CBD & Your Digestive System

When we’re talking about digestive problems, we’re not talking about a stomach ache and a long trip to the toilet after the curry last night and we’re definitely not talking about those deathly protein farts. We’re talking about chronic illnesses, and their symptoms aren’t limited to just constipation, diarrhoea or stomach ache. Other symptoms include problems with skin, passing blood with stools and depressions in the functioning of the immune system among others, and these can feel debilitating at times and can keep you stuck inside the house, which isn’t good cause here at Nordic we want you guys to be as active in your lives as possible to live life to the max!

There Are So Many Different Digestive System Illnesses, But Here Are The Major Players

IBS: A common long term gastrointestinal illness is Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The main symptoms include stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. IBS can also cause fatigue in sufferers, as well as backache and bladder problems. The symptoms tend to come and go over time and bad periods can extend up to months at a time. The exact cause is still unknown, however there’s no known cure and it affects the individual for life – not good.

IBD: The two chronic long-term conditions; ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are commonly described by the blanket term, Irritable Bowel Disease, but there are other illnesses included in this term. Ulcerative colitis affects the large intestine whereas Crohn’s disease can happen any part of the digestive system from the mouth to the anus. On top of the main digestive illness symptoms mentioned earlier, other symptoms include fever, vomiting, anaemia, arthritis, jaundice and dry skin on the hands/feet. There are usually periods of severe symptoms called flare-ups, followed by long periods with little to no symptoms at all called remission. People with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease also have an increased risk of developing bowel cancer. The exact cause is still unclear however there are factors that are thought to play a part such as genetic predisposition or your immune system.

These symptoms of these illnesses can range drastically from manageable without any medication, all the way to requiring a host of medications such as antibiotics, steroids, immune system suppressors and anti-nausea or diarrhoea drugs.

Now when you’re on this many different medications, there’s always going to be nasty side effects, and when you’re taking them all at the same time it can result in pretty undeserable problems like weight gain or weakening of the bones. If you want an active lifestyle you don’t want anything additional getting in the way of your fitness.

It’s no surprise then that people look elsewhere for alternative treatments, and that leads us to CBD.

How Does CBD Compare To Normal Treatments out there?

It’s been no secret in the science community that people who suffer from IBD or IBS routinely turn to cannabis, and there are studies that have looked at how this alternative medication helped them. In Israel in 2011, a study monitored 30 patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, and found that of these, 21 participants showed a significant improvement in the symptoms and quality of life through using cannabis. This study however was small like most still are, but these results are promising.

CBD as we’ve mentioned before, has none of the psychoactive effects associated with cannabis and THC, allowing you to benefit from the medical therapies of CBD without any of the side effects or paranoia you’re warned about. CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, that spans throughout all your major body systems such as the immune system, the digestive system and your central nervous and pain signalling systems. CBD is thought to help regulate the natural bodily homeostasis, allowing your body to fix itself rather than relying on a medication to turn off a specific function, which could lead to side effects. CBD is also natural and generally seen as safe, with a high maximum dosage and very few minor side effects.

Additional research in 2011 looking at the effect of CBD on intestine biopsies from sufferers of ulcerative colitis found that CBD actually managed to reduce the inflammation and concluded it may have some potential for therapeutic uses for gastro-intestinal inflammation.

Here’s Some Other Remedies You Can Try To Treat Bowel Pain (Without Any Marijuana Or CBD)

If you’re suffering from some tummy pain not caused by an underlying illness (probably all that protein!), you could always try out these natural below to see if they help:

  • Peppermint or Chamomile tea – These tea’s not only taste good and are GREAT for reducing stress at the end of long day, they’re also strong anti-oxidants with anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties. They can help as muscle relaxants that can relieve those painful stomach cramps or spasms.
  • Over-the-counter medication – Things like ant-acids or Gaviscon if you’re suffering from heartburn, or paracetamol for the stomach pains. These may seem like no-brainers but one thing you gotta take from this is DON’T take NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or aspirin, as this can further irritate your stomach.
  • Eat low-fibre, high-binding foods: These foods include things like Bananas,, Ginger and bland carbohydrates such as rice / oatmeal / crackers & toast
  • Stay Hydrated (with water!) – And if all else fails and you’re still left visiting the bathroom more often than you’d like, remember to drink additional water (and maybe even rehydration salts) to stay properly hydrated!

References

  • Ahmed, W. and Katz, S. (2016) Therapeutic Use of Cannabis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Gastroenterology & hepatology, 12(11) 668–679. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28035196.
  • De Filippis, D., Esposito, G., Cirillo, C., Cipriano, M., De Winter, B.Y., Scuderi, C., Sarnelli, G., Cuomo, R., Steardo, L., De Man, J.G. and Iuvone, T. (2011) Cannabidiol Reduces Intestinal Inflammation through the Control of Neuroimmune Axis S. Gaetani (ed.). PLoS ONE, 6(12) e28159. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22163000.
  • Naftali, T., Lev, L.B., Yablecovitch, D., Yablekovitz, D., Half, E. and Konikoff, F.M. (2011) Treatment of Crohn’s disease with cannabis: an observational study. The Israel Medical Association journal : IMAJ, 13(8) 455–8. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21910367.

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