannabinoid receptors are there in the gut, it is unclear whether targeting them with external cannabinoids will manage IBS symptoms. Therefore, further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of cannabinoid use in the management of IBS.
However, many people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal ailments claim to have found relief by using CBD-infused product. According to many, they have never felt the same level of ease and relief for IBS systems with other kinds of treatment.
Gut motility and hypersensitivity are two primary concerns which cause IBS symptoms while the gut-brain axis also plays a huge role. And there is an assumption that ingestion of CBD can help relieve IBS symptoms. It is because CBD can works indirectly on endocannabinoid receptors already existent in the body and produce positive results for treating pain, inflammation, visceral hypersensitivity, and other IBS symptoms.
How Can CBD Affect the Gut?
Our digestive system has many cannabinoid receptors in it as well as many receptors along the gut-brain axis (2). Cannabinoid receptors have the ability to interact with cannabinoids which results in changes to how the digestive system functions (3). Activation of specific cannabinoid receptors can decrease motility (movement), reduce hypersensitivity in the gut and limit secretion(3).
As a matter of fact, studies show that the entire gastrointestinal system is full of these receptors that help these endogenous cannabinoids, and externally ingested cannabinoids like CBD. Among the cannabinoid receptors existing throughout the body, CB1 locates primarily in the brain and CB2, in the immune cells. However, the majority resides in the digestive system. CB1 receptors primarily relate to memory processing, pain sensation, appetite, mood, and sleep, whereas CB2 receptors are related to inflammation and pain.
According to a 2016 study, dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system might be responsible for intestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and obesity. In a similar 2008 review, famous neurologist Ethan Russo put forward that IBS is the result of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD). People with CECD produce significantly lower amounts of cannabinoids than what is necessary for healthy bowel functioning. The endocannabinoid system is the primary factor in digestion, appetite, immune regulation, sleep and mood, and relies on the presence of the cannabinoids to function properly.
Therefore, the introduction of external cannabinoids such as CBD to someone suffering from CECD through products like CBD oil, it can stimulate the endocannabinoid receptors and assist in returning the digestive tract to a state of homeostasis. A 2007 study also demonstrates the high impact of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the gastrointestinal tract in regulating intestinal inflammation.
How to Take CBD Oil for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Oral delivery method is best when taking CBD oil for IBS. However, the selection will depend on your personal preference whether you would like drops, edibles (e.g. gummies), capsules or shatter. Furthermore, it is vital to understand that there is no standard CBD oil dose. It is because every person is different and would require a different amount to find relief. The best way is to start slow and eventually go for more if you feel you require more.
Drops and shatter are typically the most potent forms of CBD you can take. Thus, may have a different effect on your body than a less-potent CBD edible. However, it is best to try out a few different forms of CBD edibles to decide the best method for you. And don’t forget to consult your physician before taking CBD, or deciding which delivery method is best for you. You can also consult a cannabis specialist to learn more about dosing and potential drug interactions.
If you or a loved one are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and the standard treatments such as probiotics, dietary changes, and stress reduction therapies have failed to manage the symptoms. CBD oil may be an option. So, try CBD oil or opt for CBD supplements and see how it works for you.