If you have never heard of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, consider yourself lucky. This is a debilitating disease of the bowels, with no known cause, that, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, afflicts nearly 11 percent of the entire global population.
Some experts claim at least 45 million people have it in the United States alone, making this disease a national crisis.
There is no cure for IBS. It causes intense abdominal pain, irregularities in bowel movement, bloating, and even frequent, unpredictable bouts of diarrhea, affecting productivity on a massive scale.
For all the science behind IBS, nobody can agree on any single cause, with some suspecting dietary imbalances, others blaming stress, and still others believing it a combination of the two.
Fortunately, many studies are proving cannabidiol, or CBD, effective at treating the symptoms of this disease, helping victims manage it better and improving their quality of life significantly.
Scientists are lauding the medicinal promise of cannabis therapy, in particular, the many therapeutic uses for CBD. When it comes to IBS, CBD proves to be highly effective in several different ways:
For those with IBS, the symptoms are universal. It causes diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, pain, and other issues that leave sufferers housebound, one of which is abdominal spasms.
When patients consume CBD, it interacts with the body’s own endocannabinoid receptors in the gastrointestinal tract, which relaxes these muscles, relieves the uncomfortable spasms, and soothes gastrointestinal distress.
IBS is particularly evil in that it nauseates you so much that you do not want to eat. Patients frequently stop eating, usually for short intervals, before they become so ravenously hungry that they overeat, often on anything and everything, which then causes their IBS to flare up all over again.
This cycle is especially vicious, since without a way to control it; many are stuck in this no-eating, overeating pattern.
It is possible for some to mitigate this issue with over-the-counter drugs, but for most, these medications are completely ineffective. They also come with some nasty side effects.
Suppressing nausea does not stimulate appetite much, and forcing yourself to eat is not an exact science, so folks taking these pills often end up right back in this horrible cycle, along with its regular flare-ups.
According to Clinical Trials, many studies support a healthy link between CBD and its ability to both suppress nausea and stimulate appetite in IBS patients, giving sufferers a healthy, natural alternative to swallowing handfuls of ineffective drugs.
This makes CBD oil an invaluable weapon in the fight against IBS and its horrifying symptoms.
Relieves Abdominal Pain
The pain associated with IBS is extreme, leaving patients helpless, scared, and confined to their homes. It helps having some painkillers on hand, but the trouble with prescription opioids is their addictiveness and life-threatening side effects.
Opioids are a leading killer in the United States, and people would be wise to avoid them wherever possible.
Fortunately, studies provide conclusive evidence of the analgesic properties of CBD. The U.S. National Library of Medicine gives extensive information about the painkilling effects of cannabinoids, especially CBD, which it calls a “non-euphoriant, anti-inflammatory analgesic with CB1 receptor antagonist and endocannabinoid modulating effects.”
Now, IBS sufferers have an effective alternative to opioid-based drugs. The ability of CBD to provide relief from discomfort is giving many of them their lives back, as well as a safer way to deal with IBS flare-ups overall.
This is beyond valuable, since regular, measured doses of CBD have a myriad of other benefits too, such as improving sleep, regulating bowel movements, and so much more.
Science shows gut inflammation is regulated by two crucial processes. The first is an immune response that tells the gut to destroy any dangerous pathogens it finds there.
Despite being of paramount importance, this process can also harm the intestinal lining when immune cells start attacking indiscriminately, in effect working against your body instead of for it. CBD calms this wayward immune response.
The second process relies on the movement of specialized molecules across the epithelial lining of the gut to shut down the inflammation response, which utilizes a natural compound called an endocannabinoid.
In IBS, endocannabinoids are not relieving inflammation as they should, but with the support of CBD, these endocannabinoids start fighting inflammation properly again.
Improves Intestinal Motility
Since IBS has no proven cause, people do not experience it the same way. Environmental and physical factors can cause different responses, such as anxiety, which triggers the vagus nerve to start expressing too much acetylcholine.
This causes food to pass through the gastrointestinal tract too quickly, directly causing flare-ups, digestive issues, dehydration, and nutrient malabsorption.
This hyper-motility of the gut is directly responsible for many of the symptoms of IBS, so slowing it down proves essential.
Elevating cannabinoid levels in the body inhibits these states of hyper-motility, increasing endocannabinoid levels in the intestine and enabling CB1 receptors to move acetylcholine out of the gastrointestinal tract, which slows the passage of food and relieves the consequent diarrhea.
CBD: Treating IBS on Multiple Fronts
There is no single, reliable treatment for IBS. Patients have been trying for decades to find one, to no avail. It is unlikely that scientists will find one anytime soon, given that IBS differs so greatly between individuals and has a myriad of unknown causes.
Having said that, nature does offer the perfect solution for managing the symptoms of IBS effectively and safely: CBD oil.
The effects of CBD on IBS are widely documented. In all studies, results prove unanimously positive. CBD may not cure IBS, but it can certainly make living with it much easier for millions of patients across the world.
Before starting any form of cannabinoid therapy, however, discuss your intentions with your doctor first. CBD can influence the efficacy of some medications, for either better or worse.
For further information on how our bodies’ endocannabinoid system work, watch Dr Teh, Cannabinoid Clinician explaining it in more details:
- How CBD Helps Tissue Inflammation - June 24, 2019
- How CBD Oil Effectively Treats Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - March 18, 2019