IBS, IBD, And Other Digestive Issues : How Can CBD Help?

Take it from an IBS-veteran: digestive issues have the power to hold up road trips, alarm dates, and ruin birthdays--and those are just my own examples from the last 8 months. Whether you’ve got IBS, IBD, or a different gut problem entirely, you’ve probably tried just about everything to ease your symptoms. 

Well, we’ve got another solution to try: CBD oil, which has been showing some promising results on gut health in recent studies. 

See ya, Pepto!



IBS And IBD: What’s The Difference?

Some highlights of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include abdominal cramping, bloating, gas, constipation, and pretty much everything it takes to be a really fun dinner guest. It’s a chronic functional disorder, which means that a: it’s here for life, and b: nobody really knows where it comes from. 

Basically, with a functional bowel disorder, all the organs look normal, but they act a fool anyway. I see my colon as an A+ student who still manages to land in detention.

IBD is IBS’s chaotic older cousin. It’s a structural bowel disorder, which means that doctors can actually see what’s causing the problem, such as inflammation or ulcers. 

Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis are examples of IBD, diseases which can be debilitating. For many people, IBD symptoms make my measly little tummy troubles seem like a common cold in comparison.

Bowel Disorders And The Endocannabinoid System

Now, if you haven’t heard us talk about the endocannabinoid system, then you might be new here, so, welcome! I hope you’re enjoying yourself. In that case, here’s a quick review: the endocannabinoid system was discovered in the 1990’s to be a biological network of receptors that help ensure homeostasis--a fancy word for your body’s internal balance. 

Keeping your gut’s microbiome in line is a part of homeostasis, so it’s no coincidence that there are plenty of CB [cannabinoid] receptors in your intestines. Basically, these receptors are little sleeping beauties, waiting for their prince to come and wake them up. And by their prince, I mean cannabinoids, which can come externally (from CBD, for example), or internally (anandamide). 

Studies have suggested that waking up these little guys can limit peristalsis and gastric acid secretion, as well as enhance food intake. Peristalsis is what moves food through your intestines, meaning that when it’s a bit over-eager you’re running to the bathroom, and too much gastric acid secretion causes heartburn. Limiting these functions by activating your CB2 receptors might help you feel better.

Incidentally, if you’re tired of shaking your fist at God for giving you a chronic digestive disorder, try yelling PERISTALSIIIIIIS next time you’re trapped on the toilet. Very cathartic.

Double Check With Your Doctor

According to Nicholas V Dipatro, PhD, when your endocannabinoid system is out of whack this “might play a role in intestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, as well as obesity.” So, giving your endocannabinoid system a boost with CBD can give your gut some much needed comfort.

Now, there is still a ways to go in CBD research, and we don’t have all the answers yet. The preliminary results are looking good, though, which means CBD oil might be the missing piece to keep you regular.

Of course, if you think you have IBS or IBD, consult your doctor. We’re not healthcare professionals over here, and your doctor will know best what will work for you, especially if you’re already on medication that CBD could interfere with.

Once you’ve got the green light from your general practitioner, then we’ve got some options that may offer blessed relief! 

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