Microdosing Edibles for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Sep 07, 2023The nama Team

Are you dealing with irritable bowel syndrome? IBS may be challenging and debilitating, but we might have a natural solution: microdosing cannabis edibles can help you manage your symptoms and find relief.

Microdosing Edibles for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Traditional treatments may not always provide satisfactory results, but the therapeutic properties of cannabis compounds have piqued interest for their ability to address inflammation and chronic pain associated with IBS and promote gut well-being, even at low doses

Let’s dig into the science and possibilities behind this unique approach to managing IBS discomfort.

What Is Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine, also known as the colon. It isn’t one particular disease of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract but rather a group of symptoms that are different for each individual, and they all vary in terms of duration and severity. 

IBS is also known as irritable bowel or irritable colon, while many people refer to it simply as nervous stomach because emotional distress and tension often trigger the symptoms. 

Despite being a chronic condition, IBS doesn't lead to more serious conditions like colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

What Are the Symptoms of IBS?

The symptoms of IBS can be chronic or episodic. They are typically triggered by a wide range of factors (e.g., food, stress, and hormonal changes). This means they are not the same for every person, but there are some common manifestations.

  • Abdominal pain or cramping: often relieved after a bowel movement
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Sudden changes in bowel movements
  • Mucus in stool
  • Urgency: a sudden and urgent need to have a bowel movement
  • Incomplete evacuation: some people feel like they haven’t fully emptied their bowels after a bowel movement

As a chronic condition, IBS cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be managed. 

Different Types of IBS

IBS is classified according to the specific bowel movement issues you experience. This produces many different subtypes of IBS, categorized based on the most dominant symptom. 

  1. IBS with constipation (IBS-C) is characterized by infrequent bowel movements, straining during bowel movements, and hard stools.
  2. IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) involves frequent and loose stools.
  3. Mixed IBS (IBS-M) involves both constipation and diarrhea, often alternating between the two on the same day.
  4. Unsubtyped IBS (IBS-U) doesn’t really have symptoms that fit clearly into any of the above subtypes.

What Causes IBS and Who’s At Risk?

The exact cause of IBS is still unknown. It is believed to be a combination of different factors, such as:

  • Abnormal muscle contractions in the intestines (gut motility abnormalities)
  • Increased sensitivity to pain in the digestive system
  • Inflammation in the intestines
  • Changes in gut bacteria
  • Genetic
  • Certain foods
  • Mental health issues such as anxiety or depression
  • History of physical or sexual abuse
  • Gut-brain axis dysfunction: disrupted communication between the gut and the brain, contributing to symptoms like abdominal pain, altered bowel habits, and mood disturbances

How Are the Symptoms of IBS Managed?

Treatment for IBS focuses on managing symptoms and improving quality of life.

  • Dietary modifications mean that a person with IBS identifies and avoids trigger foods that worsen symptoms.
  • Lifestyle changes such as stress management, getting regular exercise, and improving sleep quality are essential. 
  • Medications can be prescribed, depending on the predominant symptoms. These include antispasmodics, laxatives, anti-diarrheals, and low-dose tricyclic antidepressants.
  • Psychological therapies may help manage symptoms.

These treatment options can offer significant relief. However, not all methods are equally beneficial to everyone. For example, IBS medications can sometimes carry a range of side effects that disrupt the body's natural balance and lead to unintended consequences such as gastrointestinal discomfort, hormonal imbalances, and adverse effects.

An increasing number of individuals are exploring alternative options to manage their IBS symptoms effectively and safely. One emerging approach gaining attention is the use of cannabis. Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD interact with our endocannabinoid system to regulate important bodily functions, including gut health and inflammation.

The best way to get a safe, effective dose of cannabis is with our microdosed edibles. Cannabis edibles can help you relieve anxiety and depression, lower the negative effects of glaucoma, and even contribute to cancer treatment strategies. (Read all about the powerful anti-cancer properties of THC and CBD.)

But how well do low-dose edibles manage the symptoms of IBS?

Before we give you a definite answer, here’s our in-depth look at Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 9 THC), its uses, benefits, and therapeutic applications. 

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What Is Microdosing and Why Is It So Popular?

Microdosing refers to the practice of consuming small amounts of a substance (in this case, Delta 9 THC) regularly to get the benefits without intense psychoactive effects. For cannabis, that typically means anywhere between 2 and 5 milligrams of THC.

These microdoses are too low to make you actually feel high or stoned, but just enough to provide some therapeutic effects by lightly engaging your endocannabinoid system (ECS) and activating those internal cannabis receptors and pathways. Low cannabis doses are thought to boost creativity, focus, energy, mood, and even act as nootropics (improve cognition and protect the brain). 

Low THC and CBD levels are perfect if you suffer from chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. Here’s why:

  • Low-THC edibles are the safest cannabis consumption methods. People really dig microdosing weed because it allows you to function completely normally while enjoying certain benefits in the background. With our low-dose THC edibles, you can experience mild euphoria and lots of therapeutic benefits for your gut, brain, and mental health.
  • With edibles, you avoid the carcinogens and lung damage associated with smoking. You get precise doses of THC and CBD in every gummy, which ensure a slow release of cannabinoids into your system. 
  • All our cannabis edibles have been carefully crafted and tested in a third-party lab to ensure quality and safety. Our THC gummies contain high-quality ingredients and top-notch flavors that will turn your daily practice of microdosing into a delicious snack.
  • Edibles with low THC levels provide longer-lasting effects. Gummies pass through your digestive system, leading to a slower onset of effects that can last for up to eight hours for some people. This is so much better for maintaining a consistent level of relief throughout the day, keeping those nasty symptoms of IBS at bay.

Check out our guide to the best THC microdosing products, where you can learn more about cannabis edibles with low amounts of THC. 

Why Is the Endocannabinoid System Important For Gut Health?

The endocannabinoid system is super important for our digestive system. Your gastrointestinal tract has a ton of endocannabinoid receptors that help regulate digestion and limit intestinal inflammation.

Anatomical, physiological and pharmacological studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system is widely distributed throughout the gut, with regional variation and organ-specific actions. It is involved in the regulation of food intake, nausea and emesis, gastric secretion and gastroprotection, GI motility, ion transport, visceral sensation, intestinal inflammation and cell proliferation in the gut. (Izzo & Sharkey)

The endocannabinoid system is a fascinating network in our body that helps regulate many important functions. The ECS helps maintain homeostasis: it keeps your internal environment balanced and running smoothly. It regulates things like mood, appetite, pain perception, inflammation, and more. It was discovered after researchers realized Delta 9 THC was binding to specific receptors in the brain.

The ECS is made up of endocannabinoids, which are natural cannabis-like compounds your body makes itself. There are also cannabinoid receptors attached to cells throughout the body that endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant) like THC can bind to and activate. 

THC can supplement your natural endocannabinoids and reactivate your ECS by binding to the two main cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. 

How Does THC Influence the Endocannabinoid System?

When you take a microdose of THC, the THC molecules interact with CB1 and CB2 and produce a wide range of effects. These receptors are found all over the body: CB1 receptors are primarily found in our central nervous system and the brain, while CB2 receptors are located in the immune cells. A very high concentration of CB2 receptors is located in our GI tract. 

The interaction between THC and CB1 receptors produces the classic “high” effects of cannabis when taken in higher amounts. At microdoses, CB1 activation provides therapeutic benefits without much psychoactivity. However, according to a 2018 study, a small percentage of CB1 receptors are also found in our GI tract. 

The full-length CB1R dominates in the brain and skeletal muscle, whereas the CB1Rb (with 33 amino acid deletion at the N-terminus) shows a higher expression level in the liver and pancreatic islet cells where it is involved in metabolism. 

While this interaction can help people with IBS reduce chronic pain and improve mood, we’re more interested in how THC interacts with CB2 cannabinoid receptors. High densities of CB2 receptors are located throughout the gut, including the enteric nervous system, gastrointestinal epithelial lining, smooth muscle tissue, and immune cells. 

…the CB2 receptor was shown to modulate immune cell functions, both in cellulo and in animal models of inflammatory diseases. In this regard, numerous studies have reported that mice lacking the CB2 receptor have an exacerbated inflammatory phenotype. This suggests that therapeutic strategies aiming at modulating CB2 signaling could be promising for the treatment of various inflammatory conditions. (Turcotte, et. al.)

This allows THC to bind to them, reduce inflammation, and alleviate symptoms of IBS

How Does THC Help Alleviate IBS?

Thanks to its interaction with CB2 receptors, THC shows potent anti-inflammatory properties. This friendly bonding also produces analgesic and antispasmodic effects within the GI tract that help alleviate problematic IBS symptoms.

  • Low amounts of THC reduce intestinal hypersensitivity. By binding to CB2 receptors, THC decreases painful nerve sensitivity in the intestinal lining. This lowers feelings of pain and discomfort.
  • THC relaxes GI muscles to relieve cramping. Activating CB2 relaxes smooth muscle tissue in the gut, leading to fewer painful muscle contractions and spasms.
  • THC helps our digestive tract to normalize motility. It engages with CB2 to inhibit abnormal intestinal contractions and restore normal rhythmic movements to reduce diarrhea or constipation.
  • The anti-inflammatory effect of cannabis also calms flare ups in the intestinal walls.

It's pretty amazing that small doses of THC seems to harmonize our internal chemistry and get the stomach feeling good again. We knew these low amounts offered so much relief, so we infused our juicy gummies and fast-acting liquid Buzz drops with hemp-derived low-THC for that perfect microdose experience.

But our edibles and THC drinks don't just offer an amazing experience. You can calibrate your THC intake with these fruity treats to ease the symptoms of IBS, lower intestinal inflammation, and abdominal pain, and bring your digestive tract back into balance. With our Energy gummies (only 2.5 mg of Delta 9 per serving), relief is just a bite away.

But there’s another cannabis hero with an extraordinary therapeutic role for IBS. Let’s talk about cannabidiol and its interaction with ECS. 

The Role of CBD in the Endocannabinoid System

Cannabidiol is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating and does not produce the "high" associated with medical cannabis. CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system in a unique way—it does not bind to cannabinoid receptors directly. Instead, it acts on other molecular pathways to boost endocannabinoid tone.

The reason we love CBD so much is that it improves the safety and tolerability of Delta 9. When CBD and THC are consumed together, CBD can modulate the effects of THC. This can help mitigate its potential psychoactive effects, such as anxiety or cognitive impairment, while still allowing you to feel its full therapeutic benefits, such as pain relief or relaxation. 

This unique interplay—referred to as the entourage effect—demonstrates the importance of CBD's role within the ECS, contributing to a more balanced and well-rounded cannabis experience. Let's explore the emerging research on the benefits of CBD for IBS, highlighting its potential as a natural remedy to alleviate chronic pain and inflammation and improve digestive function.

That’s why many of our edibles contain balanced ratios of THC and CBD. Our full spectrum CBD gummies are the best if you want to consume low, precise amounts of cannabidiol and Delta 9 each time. 

You can find more information about the effects and benefits of full spectrum cannabis products right here.

Can CBD Help With IBS?

While CBD doesn’t bind directly to cannabinoid receptors like THC, it employs different methods to bring harmony and stability to both the ECS and GI tract (and alleviate other gastrointestinal-related medical conditions).

  1. CBD inhibits the enzyme that breaks down anandamide (another endocannabinoid), allowing it to stick around longer in your system. More anandamide means more engagement with CB receptors like CB2 in the gut. This grants CBD its potent anti-inflammatory effects to calm irritation and reduce intestinal hypersensitivity that causes discomfort.
  2. The anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of cannabidiol alleviate cramping and stomach pain.
  3. CBD helps restore normal, rhythmic muscle contractions in the intestines. It inhibits gastrointestinal hypermotility associated with IBS diarrhea.
  4. CBD relieves anxiety, which can exacerbate IBS symptoms. Because of its low affinity for CB1 receptors, CBD has no psychotropic effects, even in higher amounts. Unlike THC, cannabidiol “appears to decrease anxiety at all doses that have been tested.” (Stoner)
  5. Cannabidiol can ease nausea associated with IBS.
  6. Cannabidiol inhibits fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) activity and restores balance to the endocannabinoid system.

FAAH is an enzyme responsible for breaking down anandamide. Individuals with IBS often show dysregulation within their ECS, including lowered levels of anandamide. This dysregulation often leads to chronic pain, increased intestinal inflammation, and changes in gut motility, which further exacerbate the condition. 

By inhibiting FAAH, CBD increases levels of anandamide in the body, allowing it to bind to cannabinoid receptors and potentially exert therapeutic effects.

Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) degrades endocannabinoids, including 2-arachidonoylglycerol and anandamide. Cannabinoid receptors (eg, CB1) experience increased activation with FAAH inhibition. Interestingly, CBD inhibits FAAH to potentially increase levels of endocannabinoids, which in turn act on endocannabinoid receptors. FAAH is expressed in both the small and large intestine and has been postulated to contribute to gastrointestinal motility and homeostasis. (Story, et. al.)

The complex interaction between CBD, FAAH, and the ECS suggests that CBD's ability to inhibit FAAH may help restore balance to the endocannabinoid system, which could, in turn, potentially alleviate many unpleasant symptoms associated with IBS.

CBD also activates other receptors, like TRPV1 and 5-HT, which are involved in pain transmission and intestinal motility. 5-HT receptors in the gastrointestinal tract are heavily involved in regulating gut motility. 

Here’s what Story, et. al. have to say about the relationship between CBD and serotonin receptors:

CBD may also interact with nonendocannabinoid receptors involved in gastrointestinal function, such as those for 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), also referred to as serotonin. 5-HT receptors are found throughout the gastrointestinal tract and modulate gut motility. The effect of 5-HT on gastrointestinal function has been well established, and pharmaceuticals acting on 5-HT receptors are used to treat functional gastrointestinal disorders. 

In fact, both CBD and THC seem to increase levels of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that can contribute to the regulation of mood, appetite, and gastrointestinal function. Because CBD also has analgesic properties, it helps calm oversensitive nerves in the gut lining, reducing painful stimuli sensations.

If you share our enthusiasm for CBD, here’s our collection of the best hemp-derived CBD gummies. They help you reap the potential benefits of CBD in a convenient and delicious form. For individuals with irritable bowel syndrome, CBD gummies may offer relief from symptoms such as abdominal pain, inflammation, and digestive disruptions with no negative side effects. Only pure bliss.

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Can Long-Term Cannabis Use Trigger IBS Symptoms?

Because of its potential intense psychotropic effects, chronic THC consumption has some people worried. But the observational data linking chronic cannabis use with increased IBS risk is currently weak and inconclusive. 

A few observational studies have found an association between long-term cannabis use and an increased prevalence of IBS symptoms. Some of the proposed mechanisms include CB1 receptor downregulation with chronic THC exposure leading to gastrointestinal dysmotility or direct gut immune effects.

However, a significant link between chronic cannabis use at higher doses and IBS has not yet been found. More research is needed to determine if frequent cannabis use is an independent risk factor for developing IBS.

Occasional cannabis use does not appear to increase IBS risk. It is reasonable to conclude that long-term heavy use may potentially worsen outcomes or trigger IBS in some people. 

No worries: our low-dose edibles are perfect for everyday use and may be used for medicinal purposes to alleviate the symptoms of IBS without negative side effects. 

Order our Sleep Plus gummies and never have to worry about long-term side effects. Low amounts of THC paired with CBD and melatonin will ensure a soothed stomach for a peaceful night without flare ups. 

Why Are Edibles the Best Way to Microdose Cannabis?

Microdosing with our THC gummies offers many health advantages over smoking or vaping cannabis (yuck). We prefer our delicious bite-size treats over nasty, lung-harming cigarettes any day of the week.

Here’s why we love our edibles (and THC-infused drinks):

  1. Edibles have a longer duration of effects compared to smoking. When you ingest cannabis orally, it has to go through your digestive tract, which leads to a slower onset of effects. For some people, the effects of edibles can last for up to eight hours. This provides sustained relief for conditions that require continuous symptom management, such as chronic pain, anxiety, or insomnia.
  2. Edibles also allow for more accurate dosing. Each of our gummies comes with a predetermined amount of THC, making it easier to control and monitor the dosage. This is particularly important when your goal is to achieve subtle effects without feeling overwhelmed.
  3. Speaking of not feeling overwhelmed, microdosing edibles can offer a milder and more gradual high compared to smoking larger amounts of cannabis. 
  4. Edibles provide a smoke-free alternative to dangerous and cancerous smoking or vaping. Smoking can have potential negative impacts on lung health, increasing the risk of lung cancer and other respiratory issues. For those concerned about the respiratory effects of smoking weed, edibles let you consume cannabis without inhaling harmful substances.

Our Bliss gummies contain low doses of THC and CBD in a carefully designed ratio to provide the optimal microdose experience. The 5 mg of THC and 5 mg of CBD per gummy give you all the benefits of the entourage effect without the high. This microdose can help relieve symptoms of IBS like pain, diarrhea, and cramping by reducing gut inflammation and visceral hypersensitivity. 

What Is the Right Dosage For IBS?

We can’t exactly tell you what the right dose of THC and CBD is for alleviating the symptoms of IBS. This is different for each person, depending on their tolerance to cannabis, the severity of their symptoms, and other individual factors. 

We can, however, give you some general guidelines (that do not constitute medical advice) that may help you soothe your gastrointestinal symptoms and have a better quality of life.

  • Start low and go slow. This is our favorite piece of advice to give because starting with low doses of THC and CBD is the best microdosing practice. When you achieve symptom relief, you can slowly increase the dosage. This approach allows you to assess your individual tolerance and response to the cannabinoids.
  • Consider the best THC and CBD ratio. The optimal ratio of cannabinoids depends on individual preferences and symptom severity. Some individuals may find relief with higher CBD-to-THC ratios due to the potential anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of CBD. Others may benefit from a balanced THC:CBD ratio for pain relief.
  • Consult a healthcare professional. A knowledgeable healthcare professional can provide guidance and recommendations tailored to your specific needs, taking into account factors such as medical history, current medications, and potential interactions.
  • Keep track of your symptoms, dosage, and any changes you experience. This self-observation trick can help you identify the optimal THC and CBD doses that provide relief for your individual IBS symptoms.

Whichever edible from our rich selection you choose, you can’t go wrong. To calm both your nerves in the gut and upstairs, we recommend our low-dose THC Relax Plus gummies. They also contain 25 milligrams of premium CBD and the richest watermelon flavor. These fruity gummy bears will ease your pain and relieve your digestive symptoms. 

What Are the Common Side Effects of Cannabis?

Medical cannabis is generally considered safe. According to the World Health Organization, Delta 9 THC “does not constitute a substantial risk to public health.” 

At excessively high doses, it can cause some temporary unwanted effects such as anxiety, paranoia, and an increased heart rate. At low doses, it is benign and can even be an adjunctive therapy for treating many serious medical conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.

Taking too much CBD can cause short-term side effects like a drop in blood pressure, confusion, and sleepiness. However, these effects usually go away after a few hours. 

None of our Delta 9 THC gummies contain high doses of THC, CBD, or other cannabinoids that could cause negative long-term side effects. 

Microdosing Edibles FAQ

Some studies and population studies have suggested that THC may have a therapeutic role in alleviating symptoms of bowel disease, particularly in patients with active disease and an inadequate response to conventional treatments. 

Bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis often lead to severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including inflammation in the intestinal tract and diarrhea, resulting in liquid stools. Conventional therapies, such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs, are typically used to manage these conditions. 

Medical cannabis, including products with low doses of THC and CBD, may serve as an adjunctive therapy for individuals with bowel diseases, aiming to improve their quality of life by reducing symptoms like pain and diarrhea. 

While THC may offer benefits, there can be detrimental effects associated with its chronic heavy use, including euphoria and impaired cognition. Cannabis abuse remains a concern, especially for people who smoke it. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “young men with cannabis (marijuana) use disorder have an increased risk of developing schizophrenia.” There is also a higher risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms among heavy users compared to those who take small doses regularly. 

CBD and THC have both been studied for their potential therapeutic roles in managing gastrointestinal symptoms. Stomach problems, including irritable bowel syndrome, are characterized by a range of gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel habits.

The time it takes for CBD to help alleviate IBS symptoms varies from person to person. In some cases, individuals may experience relief within two weeks of treatment, while others may require longer to see noticeable improvements.

CBD's potential to reduce inflammation in the intestinal tract may lead to improvements in IBS symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal pain. However, the efficacy of CBD alone may not be as pronounced as products containing both CBD and low doses of THC, which can provide a more comprehensive approach to managing the symptoms of IBS.

CBD can be a suitable option for individuals with IBS looking for symptom relief. The method of ingestion matters, as edibles or capsules can provide a slow and sustained release of CBD, potentially helping reduce symptoms like liquid stools and abdominal discomfort.

But this slower and more sustained relief has more benefits than the quicker onset of effects and shorter duration of smoked or vaped cannabis. This extended release of CBD entering the intestinal tract over hours may provide greater relief from chronic IBS symptoms like abdominal pain, intestinal cramping, loose stools, and inflammation.

Human trials indicate oral CBD can improve quality of life in IBS patients, while inhaled cannabis has shown mixed results. Modulating the endocannabinoid system over time through daily oral CBD rather than stimulating it acutely may confer greater therapeutic benefits for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.

Smoking cannabis may not be the most advisable ingestion method for individuals with IBS, as it can have detrimental effects on respiratory health. Inhaling combusted plant material can irritate the lungs and airways.

The rapid onset of THC's central effects through smoking may not address the underlying gastrointestinal symptoms effectively. Their short duration of action is less optimal for controlling the chronic gastrointestinal symptoms of IBS.

Vaping, like smoking, offers a rapid onset of THC's central effects but may not be the ideal ingestion method for managing IBS symptoms. Concerns about potential adverse effects on lung health and the risk of cannabis abuse should be taken into consideration when choosing an ingestion method.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is not the same as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

IBD refers to a group of chronic inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. These conditions involve inflammation and structural damage to the intestines, often requiring medical intervention and treatment with immunosuppressive medications. 

IBS is a functional disorder where symptoms are caused by changes in bowel motility and visceral hypersensitivity but without the immune activation or direct damage to the intestines seen in IBD. Symptoms of IBS include altered bowel habits, abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort.

While IBS is managed through dietary changes, stress reduction, and medications to treat specific symptoms, IBD often requires more intensive treatment like steroids, immunomodulators, or biologics to control inflammation and prevent flares.

Understanding the distinct mechanisms and approaches to treating IBS versus IBD is important. While some dietary and lifestyle changes may help both conditions, they have different underlying causes and treatment protocols. 

IBS is not classified as an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases involve the immune system mistakenly attacking the body's own tissues, leading to inflammation and damage. In contrast, IBS is considered a functional gastrointestinal disorder, primarily characterized by abnormal gut motility and sensitivity. 

While the exact cause of IBS is not fully understood, doctors and scientists do not classify it as driven by an autoimmune response. Treatment for IBS focuses on symptom management and improving the quality of life for affected individuals.

Preliminary clinical trials and human studies suggest that cannabis may offer potential clinical benefits, such as reducing inflammation and alleviating symptoms like abdominal pain and diarrhea. 

A 2011 study found that “cannabis use is common amongst patients with IBD for symptom relief, particularly amongst those with a history of abdominal surgery, chronic abdominal pain and/or a low quality of life index.”

Cannabis contains cannabinoids that interact with the body's endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating physiological processes, including immune response and inflammation. The potential therapeutic effects of cannabis in IBD may be linked to modulating this system, thereby reducing endoscopic inflammation and improving the quality of life for patients.

A significant number of patients with IBD currently use marijuana. Most patients find it very helpful for symptom control, including patients with ulcerative colitis, who are currently excluded from medical marijuana laws. (Allegretti, et. al.)

IBD encompasses severe diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Despite available treatments, some patients continue to experience symptoms and seek more effective treatments.

The profile of cannabis used for IBD varies, with some patients using medical marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids. The levels of cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, in these products can impact their effectiveness and safety. Balanced profiles that combine both THC and CBD may offer an increase in efficacy for managing IBD symptoms.

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is a condition characterized by recurrent episodes of severe nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain in individuals who use cannabis heavily or over an extended period. 

CHS typically occurs in three phases: 

  1. The prodromal phase with early morning nausea
  2. The hyperemetic phase with frequent vomiting
  3. The recovery phase

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome can be a debilitating condition, leading to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and weight loss. Stopping cannabis use can lead to withdrawal symptoms, making it challenging for individuals with CHS to discontinue cannabis abuse.

The exact mechanisms behind CHS are not fully understood, but they are believed to be related to the chronic activation of cannabinoid receptors in the body due to prolonged and heavy cannabis use. This chronic activation may disrupt the body's ability to regulate temperature and gastrointestinal function.

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) is a theoretical concept suggesting that some health conditions may result from an insufficient production or function of endogenous cannabinoids within the body's endocannabinoid system. This theory speculates that conditions characterized by inflammation, pain, and other symptoms, including irritable bowel syndrome, could be associated with CECD.

The idea behind CECD is that supplementing the body with exogenous cannabinoids, such as those found in the cannabis plant, may help alleviate symptoms associated with IBS. Some individuals with IBS have reported symptom relief from using cannabis products, suggesting that cannabis may address a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system.

Some individuals find benefits from products with a balanced ratio of THC and CBD, while others may prefer predominantly CBD-based products. The efficacy of cannabis use in managing IBS symptoms and addressing potential CECD is a subject of ongoing research.

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Resources

Cannabinoids and the gut: new developments and emerging concepts - PubMed. (2010, April 1). PubMed. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pharmthera.2009.12.005

Zou, S., & Kumar, U. (2018, March 13). Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System. PubMed Central (PMC). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19030833

Turcotte, C., Blanchet, M. R., Laviolette, M., & Flamand, N. (2016, July 11). The CB2 receptor and its role as a regulator of inflammation. PubMed Central (PMC). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00018-016-2300-4

Stoner SA. Effects of Marijuana on Mental Health: Anxiety Disorders. Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington, June 2017. URL: http://adai.uw.edu/pubs/pdf/2017mjanxiety.pdf.

Cannabidiol and Intestinal Motility: a Systematic Review. (2023, July 17). Cannabidiol and Intestinal Motility: A Systematic Review - ScienceDirect. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cdnut.2023.101972

The good and the bad effects of (-) trans-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 9-THC) on humans - PubMed. (2004, September 15). PubMed. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2004.05.009

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