Can Irritable Bowel Syndrome be Treated with Cannabis?
Can irritable bowel syndrome be treated with cannabis? Can “the munchies” effect improve my appetite? Is it really a safe and effective treatment? These are just some of the questions that patients with irritable bowel syndrome ask. And to answer these questions here’s what research studies have to say.
What is IBS or irritable bowel syndrome?
Before we answer the question “can irritable bowel syndrome be treated with cannabis?” let’s first take a quick look at this disorder.
Irritable bowel syndrome primarily affects the large intestine of the gastrointestinal system. It causes severe abdominal pain with camping and bloating. Patients with IBS also suffer from alternating attacks of constipation and diarrhea with mucus in the stool. Appetite loss is also common in patients with IBS, resulting in decreased weight.
No one knows the exact cause of IBS. But some factors aggravate it. These include food triggers, stress and anxiety, hormonal imbalance, and family history of IBS. Experts also believe endocannabinoid deficiency also triggers IBS.
Can irritable bowel syndrome be treated with cannabis?
Cannabis and the munchies help relieve IBS symptoms in a number of ways:
Cannabinoids inhibit pain triggered by gastrointestinal mechanisms. It also blocks pain at the spinal and peripheral levels.
Contrary to what some people think, chronic, low-grade inflammation typically accompanies irritable bowel syndrome. In fact, intestinal inflammation plays an integral role in IBS. It changes the gastrointestinal physiology and worsens IBS. Cannabinoids produce potent anti-inflammatory effects. THC activates the endocannabinoid system. CBD activates the non-cannabinoid receptors to reduce inflammation.
Cannabinoids also improve the endogenous cannabinoid level in the body. They inactivate a certain enzyme that transports endocannabinoids back into the cell for reabsorption. More endocannabinoids in the system mean healthier and more efficient endocannabinoid system. This effect is especially important since there is a link between endocannabinoid deficiency and IBS.
The munchies effect also helps appetite loss. THC binds to the cannabinoid receptor and triggers the munchies. This results in increased appetite.
So, to answer the question “can irritable bowel syndrome be treated with cannabis?” it seems so. The therapeutic effects of cannabinoids and the munchies help control several symptoms associated with IBS.
Is cannabis safe and effective?
Now that the question “can irritable bowel syndrome be treated with cannabis?” has finally been answered to some degree, let’s address its safety and efficacy.
In a 2015 survey, 100% of the 2,495 participants said that 30 days of CBD treatment significantly improved their medical conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome. They reported pain reduction and an improvement in their quality of life. The participants also stated that CBD improved their mood and energy levels.
As for cannabis’ safety, studies found that medical cannabis states saw a decrease in patients using opioid-based medications. These states also saw a decline in opioid addiction and overdose deaths. This decline may be associated with patients substituting their opioid medications for cannabis.
The studies above already answer the question: Can irritable bowel syndrome be treated with cannabis? It relieves symptoms. It is a safe and effective alternative to common IBS medications. The munchies also stimulate appetite and prevent weight loss.