Using CBD for IBS Symptoms
IBS is a condition with little to no answers and effective treatments. Those who suffer from IBS and digestive health conditions understand the mental and physical struggles that greatly impact the ability to live life to the fullest. It is a constant battle with flare ups and managing symptoms and no one treatment helps every person the same way. It is estimated that 1 out of every 10 people in the developed world suffer from IBS-like symptoms and even though it is so common it is still not well understood.
It is important to note that CBD will NOT cure IBS and must be used in conjunction with other lifestyle and diet modifications, but here are summarized reasons why research shows it can make a significant difference in CBD health.
Many look at IBS causes as an imbalance of the functions of the digestive tract. When digestion, absorption, immune defense, and excretion isn’t in sync it causes all kinds of symptoms. Cannabidiol (CBD) helps with this problem because it makes the cells all over your body communicate with the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is thought to be a major role player in IBS. The CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors are used to regulate processes in the body, many are located in the digestive tract. The CB1 receptors inhibit gastric acid secretion, intestinal motility, and muscle relaxation. The CB2 receptors are mainly located within the GI tract and help with inflammatory pains originating from the gut.
photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio
How CBD can help with IBS symptoms:
• Addresses anandamide deficiencies
• Reduces inflammation
• Inhibits digestive muscle hyperactivity and cramping
• Decreases appetite
• Reduces Anxiety
• Reduces Nausea
How CBD Can Help IBS Types
There are 3 different types of IBS, Diarrhea-Dominant (IBS-D), Constipation-Dominant (iBS-C), and Alternating IBS (IBS-A).
IBS-D has common precursors of poor gut membrane, hyperactive muscle activity in the digestive tract, and a diet with high sodium foods. High sodium foods and poor membrane control cause water to accumulate in the areas with salty foods causing watery stools.
With hyperactive muscle activity in the digestive tract there is cramping, pain, and bloating. Food gets pushed through too quickly without the digestive tract breaking down and absorbing it. So food ferments in the large intestine and causes nausea, bloating, and diarrhea.
For IBS-D CBD can be useful to reduce spastic muscles in the gut so t hat food can be properly digested and reduce related symptoms. Combine CBD with a low-sodium diet and soluble fiber.
IBS-C is the opposite with low activity in the digestive tract. Pancreatic enzymes, bile, and stomach acid are sparse, making it hard to digest food and stimulate a smooth stomach lining to expand and contract to help move food along the digestive tract.
When there is a problem with the secretion of digestive enzymes or muscle movement we become constipated. Constipation causes severe pain, bloating, nausea, and belly distress.
For IBS-C CBD can be useful for increasing anandamide- a naturally occurring endocannabinoid responsible for slowing bowel movement, fighting inflammation, and diversifying microbiomes.
IBS-A is a combination of periods of diarrhea and constipation. The two extremes can last for several months and the sudden change in bowel activity can be due to dietary, neurological, and immunological responses.
For IBS-A CBD is useful because it will help the body regulate homeostasis.
Why CBD Works
Even though there are 3 different types of IBS people experience the same general symptoms so there is a lot of information out there for “understanding” the disease even though we said at the beginning, it is not well understood. For example, Patient A can have the same symptoms as similar Patient B and the treatments work for one and not the other.
This is exactly why it is important that a person suffering from IBS tries to figure out as much about their body as possible. When do they feel flare ups? What symptoms happen when? What treatments work? What treatments don’t? Having this information as detailed as possible makes it easier for the patient and doctor to recognize patterns and develop a treatment plan for a disease with no cure.
Recent studies show that IBS sufferers have inflammation in the digestive tract because there are more inflammatory cells (such as CB2 receptors) in the digestive tract that cause pain and bloating. Scientists have linked IBS sufferers to reduced serotonin levels which causes stronger feelings of anxiety and fear causing enhanced sensitivity to pain. Our gut is our second brain so anxiety, fear, and depression lead to flare ups and increased symptoms.
The body is a working machine that is affected by internal and external factors. CBD Oil works so well for a variety of ailments because it helps our body find the balance to be a well working machine. CBD helps relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, alleviate pain, and encourages bodily functions like digestion, healing, and mental processes. CBD Oil use requires frequent and consistent use to work its’ best. That is why it is used for maintenance treatment in conjunction with other treatments for a variety of issues.
Since CBD is a maintenance treatment users may build a tolerance for the starting dose. We suggest you start small for a specified amount of time and then decide to increase or decrease to find the desired relief from x amount of CBD Oil.
Starting dose example: 300mg strength bottle, and ½ml dose which is equal to 2.5mg of CBD or 1ml dose which is equal to 5mg of CBD. Increase by ½ ml until desired effect is reached.