As the cannabis industry expands every year, due to legalization and popular demand, consumers and cannabis enthusiasts have begun to ask themselves: how could cannabis help treat countless diseases affecting people all across the US? As it turns out, even though there is plenty of anecdotal evidence about how cannabis has helped patients struggling with cancer, chronic pain, depression, and Crohn’s disease, there aren’t many scientific studies available in regards to how the plant performs against different illnesses.
One particular disease that has many voices in the cannabis industry searching for answers, is that of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Every year, more and more people are ailed by this illness. They typically spend months or years dealing with painful nausea and diarrhea, as well as abdominal pain, cramps, or painful bowel movements. Unlike other conditions, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the Irritable Bowel Syndrome doesn’t have a cure, which means that patients struggling with it will be enduring its awful effects for life.
Some of the factors that are believed to cause IBS are nerve irregularities in the digestive system, muscle contractions within the intestines, intestinal infection or inflammation, or a bacteria shift in your guts. So far, doctors and researchers aren’t sure about what exactly causes IBS. The fact that most IBS patients deal with different symptoms, makes it harder for doctors to prescribe a definitive form of treatment. Most medications typically cause addiction in patients, and are loaded with painful side effects.
Considering the success that medical cannabis has had against other illnesses, could it be possible that it might also work in counteracting Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Let’s take a look at the facts.
Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome
So far, what scientific evidence shows is that there are many ways to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Each method varies, according to the symptoms of each patient. Whether it’s bloating, bellyaches, or diarrhea, each situation calls for a different kind of medication. One of the most common medications to treat IBS is Eluxadoline, which mostly targets symptoms involving diarrhea. However, most doctors consider that the worst effects associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome are linked to stress and anxiety. This is only one of the many areas where cannabis might provide an enormous medical advantage.
Patients who struggle with IBS are typically recommended that they make important changes to their diets. A balanced diet, paired with a cannabis supplement aimed at reducing stress, would be substantially beneficial for holding back the effects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The more cannabis is legalized and accepted throughout different states, the more patients begin to take an interest in its medical properties. This is one of the ways the miracle plant has been taken into consideration as a possible solution for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
However, it will probably be a challenge for any patient struggling with this health condition to find a gastroenterologist who will prescribe them medical marijuana as a treatment. Some doctors argue that anecdotal evidence in favor of medical marijuana’s effectiveness shouldn’t be accepted unless it is backed by scientific data. The lack of enough studies on the effects of medical cannabis is definitely a nuisance in this issue. Because of the absence of detailed scientific information, some gastroenterologists think that medical cannabis can’t be deemed truly safe or effective.
Plenty of anecdotal evidence, on the other hand, shows that medical cannabis can be successful with IBS patients. What doctors would like to know in order to make any recommendations in this regard, is which delivery methods or dosages would work best for people struggling with this condition. More data will need to be obtained in order to specify this. Considering that IBS patients respond differently to medications, depending on the symptoms that they have, then testing with medical cannabis may even be more challenging. Patients who are going through lots of pain would gain certain benefits from cannabis, whereas patients who are struggling with diarrhea may not. The way these studies need to be carried out include placebo techniques and comparative tests, which could unfortunately still be a long way from happening.
How Medical Cannabis Might Counteract IBS
Approximately 15% of all patients struggling with Irritable Bowel Syndrome seek out a marijuana-based treatment for their symptoms. Doctors believe this is an important element for a potential acceptance of cannabis as a medical treatment for IBS in the near future. As of right now, however, this remains relatively unlikely. Medical cannabis could have major benefits for IBS patients, however, such as eliminating GI tract pain. The way cannabis works in the human body is by achieving a synergistic interaction, specifically as it binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors. This process typically lessens pain, which includes any discomfort at the level of the bowels. Future studies on medical cannabis will have to determine which cannabis method, frequency, or dose will manage to counteract the painful effects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
One of the most common symptoms endured by IBS patients is dyspepsia. This is the classification for several different medical conditions, such as nausea and vomiting due to a sensation of fullness. Most evidence in regards to medical cannabis shows that endocannabinoids like THC and CBD are successful in alleviating both symptoms. However, even though we may be certain of this, it still presents a problem in terms of dosing. How much of each component should IBS patients use? We still aren’t close to providing an answer to this question. Furthermore, some anecdotal evidence shows that THC may actually increase nausea in some IBS patients.
Testing and experimenting is the key, as it is often the case with most medical conditions that can be treated with cannabis. The lack of evidence is no obstacle for using a reasonable amount of dosing to cope with Irritable Bowel Syndrome’s most predominant symptoms. If you happen to be diagnosed with this uncomfortable illness, make sure to bring the subject up with your gastroenterologist. A strain with a reliable CBD percentage could be significant in decreasing stress and abdominal pain. If THC is too much for the symptoms you’re facing, then consider a strain with a predominant CBD load.