- IBD is a common inflammation of the digestive tract affecting over 2 million U.S adults
- There are types of IBD: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Studies suggest that CBD may contribute to symptom reduction in IBS, addressing issues like abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel habits.
What is IBD?
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a term used to describe disorders that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. It is a common disease affecting over 2 million US adults. There are two main types of IBD which have been discussed below;
- Crohn's Disease: affects any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus. It often involves inflammation in patches, and it can affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall.
- Ulcerative Colitis: this primarily affects the colon (large intestine) and rectum. Inflammation usually starts in the rectum and can extend continuously into the colon.
What are the common symptoms of IBD?
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can present with a range of signs and symptoms that may vary in intensity. Common signs and symptoms of IBD include:
- Abdominal Pain
- Weight Loss
- Blood in Stool
- Changes in Bowel Habits
- Reduced Appetite
- Joint Pain
- Skin Issues
Looking at the common symptoms associated with the two forms of IBD, you will agree with me that there's a bit of hope in the form of CBD. There are several studies pointing to the potential roles of CBD for pain relief, weight loss, stress, fever, skin conditions and appetite control. There are also studies that evaluated the possible roles of CBD oils in assisting people with Crohn’s symptoms. A 2009 research discovered that CBD reduced inflammation linked to colitis.
The other possible benefits of CBD that may be useful to people dealing with IBD are listed below;
- Antioxidant effect
- Pain relieving effect
- Appetite regulation
- Improves bowel movement
- Promotes the balance of immune cells and modulates immune responses.
What forms of CBD are best for IBD?
CBD products exist as oils, pills, capsules, vapes, tinctures and edibles. These products come with their unique interaction with the ECS and also provide different levels of bioavailability. If you intend to use CBD for IBD here are our best suggestions.
- Pills and Capsules: Consider daily use of CBD pills to help keep IBD symptoms under control. This method provides a convenient and consistent way to incorporate CBD into your routine.
- Vaping: For sudden IBD flare-ups, vaping CBD can be beneficial. Vaporizing allows for quick absorption, providing faster relief during times of increased symptoms.
- Edibles: If swallowing pills is a challenge, edibles like gummy candies or chocolates offer a tasty alternative. They provide a discreet and enjoyable way to consume CBD.
- Oils and Tinctures: CBD oils and tinctures, placed under the tongue, offer rapid absorption into the bloodstream. This method is ideal for those who struggle with pill swallowing and provides a versatile way to manage IBD symptoms.
- Skin Creams and Lotions: Topical creams and lotions are designed for treating joint problems and skin conditions associated with IBD, such as eczema. While they may not directly address internal symptoms, they can offer relief for localized issues.
For the most effective results, we would suggest you consider using full spectrum products. Full spectrum products contain all the naturally occurring compounds in the cannabis plant and they engage more receptors thereby providing more relief.
There is no recommended dosage of CBD for IBD. This is because we respond to CBD differently. However, a study published in 2018 shows that using 50 milligrams (mg) of CBD oil twice a day, with the option to increase to 250 mg per dose was well -tolerated. Those using CBD reported better improvements in their quality of life compared to those on a placebo, but results varied.
Other research suggests starting with around 40 mg and adjusting as needed. Like with most medications, it's wise to begin with the lowest effective dose and only increase if necessary, as lower doses generally carry fewer risks than higher ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does CBD reduce inflammation in the gut?
Yes, CBD has demonstrated potential in reducing inflammation in the gut, particularly in conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, CBD modulates immune responses and regulates inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.
Does CBD oil help Crohn's and colitis?
Research suggests that CBD may offer potential benefits for individuals with Crohn's disease and colitis, both forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). CBD's anti-inflammatory properties and interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) make it a candidate for modulating immune responses and alleviating inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Studies indicate that CBD could help manage symptoms associated with IBD, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fatigue. Some individuals with IBD using CBD reported improvements in their quality of life.
Does CBD help with bowel issues?
CBD (cannabidiol) holds promise in addressing bowel issues by virtue of its anti-inflammatory properties and interactions with the endocannabinoid system. Its ability to reduce inflammation may be particularly beneficial for conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), where inflammation plays a significant role. CBD's analgesic effects could help manage abdominal pain associated with bowel issues, and its potential to regulate gut motility may be relevant for conditions involving abnormal digestive tract movement. Studies suggest that CBD may contribute to symptom reduction in IBS, addressing issues like abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel habits.
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Ahmed W, Katz S. Therapeutic Use of Cannabis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2016 Nov;12(11):668-679. PMID: 28035196; PMCID: PMC5193087.
Melissa J Benson, Sarah V Abelev, Susan J Connor, Crispin J Corte, Lewis J Martin, Lucy K Gold, Anastasia S Suraev, Iain S McGregor, Medicinal Cannabis for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Survey of Perspectives, Experiences, and Current Use in Australian Patients, Crohn's & Colitis 360, Volume 2, Issue 2, April 2020, otaa015, https://doi.org/10.1093/crocol/otaa015
Nishaanth Dalavaye, Simon Erridge, Martha Nicholas, Manaswini Pillai, Lara Bapir, Carl Holvey, Ross Coomber, James J Rucker, Jonathan Hoare & Mikael H Sodergren (2023) The effect of medical cannabis in inflammatory bowel disease: analysis from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry, Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 17:1, 85-98, DOI: 10.1080/17474124.2022.2161046