CBD and Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)
IBD is a general term for illnesses such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. An excessive inflammatory response in the gastrointestinal tract causes intestinal damage and disturbances in the normal functioning of the intestines and bowels, limiting normal transport of food through the digestive system. Secretions of digestive fluids are also adversely disturbed. This causes serious pain, as well as a range of other symptoms throughout the body. There are currently no cures, and treatment is measured by the reduction of symptoms and/or the reduction of the frequency of “flare-ups”.
IBD is currently treated with a number of medications that induce and retain remission, steroids are used also as an alternative treatment, yet these drugs possess limited efficacy, and many contain unwanted side effects.
With Crohn’s, areas of the gastrointestinal (GI) system become chronically inflamed with various areas of the GI tract affected, causing intense pain and diarrhea. This condition can actually lead to malnutrition.
Ulcerative colitis appears over a longer period of time and the result is inflammation of the inner lining of the colon and rectum.
The nervous system including the enteric nervous system, which assists in controlling gut function, is where you will find cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been found to be essential in maintaining proper gut health. Evidence shows that it may be a safe and effective treatment option for some patients. Few high quality studies have been done with medical cannabis on patients with IBD, but a 2011 study found that 51% of ulcerative colitis patients and 48% of Crohn’s disease patients are lifetime cannabis users.
These IBS Patients with significantly reduced quality of life reported some relief of symptoms with cannabis treatment.
An uncontrolled study published in Digestion found that after three months of using medical cannabis patients reported weight gain and Body Mass Index (BMI) increases.
This is an important result as patients with IBD sometimes suffer from malnutrition and weight loss from their bouts with vomiting and diarrhea. They also reported that their ability to work, feelings of depression, social function, and general health was improved.
CBD has proven a very safe balancing and protective nutritional supplement and there are versions made from hemp that produce no hallucinogenic symptoms and do not show on drug screening tests.