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Can CBD Oil Help IBS? What You Need To Know

CBD or Cannabidiol is one of the compounds found in the Cannabis plant known to provide a wide range of health benefits, from anxiety and chronic pain relief to the treatment of two rare forms of epilepsy. Some CBD users also claim that they use CBD as an alternative treatment to IBS, a long-term gastrointestinal disorder that causes pain and discomfort. Unlike THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is directly derived from the hemp plant and does not cause any psychoactive effects. 

This article will discuss IBS more and how CBD may ease its symptoms.

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a lifelong problem that can impact your day to day life. It is a common digestive disorder that affects the digestive tract, specifically the large intestine. IBS can cause symptoms like bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, and abdominal pain. The exact cause of IBS is not entirely known but it’s been linked to things like stress, family history of IBS, food passing through the gut too quickly or too slowly, and oversensitive nerves in your gut.

How common is IBS?

Worldwide, the number of people with IBS is about 5-10%. Most people with the condition are under the age of 50 but older adults may suffer as well. In the UK, between 1 to 2 in 10 people are thought to have IBS. IBS symptoms commonly start between the ages of 20 and 30 and women are twice as likely as men to report having the symptoms of IBS. Lottie Drynan, an influencer from the UK, posts about the reality of life with IBS. She has over 200,000 followers on her personal Instagram where she helps her followers understand their bodies better and learn the importance of gut health. 

There is no cure for IBS and it can be very frustrating to live with the condition which has a big impact on your everyday life. However, only a small number of people with IBS have severe signs and symptoms. Some people can control their IBS symptoms by managing diet, lifestyle, and stress. Severe symptoms can be treated with medication and also counselling.

What are the Symptoms of IBS?

The signs of symptoms of IBS depend from person to person but they are usually present for a long time. The most common symptoms include:

  • Changes in how often you have your bowel movement
  • Changes in the appearance of bowel movement
  • Stomach cramps or abdominal pain worse after eating and better after releasing bowels
  • Bloating tummy feeling swollen and uncomfortably full
  • Diarrhoea needing to release bowel suddenly and sometimes have watery poo
  • Constipation feeling like you can’t empty your bowels fully and have a hard time pooing

Other symptoms of IBS include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Backache
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Flatulence
  • Problems peeing or needing to pee often

Can CBD Oil Help IBS?

Although managing your diet, taking medications, and having a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the symptoms of IBS, some people may want to try alternative treatments. Some of the medications for IBS can only target specific symptoms and may have unwanted side effects. If you’re looking for a more natural way to help with IBS, you may be wondering if CBD can help.

CBD is known to interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). These receptors are known to play a major role in the physiological processes including appetite, pain sensation, mood, and memory. However, there is currently no research on CBD for the treatment of IBS specifically. However, some researchers have suggested that CBD can ease its symptoms. Below are some of the clinical studies we have gathered to help you know more about CBD as a potential treatment for IBS.

Study 1

Because we have cannabinoid receptors all over the body including our stomachs, it’s possible that CBD can help with digestive symptoms. A study on the use of cannabis for IBS was published in 2014 by the National Library of Medicine. Researchers conducted a study on 30 patients with Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of your digestive tract. The results found that medical cannabis was associated with improvement in disease activity and reduction in the use of other medications.

Study 2

A review in 2020 by the National Library of Medicine also concluded that CBD could have potential therapeutic benefits for medical conditions like IBS. The review suggested that CBD helps module the ECS and might be beneficial for IBS patients as cannabinoid-based therapies for gastrointestinal tract disorders are focused on pain relief and modulation of intestinal motility.

Study 3

According to the Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, conventional pain management drugs do not effectively improve IBS symptoms. It includes NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and aspirin. But according to a review in 2020 by the National Library of Medicine, the biological effects of CBD suggested that it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help manage the symptoms of IBS.

The truth about CBD Oil for IBS

More research is needed to know the extent of CBD’s potential benefits in helping patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Early research on CBD for IBS determines that CBD won’t necessarily help with the main symptoms of the disease. It may be a useful remedy to help ease the symptoms but it’s not a cure. However, note that CBD can still be very useful for easing pain and discomfort associated with the condition.

CBD can be taken in a lot of different ways. You can use CBD oils sublingually (under the tongue) and CBD balms topically for easing pain and discomfort. Below are some of the CBD products that we have on CBD Shopy that may be useful for you.