Gastrointestinal Treatment: The Healing Ability Of CBD & It’s Properties

For thousands of years, the cannabis plant has been used for pain relief and the treatment of symptoms of common digestive diseases.

Cannabis SATIVA L plant has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine on various continents for analgesics that stood out among them was relieving labour contractions in childbirth and curing common digestive diseases.

The main reasons for using the cannabis plant were the relief of pain symptoms and also the prevention of nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

List of types of Gastrointestinal Diseases:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

  • Gastric Ulcer / Ulcerative Colitis (UC)

  • Crohn’s Disease (CD)

  • Nausea and Vomiting

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Gastro-intestinal diseases and treatment

Additional effects of Cannabis on the Digestive System

It recently emerged that the overall mood improved, with the help of the cannabis plant, and patients gained some control over the intensity of disease symptoms in different parts of their digestive system. Cannabis:

  • Weakens abdominal pain

  • Prevents diarrhea and constipation

  • Prevents heartburn

  • Prevents nausea and vomiting

In addition, the plant eliminates microorganisms and intestinal parasites and consequently improves the quality of life of patients. The side effects of cannabis are mild and tolerable compared to the serious side effects caused by conventional synthetic drugs. In the past twenty years, many studies have begun to examine the effect of CBD on gastrointestinal disorders and especially inflammatory bowel diseases. These research directions have been influenced by recent discoveries about the role and place of the endocannabinoid system in various processes in the body such as controlling inflammations or the properties of Phyto-cannabinoids as antioxidants and cytotoxic effect on harmful microorganisms and parasites.

The properties of CBD in treatment of gastrointestinal problems

When it comes to chronic gastrointestinal disorders CBD is effective against many inflammatory symptoms:

  1. It suppresses the increased release of interleukins, cytokines, monokines, and chemokines and in some laboratory models, it has been found that CBD increases the production of immune T-regulatory cells and their role in suppressing inflammation, as a mechanism for suppressing the excessive inflammatory response.

  2. CBD has been found to act indirectly on CB1 by suppressing the FAAH enzyme, allowing anandamide (AEA) to act for longer and bind to the CB1 receptor.

  3. CBD inhibits the recruitment of macrophages to the inflamed area in the intestines and consequently suppresses the release of TNFα that stimulates inflammation. (Gallili, R et al 1997).

Common types of gastrointestinal disorders

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Diseases caused by inflammatory damage to the walls of the intestine lead to chronic bowel disease and sometimes other organs involved in the disease. The two main diseases under the definition of inflammatory bowel disease are Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is associated with several hereditary syndromes and autoimmune diseases. This faulty mechanism probably creates a chronic condition in which the intestinal mucosa itself (the mucous membrane on all the inner walls of the intestines) does not function properly at the immune level, that is, the immune function is not optimal. Inflammatory bowel disease is also associated with a genetic disorder, that is, several genes have been found across many chromosomes responsible for the disease. About a third of these hereditary risk factors are related to both Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis, which explains some of the similar traits between these two diseases.

It has also been found that some of these genetic risk factors are also involved in processes related to other autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, lupus, psoriasis, asthma, and more. The genetic defects found in inflammatory bowel diseases are related to several different processes: Damaged ability of the immune system to respond to and eradicate bacteria, a flawed function of controlling secreting cells involved in the response against the metabolic products of the bacteria, as well as defects found in the process related to the development and resolution of inflammation.

For example, in normal situations, the intestine expresses tolerance towards food and antigens present in food, otherwise, any antigen will lead to inflammatory development. In patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, it has been found that the tolerance mechanism described above is defective, resulting in a lack of control over the intensity of inflammation.

This is when there is also apparently involvement that also includes acute reactions to gut bacteria. Both Crohn’s patients and ulcerative colitis patients were found to have antibodies against various bacteria including Escherichia coli. The development of the inflammatory response is associated with a variety of processes. One of the first processes is the activity of white blood cells of CD4+T, which leads to increased secretion of inflammatory cytokines, which in turn act on other inflammatory cells and so on. The inflammatory process is mediated in part by interleukins such as IL-1, IL-6, and TNF, which lead to the production of other inflammatory intermediaries and whose blockage by specific drugs is one of the ways to deal with the disease.

In addition, to the defective immune mechanism, there are hypotheses related to the involvement of various bacteria that can lead to the start of the inflammatory process. For example, it has been found that anaerobic bacteria and several aerobic strains can lead to the onset of inflammation. It has also been found that mental stress can worsen the disease.

Gastric Ulcer / Ulcerative Colitis (UC)

Ulcerative Colitis (ulcerative inflammation of the colon) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the colon. The disease is characterized by superficial ulcers in the inner wall of the colon, which may appear in specific areas of the intestine from the rectum region (a disease located in the rectum-only percolation called proctitis) to the beginning of the colon in the cecum region, or throughout the colon (pancolitis). Symptoms are most often bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, and excrements (faeces) accompanied by mucus. In addition, nausea or vomiting, fever, and anemia may appear.

There are several studies on the subject:

Crohn’s Disease (CD)

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. The disease may erupt in any part of the digestive system from the mouth to the anus, but in most cases, the disease erupts in the intestines, especially in the small intestine. The disease is characterized by repeated infections, adhesions in parts of the intestine, burning of the urinary tract, and the formation of intestinal blockages and ulcers that may develop and reach up to the intestinal wall and form fistulas (punctures formed between the affected intestinal wall and organs and tissues in the abdomen).

In an Israeli study whose results were recently summarized by Prof. Timna Naftali, Head of the Gastro Department at Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, cannabis oil was given at concentrations of 15% CBD and 4% THC to 46 chronic Crohn’s disease patients. In this study, a control group was conducted that received a dummy drug (Placebo). In the group taking CBD, measures of quality of life were found to rise, and an easing of symptoms of the disease in the same group in relation to the control group. The study was carried out for only 8 weeks and this may be why no effect was found on histological gastrointestinal infections (remission).

Nausea & Vomiting

Nausea is not defined as a disease but more as an unfocused symptom. It can be caused by travelling by car or sailing at sea, as a result of migraines, certain foods, pregnancy, mental stress, or a variety of other factors.

CBD has anti-nausea and anti-vomiting actions as a result of indirect activation of the endocannabinoid system in the body that regulates and controls sensations that lead to nausea and vomiting.

When this system is strengthened in an “external” cannabinoid such as CBD, the body can successfully cope with these sensations. The soothing effect of CBD on anxiety states adds to its effectiveness in preventing recurrent nausea. In experiments done in rats, CBD is found to suppress nausea of various types. THC is also effective in preventing nausea and vomiting.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

A syndrome that includes chronic abdominal pain, discomfort and a feeling of fullness in the digestive system, and changes in excrement habits. It is a functional syndrome, which means that this syndrome today has no organic explanation (there are no signs of the existence of the inflammatory disease in the intestine or other explanations that can be proven by various tests). Changes to digestion habits can include diarrhea or constipation. Although there is currently no cure that can cure those with this syndrome, there are several treatments aimed at reducing symptoms. These treatments include a dietary change, medication, and psychological intervention.

Several diseases can manifest themselves as irritable bowel syndrome and should be ruled out: Diseases such as celiac disease, fructose intolerance, infections including infection by parasites (Giardiasis), various inflammations, and so on. Unlike these diseases, the main cause of the existence of the syndrome is unknown. There are several theories, The main one holds that there is a problem with the interaction between the brain and the digestive system.

There is countless evidence and anecdotal reports online about people who experience CBD to treat irritable bowel syndrome.

The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in the Brain-Gut Axis

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The latest research and the popular medical knowledge passed down from generation to generation meet in the 21st century for a collection of testimonies, studies, and numerous anecdotal reports on the positive effects of cannabis in general and cannabidiol in particular, on diseases and gastrointestinal disorders.

A large number of people suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, or various eating & metabolic disorders, who have begun to treat themselves through CBD products and report a marked improvement in quality of life.

Although there is no conclusive evidence of a withdrawal in the inflammatory process in the intestine due to CBD use, we believe that due to the legalization & regulation of CBD products worldwide, new studies will be conducted based on these directions. One of the great benefits of CBD in the treatment of intestinal diseases is the fact that it does not disrupt the daily routine and has no euphoric effects. The second clear advantage is that negative side effects that are common and familiar to those with inflammatory bowel disease treated with synthetic drugs do not exist when using CBD.

Start at a low dose of CBD and gradually increase the dose observing the personal response and disappearance of symptoms. Once the symptoms are relieved, there is no need to increase the dose anymore. Most of the reports obtained indicate that the body does not develop a tolerance for CBD’s effects

Read more: Mechanisms of action of CBD and the Endocannabinoid System

More studies on inflammatory bowel disease:

Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids Study on Gastric Ulcer and Colorectal Cancer

Changes in the Peripheral Endocannabinoid System Study on Eating Disorders

Cannabidiol in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

The endocannabinoid system in inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Metabolite produced by gut microbiota from pomegranates reduces inflammatory bowel disease

Cannabidiol in inflammatory bowel diseases

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