CBD Oil and IBS

By | 19/05/2019

A friend of mine called me last week.

He uses CBD oil to combat his anxiety issues and he is doing fine.

But, he didn’t call me to tell me that. He wanted to inform me that he saw significant improvement with his Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.

I had no idea that he suffered from IBS. To tell you the truth, I had a vague idea of what IBS was.

“Are CBD oil and IBS connected somehow or is it just a coincidence?”

Thanks Thomas!

I had no answers to give him.

Pretty nasty feeling for a curious person like me, I assure you.

But…

The “Sherlock Holmes” in me took immediate control of the situation.

I summoned my Watson (I mean the web!) and started investigating.

My target: to find out if CBD oil is the actual culprit of my friend’s IBS improvement.

ASAP!

With all my respect to Sir Arthur Cona Doyle, I proudly present you my “Study in CBD oil and IBS” 🙂

*This is for you, Thomas!*

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) definition, types and symptoms

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a recurrent gastrointestinal dysfunction which involves irregular intestinal contractions and gut hypersensitivity.  

Between 25 to 55 million Americans and an estimated 25% of the world’s population are affected by the syndrome.  

IBS is more prevalent among women since 65% of the individuals suffering from the disorder are female.

The syndrome isn’t life-threatening and the probabilities that you get more serious colon diseases like Crohn’s or any kind of bowel cancer are non-existent.

Nevertheless, Irritable Bowel Syndrome is an incurable, recurring condition that can significantly compromise the quality of your life.

IBS sufferers report being reluctant or completely unable to take part in common daily activities. Their disease makes them be frequently absent from work or forces them to shift to home-based jobs and -in severe IBS cases- even not work at all.

I am sure you see yourselves in these reports…

The syndrome causes unpredictable and debilitating physical symptoms such as

  • Excessive gas and bloating
  • Pain in the lower abdomen and cramps that worsen after meals
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mucus in the stools.

Abdominal pain is the primary indication of irritable bowel syndrome. It is linked with changes in bowel habits: diarrhea and/or constipation are both symptoms of IBS and the immediate consequences of these alterations.

IBS Abdomen

IBS is classified into 3 main types that depend on the frequency of occurrence of these symptoms:

  1. Diarrhea-Predominant (IBS-D) Your bowel moves frequently causing you diarrhea.
  2. Constipation-Predominant (IBS-C) Your bowel seems lazy causing you constipation and the sense of blocked rectum
  3. Mixed IBS (IBS-M) also known as alternating IBS (IBS-A). There is no consistency in bowel habits in this type. People suffering from IBS-M  have to cope with both diarrhea AND constipation.

Even though the medical literature talks about 3 major types of IBS, a subtype is also mentioned and I will add it to the list:

4.  Unsubtyped IBS (IBS-U). This is a particular type of IBS in which neither diarrhea nor constipation occur very often and the stool consistency does not meet the criteria for the three main types.

IBS is a messy condition!  

Even though IBS is one of the most common diseases diagnosed by experts, many patients can’t identify its signs and symptoms.

That is because IBS reveals itself in so many different ways -remember the 4 types! -and its symptoms fluctuate in severity and occurrence and differ from one person to another.

All of this creates frustration not only to IBS patients but to doctors as well since different treatments are needed for diarrhea and constipation.

Imagine having to treat the mixed IBS type! I am right calling it messy, aren’t I?

What causes IBS?

Scientists can’t give a straightforward answer to this question.

Research hasn’t been able to identify the exact cause of the disease, yet.

A lot of theories link IBS with several factors contributing to the onset of the disease:

  • Genes or familial tendencies
  • Infections
  • Inflammation
  • Psychological factors
  • Hormones
  • Gut bacteria

Research suggests that IBS negatively affects brain function and is associated with psychological disturbances like anxiety and depression.  Numerous studies have discovered alterations in the gut microbiota of IBS patients compared to healthy people.

These findings imply that potential dysfunctionalities in the gut-brain axis are liable for the genesis of the syndrome.

According to some scientists, IBS  occurrence indicates an impairment of healthy gut-brain interactions. For this reason, it is considered a brain-gut axis disorder.

Strange?

Not really.

All gastrointestinal system (GI) related activities are monitored and coordinated by your brain. In normal conditions, the gut and the brain are connected to manage and regulate the process of digestion.

When it comes to IBS, this connection appears distorted.

My granny used to tell me that our gut is the second brain in our body. She wasn’t a scientist; she belonged to a generation with “ancient” wisdom and knowledge.

She wasn’t wrong. Science considers the gut the second brain in our system.

These two brains communicate with and influence each other using a two-way communication channel.

Think about this:

Whenever the nerves existing in the gut become oversensitive, alterations in the brain may occur. On the other hand, intense feelings or anxiety can trigger excessive gut reactions.

Scientists believe that this disturbance in the functional connection between the brain and the gut may play a key role in the genesis of the syndrome.

So, is IBS an “irritable brain” or an “irritable bowel” syndrome?

Scientists believe it’s both. IBS symptoms are linked to emotions and reduced stress and anxiety levels seem to have a positive effect on the symptoms.

“ Psychosocial factors contribute to predisposition, precipitation, and perpetuation of IBS symptoms. … We conclude that it is both brain and bowel mechanisms that are responsible. .”

Susanta Kumar Padhy, Swapnajeet Sahoo, Sonali Mahajan, and Saroj Kumar Sinha

We shouldn’t put the blame entirely on the “two brains”, though.

There are symptoms indicating that the bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract (=gut microbiome) may play a key role in the disease.

Excessive gas, the patients’ intolerance to certain types of food and the positive effects of antibiotics on the symptoms have been linked to gut bacteria.

IBS DIgestive System
The Digestive System

I know, it’s confusing.

Even since we don’t know the exact cause of the disease, one thing is certain:

There is a lack of homeostasis in the bodies of IBS patients.

You guessed right!

It seems that the Endocannabinoid System is involved.

IBS, Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD) and CBD

The relatively recent discovery of the Endocannabinoid System opened new avenues to scientific research on IBS.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex system of intercellular communication responsible for the regulation, promotion, and maintenance of homeostasis (=balance) in the human body.

According to Dr. Ethan Russo, the cause of treatment-resistant syndromes like IBS may be linked to a clinical deficiency of the Endocannabinoid System (indicating lower amounts of endocannabinoids in the ECS)

The  ECS is present in the Gastrointestinal Tract (GT) and it manages gut functions peripherally and centrally.

Specifically, it is responsible for

  • Controlling nausea, vomiting, and visceral sensation,
  • managing the gastrointestinal motility
  • regulating gastric and intestinal secretions,
  • controlling the oesophageal sphincter
  • regulating inflammation

The symptoms of IBS (pain, spasms, diarrhea or constipation, irregular bowel movements, digestive discomfort ) can be explained by a failure of a deficient ECS to do its job properly.

What is the role of CBD?

One of the central and most important roles of CBD is its interactions with the ECS to prevent the breakdown of the endocannabinoids and to prolong their action.

This mechanism of action of cannabidiol helps restore balance in the ECS.

So…

Your question is: Could it help with IBS symptoms?

My answer is: Affirmative!

Let’s see how.

How might CBD help with IBS?

Traditional treatments for IBS include dietary and lifestyle adjustments, probiotics and, of course, prescribed medications.

CBD oil can be added to this regimen and become a powerful ally to the war against the IBS symptoms.

Scientific research has brought evidence that CBD can combat the syndrome on multiple fronts:

It relieves pain

CBD is a natural painkiller.

It has been found to interact with receptors in the immune system and the brain and thus help with pain management.

Pain is a debilitating symptom for IBS sufferers. The analgesic effect of CBD can help them cope with abdominal pain and avoid the adverse side effects of prescribed painkilling medicine.

It reduces intestinal inflammation

CBD manages to reduce intestinal inflammation controlling what is known as the neuro-immune axis.

Enteric glial cells (EGC) are responsible for the mediation of chronic and acute inflammation in the gut and for the maintenance of the gut mucosa. They additionally play a key role in gut protection.

Yet, EGC may create inflammation. CBD has been shown to control ECG activation and therefore decrease intestinal inflammation.

Abdominal Pain IBS

It regulates appetite

IBS patients frequently feel nauseated. As a result, their appetite is reduced and they stop eating regularly for a period of time. When their appetite is restored, they tend to overeat making the IBS symptoms to flare up.

CBD stops this vicious cycle, by controlling nausea and regulating appetite.

It suppresses nausea and vomiting

Cannabidiol interacts with receptors that release serotonin. Scientists have found that low doses of the cannabinoid alleviate nausea and vomiting (caused even by chemo)  

It improves intestinal motility

CBD dampens the overstimulation of the CB1 receptors and impacts the enteric nervous system by interacting with the serotonin receptors which mediate motility An in vitro study has found that it can reduce chemical-induced hypermotility

It treats anxiety and depression

As mentioned earlier psychological factors are linked with IBS. The majority of IBS patients suffer from anxiety and depression. The anxiolytic properties of cannabidiol can help patients not only combat against anxiety and depression but avoid antidepressants and the danger of becoming addicted to them.

It reduces spasms

Cannabidiol has powerful anti-spasmodic properties.

Its interactions with the cannabinoid receptors existing in the Gastrointestinal  Tract, produce relaxing effects on the tissues. As a result, it reduces spasmodic episodes.

Methods of CBD administration for IBS

Taking into consideration the possibility of having a “starving” ECS (Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency), a systemic administration of CBD oil is the best approach.

A regular intake of CBD in the form of oil, tincture or capsule will “feed” your ECS and restore its balance.

CBD gummies and CBD vaping can help you cope with pain or anxiety when they flare up; the choice is up to you.

If you are interested in starting using CBD to treat your IBS symptoms, you’d better consult your trusted physician or a cannabis doctor. They can help you avoid possible CBD interactions with your medication and give you guidance with dosing.

Remember, there is no typical dose for CBD. Every individual has unique needs and experiences the symptoms of IBS in different levels of severity.  

The golden rule is always:

Start low and go slow

Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find your sweet spot and the relief you need.

Final Verdict

Lots of people that use CBD to treat IBS report a significant reduction of their symptoms (some of them say that their symptoms were even eliminated!)

Both science and anecdotal reports indicate that CBD may be a safe and natural way to treat IBS symptoms.

The syndrome is not curable so no one can claim that CBD will cure your disease.

It can better the quality of your life by mitigating the symptoms and offering you relief.

It can save you from laxatives, antispasmodic medicines, antidepressants, Lotronex,  Amitiza (you name them! ) and their adverse side effects.

It can restore balance both in your body and your life.

It can set you free!

(Thomas, it isn’t a coincidence! CBD is guilty as charged for improving your IBS symptoms)

Are you wondering which brand to choose?

I wouldn’t buy any CBD product from a source I don’t trust.

When it comes to CBD and health, you should be careful to choose a brand that is reliable, trustworthy and transparent.

Here follows a list of my personal brand choices. Their sourcing, extraction methods, lab tests, clients reviews, and my readers’ personal experiences prove their claims regarding the quality of their products.

Verified CBD

Try the Strongest CBD Oil! More than 50% off sale today!

Joy Organics

Avid Hemp

CBD Pain

Nganic

Nganic CBD Oil Premium + Organically Grown

Endoca

Review Endoca CBD oil

Elixinol

Elixinol CBD Oil Review

If you have any questions or want to share any personal experience regarding Irritable Bowel Syndrome and CBD, please, leave a comment below

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DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided is not meant to cure any disease or disorder. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider for any medical condition.

16 thoughts on “CBD Oil and IBS

  1. Phil

    About 25 years ago, I was very worried with having IBS, and 5 years ago again I had another scary period, but I’m fine now. Each time, lots of tests and modifications to my diet.

    However, now that I know I don’t have IBS, I still have other digestive system issues. Actually, it’s because I take a fair amount of ibuprofen, and it hurts my stomach lining. Do you think CBD oil could offer some protection, or am I off-track? Thanks

    Reply
    1. Effie Post author

      Hi Phil! I guess you use ibuprofen as an analgesic, right? Professional athletes have ditched it for CBD and have bettered their health. CBD is analgesic and anti-inflammatory so it can help you without the side effects of prescribed meds. I hope I will convince you to give it a try in the near future 🙂

      Reply
  2. Joo

    Hi Effie,
    I have had one student with IBS when I was still teaching in school, and the condition is really debilitating. The frequency with which he had to use the toilet was high, and he couldn’t take part in sports and games. It also affected his self-esteem, and there were so many days that he just couldn’t make it to school. It is sad, for such a young life to have to suffer like this.

    I’m glad CBD oil is able to calm and even eliminate the symptoms of IBS for many people! As I follow your blog, it seems that this amazing substance is the culprit for improving all kinds of health conditions. You’re doing such an amazing thing, sharing all this wisdom with the world.

    Reply
    1. Effie Post author

      Thank you so much, Joo! I am sorry that you can’t exploit cannabidiol’s benefits. Your country’s policy towards CBD should be changed. All people should have the opportunity to benefit from its properties.

      Reply
  3. James

    Great information here! Thank you for sharing this with us. I’ve read multiple posts on the amazing health benefits of CBD and the endocannabinoid system. The fact that they can even relieve IBS symptoms is very interesting, and leads me to wonder on the other benefits they have to our digestive health, and how they affect the microboime! Great post.

    Thank you,

    James

    Reply
    1. Effie Post author

      The secret of CBD’s ability to help treat all these ailments is its connection with the ECS that is responsible to restore, promote and maintain homeostasis. A balanced body equals a healthy body, don’t you think? Be patient, James. I intend to reveal the full potential of CBD slowly and steadily:-)

      Reply
  4. Ahimbe

    I had never heard of IBS until today when I read this post. I too turned to Watson for further information on the matter, especially in Africa. I didn’t get conclusive data may be due to most patients not knowing its signs and symptoms.
    Since known treatment for IBS includes a good diet, I see how CBD comes in the picture; and additionally offers relief by relieving pain and fighting IBS symptoms. If CBD oil can control nausea and vomiting then it has gone deep in solving issues related to IBS.
    I will keep looking out for your article releases, maybe you will write about Asthma and CBD Oil.
    Thank you Effie for sharing this information

    Reply
    1. Effie Post author

      IBS occurs less frequently among people with African heritage, Ahimbe. I am happy I helped you learn something today. Why didn’t you tell me that there is an asthma situation in your family? I would definitely love to check it out. You know that most of my articles are, actually, questions from readers and friends!Ι won’t keep you waiting for long, I promise

      Reply
      1. Ahimbe

        Thank you Effie for letting me know that you will soon be writing an article I have inspired. I really like your content and how you get it out to us the readers. I always look forward to the notification of your new article.
        Keep up the good work.

        Reply
  5. Rana

    Hi Effie,

    Thanks for such a nice and informative article. Actually, I did not know about CBD much before reading your article. I had a misconception that CBD only makes us high and it causes harm to the human body. But, after reading your article, I came to know that CBD Oils are really nice products to use. I, personally suffer from anxieties and depressions many times. I tried many different methods and yoga too. But, all went in vain. I am not saying that yoga does not work; the problem is inside me. I couldn’t give my full efforts in yoga. I can’t concentrate.

    But, after reading your article I am having a feeling that CBD is gonna work in me. So, no longer waiting, I am gonna buy CBD oils and try it at least for once.

    Any suggestions for me?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    Reply
    1. Effie Post author

      Welcome to the club of anxiety sufferers, Rana. I am glad you have no misconceptions regarding CBD oil anymore. CBD won’t give you a high, it’s its sibling THC that has this characteristic. CBD oil has been helping me cope with my anxiety issues because it has anxiolytic effects proven by science. You can check older posts of mine to get more information.

      I would suggest starting addressing your anxiety systemically using a CBD tincture. This is what I did and still doing. Occasionally, I use CBD gummies to cope with panic attacks. You can read my story in the gummies article. 

      In my post, I mention the brands I trust. I have so far reviewed some of them and trust all of them.  They are all trustworthy and transparent. If you want a CBD product with 0% THC then Joy Organics is the best choice 

      Please feel free to contact me anytime. I know what anxiety can cause to a person, I’ve lived it. Take care of yourself! Looking forward to hearing from you!

      Reply
  6. Louise

    Interesting article, I have suffered with IBS since childhood… not so much now as I have it under control with dietary adjustments.

    I do believe it is linked with anxiety and depression. I often got it more severely during stressful times at work. Different job and career now, so it really has calmed down in recent years.

    Good to know that there is another remedy/help with this condition CBD oil is good for many things.

    Reply
    1. Effie Post author

      I am glad you managed to have IBS under control. I know its symptoms are really debilitating. Psychological factors seem to trigger the syndrome and enhance its symptoms. The anxiolytic properties of cannabidiol can help people find inner peace and thus relief from IBS symptoms. 

      Reply
    2. Brian

      Hello, this idea over CBD has also been intriguing to many of us.
      I’ve also been hearing people talking about it. But I never found interest.
      But this article has opened up my mind and broadened my understanding

      Keep up sharing such wonderful information

      Reply
      1. Effie Post author

        It’s normal Brian. We are used to poisoning ourselves with big pharma medications. We don’t trust nature. We were led to question all natural remedies but not the synthetic drugs we are prescribed. Cannabidiol is so similar to the cannabinoids your own body produce! It’s not a miracle drug nor a panacea! It leads your body to function as it should restoring lost balance

        Reply

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