Cannabinoids and Gastrointestinal Disorders
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Cannabinoids and Gastrointestinal Disorders

By Tim Faulkner August 10, 2022

A recent study found that an astonishing number of people, nearly 40% of adults, suffer from some form of functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGD). These disorders can range in severity from mild discomfort all the way to severe symptoms that have a significant impact on quality of life. While many of the disorders can be managed with pharmaceuticals and traditional western medical methods, an increasing number of people are finding that pharmaceutical prescriptions and traditional doctors are not helping them in the ways they need most. Often because of undesirable side effects associated with prescription medication. Cannabis has been used medicinally for centuries for many different purposes including inflammation, pain relief, lack of appetite, and to treat a variety of other ailments. Recently with the evolution of science and as we are able to learn more about the cannabis plant, new research is coming out consistently about the possible benefits of using cannabis medicinally. Some of this new research suggests cannabinoids may play a role in helping individuals suffering from a FGD.

What are cannabinoids and how do they work in your body to affect your digestive system

A cannabinoid is described as “any of various naturally-occuring, biologically active, chemical constituents of hemp or cannabis." Cannabinoids include THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, and many many more. These cannabinoids contained within the cannabis plant interact with our endo-cannabinoid system (ECS), a system contained within the body that is affected by cannabinoids. Your ECS plays a role in many bodily functions including pain management, mood, appetite, gastrointestinal motility, memory, emotions, stress response, immune function, and much more. Cannabinoids act on your CB1 and CB2 receptors contained within your ECS. They can either inhibit or activate these receptors which in return can have varying effects such as pain relief, reduction of inflammation, etc.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Cannabinoids

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a common gastrointestinal issue many people struggle with. IBD is a general term for chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. Symptoms can include pain, ulcers, bleeding, weight loss, and diarrhea. Cannabinoids can play an important role in helping treat the symptoms of IBD as inflammation can be reduced when the CB1 and CB2 receptors are activated. In one study done on individuals with Crohn’s disease (an inflammatory bowel disease) found that at least 70% of the study participants reported a decrease in the severity of their symptoms after using cannabis. Other studies have reinforced these promising findings, showing that cannabis use may help reduce abdominal pain, excessive bowel movements, and secondary symptoms relating to IBD such as depression, perception of health, ability to work, and social function. An example of a cannabinoid that has shown promising results in treatment of inflammation in the gut is cannabigerol (CBG). CBG has shown promising potential in reducing inflammation and production of nitric oxide in the gut which may offer relief from many of the symptoms of IBD. In addition certain cannabinoids can increase appetite which can be a struggle for many people experiencing IBD.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Cannabinoids

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is another gastrointestinal disorder that a large number of people struggle with. Symptoms of IBS can include abdominal pain, bloating, unusual bowel movements, and excessive gas. While the usage of cannabinoids for the treatment of IBS hasn’t been quite as well studied as IBD, many medical patients report finding results and relief. Many of these patients report that it could calm down your gut and help with pain management. In general, cannabis may relieve many symptoms of common gastrointestinal disorders including nausea, abdominal pain, increasing appetite in those who struggle with eating, and reducing diarrhea.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, cannabinoids could have many potential benefits for gastrointestinal disorders. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of research into this subject and more studies need to be done to definitely say how cannabinoids affect GI issues. If you are interested in trying out cannabinoids for a gastrointestinal problem CBD can be a good place to start as it may have many helpful properties including anti-inflammation and pain relief but doesn’t contain any of the possible unwanted side effects of traditional cannabis. Discover CBD is open seven days a week, stop by and say hello or visit us online, call, or chat!


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