Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that you may have heard about, but if you’re lucky would never have experienced it for yourself. It is believed to affect between 25 and 45 million people in the United States. IBS is a prevalent condition that can have a significant impact on the lives of those who suffer from it, making it an ailment that people desperately seek treatments for.
While there currently isn’t cure for IBS, there are numerous ways to treat the condition and ease the symptoms. But, there is also a lot of debate about how effective these treatments are, and if they really work. Many of these methods involve adapting your lifestyle, which isn’t always easy and can take time.
But what about other natural remedies? Could there be a way to relieve the symptoms of this condition, without the need to significantly change one’s lifestyle? It turns out that CBD for IBS may be the solution that many of us have been looking for.
CBD is breaking new ground in the fight against IBS. Below we are going to take a closer look at this potentially revolutionary approach. Is CBD oil for IBS effective, and could it help relieve the uncomfortable symptoms?
What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common medical condition that causes mild to severe distress in one’s gastrointestinal system. It affects the large intestine and is considered to be a chronic condition with no known cure. This means that IBS patients need to manage their symptoms long-term.
This disorder is strongly linked to fibromyalgia – a condition that involves chronic pain. Approximately 60% of those with IBS also suffer from fibromyalgia, while up to 90% of fibromyalgia patients also have IBS symptoms.
There isn’t a diagnostic test for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but scientists are finding that the nervous system and bodies of IBS patients are physically different from the “average” person. These physical differences are helping experts discover new ways to naturally treat and one day hopefully cure IBS.
As it turns out, IBS impacts or could possibly be caused by imbalances in:
- The gut microbiome
- The endocannabinoids system
- Intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut)
- The immune system
This shockingly wide range of differences means that we should stop thinking of Irritable Bowel Syndrome as a mere digestive disorder. IBS truly is a “whole body” problem. The huge scope of this condition is the reason that seemingly unrelated treatments – probiotics, restricted diets, exercise, relaxation techniques, and supplements like CBD oil – could all work together towards one’s holistic well-being.
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS symptoms usually first start in early adulthood. Only a small number of people with the condition have severe signs and symptoms. Some people are able to control their symptoms by managing lifestyle, diet, and stress. More severe symptoms are treated with medication and counseling.
The symptoms and signs of IBS vary greatly. Here’s a list of the most common symptoms:
- Excess gas and bloating.
- Abdominal pain or cramping; lower abdominal pain is the most common symptom of IBS. Typically, the pain is less severe after a bowel movement.
- Diarrhea or constipation. Occasionally alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea.
- Changes in Bowel movements – IBS alters the amount of time stool stays in the intestines. This alters the amount of water in the stool, which gives it a range from hard and dry to loose and watery.
- Food intolerance. Many IBS patients report specific trigger foods. Common triggers include stimulants, like caffeine.
- Anxiety and fatigue.
What Causes IBS?
Essentially, when a doctor is unable to pinpoint the source of digestive pain, they call it IBS. Basically, they’ve labeled the digestive tract as “irritable” and easily upset. Unfortunately, there is no good reason as to why it’s upset – the cause of IBS is currently unknown.
While the precise cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is unknown, here are a few factors that appear to play a part in the condition:
- Inflammation in the Intestines: Some IBS patients have more immune-system cells in their intestines. This response from the immune system is associated with diarrhea and pain.
- Muscle Contractions in the Intestine: Intestine walls are lined with layers of muscle that contract as food moves through the digestive tract. Strong contractions that last longer than usual can cause bloating, diarrhea, and gas. Weak intestinal contractions can slow the food passage and cause hard, dry stools.
- Severe Infection: IBS can occur after a severe case of diarrhea caused by a virus or bacteria. It may also be linked to a surplus of bacteria in the intestines.
- Nervous System: Abnormalities in the nerves of the digestive system may cause you to suffer more than normal discomfort when the abdomen stretches from stool or gas. Poorly coordinated signals between the intestines and the brain can cause the body to overreact to changes that usually take place in the digestive process, resulting in diarrhea, constipation, and pain.
- Changes in Bacteria in the Gut: Microflora are “good” bacteria that live inside the intestines and play a key part in health. Research shows that microflora in IBS patients might differ from the microflora in healthy people.
Does CBD Help with IBS?
The cannabis plant has been utilized for thousands of years to treat many gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, intestinal pain, and inflammation in the bowels.
Recent studies claim that the cannabinoids naturally produced by the body play an important role in regulating the gastrointestinal system, which is filled with receptors that help these cannabinoids to function. Ultimately, receptors that also help ingested cannabinoids, like CBD, to directly impact the health of the gastrointestinal system, and in conditions like IBS.
Here are several ways that CBD and IBS might work well together.
- CBD helps to relieve nausea. Nausea is a common symptom of IBS, making it difficult for patients to eat regularly. This can cause IBS symptoms to flare up when the patient finally eats after long periods of time. Since CBD helps to relieve nausea, patients should be able to eat more regularly.
- CBD may help to relax the tissue in the GI tract, which may lead to less spasmodic episodes.
- CBD can help reduce pain and inflammation in the patient’s digestive system, helping to reduce the symptoms of IBS and the associated discomfort.
How to Take CBD for IBS
If you are new to CBD, it’s always recommended that you start on a low dose and only build up to a stronger dose if necessary.
Generally, the serving standard is 25mg of CBD taken twice daily. If you don’t experience the desired results, then you can increase the serving size by 25mg every three to four weeks until you find relief.
It’s important to understand that there is no standard dose for CBD oil because every person is different. The required CBD oil dosage depends on a variety of factors, including body weight, metabolism, type of CBD product used, and more. Therefore, there is much variation in the amount of CBD needed to find relief.
When using CBD for IBS, most patients find that consuming CBD oil at a regular time every morning produces the best overall effects. Keep the drops placed under the tongue for at least a minute before swallowing. This ensures the CBD enters the bloodstream quicker so it can begin to take effect more rapidly.
Final Thoughts on CBD for IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is an uncomfortable condition that affects millions of people all around the world. Although there are several treatments out there that strive to alleviate the symptoms of IBS, many of them are unsuccessful or do very little to relieve discomfort.
This is why many patients are turning to CBD for IBS. Studies are showing that CBD may offer a solution to people seeking a natural and simple way to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome. While CBD is no cure, many patients will testify to the beneficial effects it has on their bodies.