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Updated on February 11, 2024

CBD for IBS

Fact Checked

Key takeaways

  • IBS affects about 10-15% of the world.
  • CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid and serotonin receptors to promote possible relief from IBS.
  • CBD provides 3 important benefits to people suffering with IBS; pain relief, gut motility and anxiety-reducing effects.

Using CBD oils and other CBD products for IBS and other inflammatory based diseases have been extensively reported by several researchers. CBD helps to ease many symptoms linked to different diseases thanks to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Some of these therapeutic potentials and how it may assist people with IBS have been discussed in this article.

What is IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common stomach issue that affects around 10-15 percent of people worldwide. It can bring mild discomfort for some or more serious problems like stomach pain and bloating for others. IBS messes with how your stomach works, leading to changes in bathroom habits. Even though it doesn't harm your insides permanently, it can make daily life a bit tricky.

IBS affects the large intestine (colon). People with IBS may experience either diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both. The exact cause of IBS is not fully understood, but factors such as abnormal muscle contractions in the colon, inflammation, and changes in the gut microbiome may contribute to its development. IBS is a functional disorder, meaning it doesn't cause permanent damage to the digestive tract but can significantly impact a person's quality of life. The symptoms of IBS can vary in severity and may be triggered or worsened by factors like stress, certain foods, and hormonal changes.

How may CBD assist people with IBS?

CBD might lend a hand to your digestion by talking to your endocannabinoid system (ECS). Picture your ECS as a team inside your body, with natural endocannabinoids and receptors calling the shots. These receptors hang out in your nervous system, including your brain.

Now, here comes CBD from the cannabis plant – like a friendly sidekick. It can chat with those receptors, causing specific effects all over your body. Why? Because the ECS is the boss of many things, like your mood, hormones, and how you process food.

But here's a cool twist – CBD can also chat with serotonin, your mood buddy. It doesn't create more serotonin, but it's like a mood coach, helping your brain's receptors work better with the serotonin you already have. So, think of CBD as a friendly helper in your body, teaming up with the ECS and serotonin to keep things running smoothly!

After a successfully interaction between CBD and the receptors (Serotonin and ECS) it can provide the following effects on users.

  1. CBD may promote movement of the intestine

When it comes to IBS, dealing with irregular bowel movements is a common challenge. Whether it's intense bouts of diarrhea or frustrating episodes of constipation, IBS can make bathroom trips inconvenient and painful.

CBD is believed to bring a sense of calm to your nerves, possibly regulating how smoothly things move in your gut. This could be particularly helpful if constipation is causing you trouble. Additionally, CBD's potential antioxidant properties might contribute to a healthier gut, encouraging more regular and comfortable bowel movements.

On the flip side, if stress and anxiety are triggering diarrhea (a common scenario for those with IBS), CBD could be a friend in need. It has shown potential in calming stress, interacting with certain receptors in the body. Studies with mice have even hinted that CBD might help ease gut tension and contractions, influencing nerve channels to keep bowel movements in check.

  1. Reduce anxiety

Researchers have discovered a close connection between low serotonin levels and IBS. This not only affects how your stool moves but also influences your mood. Low serotonin is like a tagalong friend with stress, anxiety, and fear. Anxiety doesn't just hang out; it's got a direct link with IBS. And here's the tricky part – IBS can make anxiety worse, creating a cycle that's tough to break.

Now, enter CBD, the new cool kid on the block for anxiety support. Even though most CBD-anxiety studies have been with animals, the results are looking good. CBD seems to chat with receptors in the brain, making you feel calm and lowering stress hormones and heart rate. It's like a friendly helper for your mood!

  1. Pain relief

The intense abdominal pain that hits 70% of people with IBS is no joke. It usually happens because the nerves around the gut are a bit too sensitive. Now, here's where CBD steps in as a possible pain-relief agent. Studies with mice (they're like our little helpers in the lab) suggest that CBD could be a handy tool for easing digestive discomfort. It seems to do this by talking to specific brain receptors, which helps lower pain levels, rather than just reducing inflammation. Plus, the cool part? CBD didn't bring along many side effects in these studies.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for CBD to work for IBS?

Depending on the mode of administration and dosage, it will take from a few minutes to an 1 hour before you start feeling the effect of the CBD product. The effect of vapes kick in faster than oils, edibles and tinctures.

What are the benefits of CBD and IBS?

CBD provides three main important roles for people with IBS. It eases pain, reduce anxiety and gut motility.

Is CBD safe for IBS?

Yes, pure CBD products are safe for several conditions. This is because pure CBD products contain zero additives and pesticides that can trigger side effects.

Want to Learn More?

  1. Living, Beyond Organic CBDa Oil Vs. Dead CBD
  2. Is CBD Safe? What You Should Know About It
  3. CBD Regulations: Where Do We Stand on Organic Hemp Oil?
  4. The CBD Benefits for Kids — Why Moms are turning to hemp 
  5. What is CBDa? What To Know Now

Sources

Atalay S, Jarocka-Karpowicz I, Skrzydlewska E. Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019 Dec 25;9(1):21. doi: 10.3390/antiox9010021. PMID: 31881765; PMCID: PMC7023045.

Occhipinti K, Smith JW. Irritable bowel syndrome: a review and update. Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2012 Mar;25(1):46-52. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1301759. PMID: 23449495; PMCID: PMC3348735.

Camilleri M. Serotonin in the gastrointestinal tract. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2009 Feb;16(1):53-9. doi: 10.1097/med.0b013e32831e9c8e. PMID: 19115522; PMCID: PMC2694720.

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