Irritable Bowel Syndrome (also known as IBS) is the world’s most common digestive disorder, affecting up to 15% of the population.
Typical symptoms of IBS are not pleasant. Diarrhea, bloating, and fatigue are some of the most common, all of which can make day-to-day life uncomfortable.
But there is hope in sight.
More and more sufferers are noticing the positive effects of CBD on their IBS symptoms, using it to provide welcome relief for some of the most bothersome symptoms.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about CBD and how it can help to manage IBS.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a natural compound derived from the Cannabis plant.
The cannabis plant has always been a fascinating area of study for scientists. What was once considered a vice is now proven to have a long list of medicinal properties.
Research has shown that CBD can be used to treat a wide range of illnesses and ailments, including skin diseases, gastro-intestinal complaints, neuropsychiatric disorders, and many more.
Thanks to this research, CBD is being developed into a wide range of therapeutic non-addictive medicines that have the potential to treat a wide range of conditions.
One potential use is for managing the symptoms of IBS.
What is IBS?
IBS is a chronic gastro-intestinal (GI) disorder that affects the large intestine. It’s an incredibly common complaint, affecting between 10-15% of Europeans.
Typical IBS symptoms include painful stomach bloating, excess gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
The gut is home to approximately 70% of the cells in the body’s immune system, so a healthy gut often correlates with good overall health. Those with IBS often find themselves experiencing bouts of low mood and depression as a result.
Causes of IBS
Many attempts have been made to identify why IBS occurs, but the actual cause still remains a mystery.
Factors that are believed to induce IBS include abnormalities in the nerves of the digestive system, infections in the gut, severe diarrhea, high-stress levels, and changes in the microbes that are found in the stomach and intestines.
For many, there will be specific triggers that bring on the symptoms. Such triggers include exposure to severe stress, anxiety, and diet. To manage their IBS symptoms, many start by avoiding these triggers as much as possible.
Some triggers, however, cannot be avoided. Gender, for example (women are more likely to suffer from IBS than men), age, and a family history of the disorder are all thought to play a part.
Types of IBS
Below are the most common types of IBS:
- IBS with constipation (IBS-C)
- IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)
- Mixed IBS (IBS-M) A combination of IBS-C and IBS-D
- Unsubtyped IBS (IBS-U) The symptoms do not fit into one of the other categories.
Symptoms of IBS
Typical symptoms of IBS include:
- Abdominal Pain
- Loss Of Appetite
- Unexplainable Weight Loss
In more severe cases, IBS can induce anxiety or depression.
How Can CBD Help with IBS?
To understand how CBD can help with IBS, we must first understand the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system helps to regulate the body’s internal functions, keeping it in a state of homeostasis. Among other functions, the system regulates sleep, pain, mood, and memory. Research has shown that an imbalance in the endocannabinoid system is a potential cause of IBS.
Now, the stomach contains cannabinoid receptors that are activated when cannabinoids are ingested. These receptors reduce the formation of gastric mucosal lesions caused by stress and minimize gastric motor activity in the stomach, thereby offering relief to IBS patients.
This is why using natural CBD products like CBD drops and suppositories can help with IBS and its symptoms.
The appropriate dosage of CBD for IBS depends on the extent of the condition and the potency of the product. Before beginning any course of CBD, it is always wise to speak to a health care professional first.
Conventional Medication And Plausible Drug Interactions
IBS is treated differently based on the type of IBS the patient is suffering from. IBS with constipation, diarrhea, and mixed symptoms are all managed distinctly.
Researchers suggest probiotics as a natural remedy for IBS sufferers. Probiotics containing saccharomyces boulardii and bifidobacteria can help to restore balance in the gut and relieve some of the more common symptoms, such as gas and bloating.
An IBS patient with diarrhea can opt for over-the-counter (OTC) medications. At the same time, those with constipation would be advised to begin a course of fiber supplements or take a closer look at their diet. Low doses of antidepressants may be prescribed for patients with mixed symptoms as anxiety and trauma are typically the root cause.
CBD does have the potential to interact with other medications that are metabolized with Cytochromes P450. Before taking CBD oil to help with IBS, it is essential to speak to your primary care physician first.
What is Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. It is a disease that develops over time, primarily in the large intestine.
Depending on the severity of the inflammation, symptoms can include abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, diarrhea (sometimes containing traces of blood or pus), constipation, fatigue, fever, and weight loss.
Like IBS, ulcerative colitis has no known cause. However, a family history of the disease, diet, and age are all thought to play a part.
How can CBD help Ulcerative Colitis (UC)?
Ulcerative colitis is in the same family of diseases as IBS, so using CBD oil for Ulcerative Colitis has the same potential benefits.
A 2015 study on rats shows that a combination of THC and CBD successfully reduced inflammation associated with ulcerative colitis.
Like most research on the effect of CBD on diseases, results are limited, and there are simply not enough scientific studies to firmly conclude that CBD can help with the disease. Until such evidence emerges, many patients use CBD oils and CBD suppositories to yield great results and a remarkable improvement in their symptoms.
Studies on CBD and IBS & Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
When it comes to treating IBS and ulcerative colitis, multiple researchers agree that CBD is most effective when combined with at least 0.03% of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). This mixture is often referred to as full-spectrum CBD.
THC produces much of the psychological effects associated with marijuana use (the high). Still, in such a small dose, it is largely safe for use. That being said, because of these properties, THC in some jurisdictions is illegal, so always check with your local authority first.
A 2017 study showed that a form of full-spectrum CBD containing a minute percentage of THC helped relieve the symptoms of IBS as well as Crohn’s disease.
While many researchers argue that CBD is effective for IBS, UC, and Crohn’s, the reality is there is insufficient research to prove the fact conclusively.
Until then, we have to use anecdotal evidence given to us by long-term sufferers who use CBD effectively to manage their symptoms.
While research is lacking on the effectiveness of CBD as a treatment for IBS and UC, the studies we do have show potential.
Many of our customers report that using CBD for IBS helps manage their symptoms and restore some normality into their life.
Hempika produces pharmacy-grade CBD products derived from organically-grown hemp, cultivated following the guidelines of good agricultural and collection practices (GACP) and produced in accordance with Good manufacturing practices (GMP).
We source only the finest quality ingredients to create safe and beneficial CBD products to serve our customers across Europe.
Author: B. D.