CBD for IBS: Just the Facts
People with IBS experience disruptive symptoms of the digestive system that often worsen with anxiety, or during stressful periods. IBS is thought to be associated with an endocannabinoid deficiency, changes in serotonin levels and the mental-emotional state of a person. Researchers are studying CBD for IBS because of its endocannabinoid system stimulation and serotonin receptors. Although research is just beginning and no human clinical trials have yet been conducted, the outlook for using CBD for IBS is promising.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a large-intestinal condition. It is commonly termed a “functional” gastrointestinal disorder. This is because, unlike other gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the digestive tract itself does not present any abnormalities. IBS does however cause changes in the way the gastrointestinal system works. As a result , patients with IBS suffer from multiple symptoms including:
- Changes in intestinal motility (constipation and/or diarrhea)
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
IBS is usually graded as dominant in constipation, predominant in diarrhea, or mixed.
What Causes IBS?
Unfortunately, we still don’t know all of the reasons why an individual may develop IBS. However, medical professionals believe there are likely to be changes in intestinal motility, the nerves that control the bowels, and the bacteria in the digestive tract.
It’s believed that some food triggers or hormone changes may be part of the IBS picture. Additionally, when people also have a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression, they are more likely to suffer from IBS. Additionally, periods of heavy stress tend to aggravate IBS symptoms.
The Conventional Approaches to Treating IBS
One of the main conventional approaches to treating IBS symptoms is to lower levels of stress and anxiety. Stress reduction therapies include meditation, counselling, and exercise.
Other treatments include diet changes. For instance, avoiding food triggers, eating high fiber foods, or following the FODMAP diet, excluding foods that tend to cause gas and digestive upset.
In some cases, IBS patients are given medicines that affect intestinal motility, antidepressant drugs such as SSRIs, or medicines such as antibiotics and probiotics that change the gut flora.
The medical community is actively looking for improved IBS therapies addressing the root causes of the disease. Recent attention has been focused on possible CBD uses for IBS.
CBD for IBS: How it Works
Many people with IBS and other gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have reported drastically improving their symptoms using medical marijuana and CBD products. Stories such as these have helped encourage more in-depth research into the use of CBD for IBS.
To date no clinical studies have been conducted directly on the use of CBD for IBS. Researchers have however been investigating how CBD can help with the underlying factors of IBS.
Final Thoughts on Using CBD for IBS
Better care for IBS sufferers is required. People with IBS have used both medical marijuana and CBD drugs, and their symptoms have been greatly improved. Research shows that patients with IBS likely have a deficiency of endocannabinoids. And that mechanism is positively affected by the cannabinoids present in CBD oil. CBD drugs are in the early stages of research to fix IBS and the outlook appears promising at this time.
If you are considering using CBD to address the symptoms of your IBS, discuss this first with your doctor. Never discontinue or alter your medication without your doctor’s supervision.
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