For a long time, cannabis is being used medically for treating gastrointestinal disorders. Experts have been using it as an antidote to chronic diseases like gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and so on. According to the veterans, the endocannabinoid system, which is well distributed across the GI or gastrointestinal tract regulates the digestion of food and simultaneously builds up your gut’s defense mechanism. Cannabis perfectly regulates the homeostasis of gastric motility, thus decreasing intestinal inflammation and protects the barrier of the gut lining.
Now, where comes the use of cannabis or CBD for treating gut problems.
Gut Nerves are the Therapeutic Targets of CBD
Well, cannabinoid receptors ( CB1 & CB2) are present throughout the gut nerves. So, whenever there’s any disorder in your system, it completely involves the entire nervous system. As a result, they become the perfect target point of treating the disorders with cannabis. Scientists have also discovered how the cannabinoid receptors in the gut upregulates in certain gut ailments, thus trying to restore balance.
Other receptors like PPARs, GPR55, and TRPV1 are also present in the gut nerves. There are activated with any kind of intestinal inflammation and pain. These receptors become the therapeutic target while treating the symptoms by CBD or THC.
The Gastroesophageal Reflux
GERD is one of the most common disorders, irrespective of their food habits. It happens when the stomach fluid flows backward into the oesophagus, thus causing discomfort like chest pain, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, and sometimes, even a sensation of a lump in the throat.
While there are medications for treating GERD, studies reveal that the extended use of such drugs often leads to dementia and cancer. Sometimes diet disorders, weight gain, and other disorders are quite likely to happen.
On the other hand, cannabinoid stimulation of the CB1 receptors work wonders. First, it inhibits acid secretion and checks to damage of the stomach lining. Preclinical research certifies that cannabinoid activation of the CB1 receptor helps relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter, thus preventing reflux.
Human studies on THC has already shown the fantastic effects by decreasing acid reflux and episodes of heartburn and other discomfort. Aromatic cannabis terpenes, limonene, and more are also great for treating GERD symptoms.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis stimulate intestinal immune cells. Studies present that immune cells in the gut are dependent on the endocannabinoid system, suggesting that endocannabinoid dysfunction is one of the reasons of IBD. No doubt, it can serve as a therapeutic target.
Ulcerative colitis develops quite similar symptoms like Crohn’s disease and triggers chronic inflammation in the large intestine. People suffering from this are prone to develop colorectal cancer in the long run.
Studies done so far shows that about 12 % of people with IBD use cannabis to treat their symptoms. In fact, studies on the human receptors is quite promising.
Activating CB1 and CB2 receptors in the animal models have been quite successful. People with colitis have experienced significant reduction of their inflammation following medical cannabinoid regimen.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Today, IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is like a household disease. With extremely hectic lifestyle, frequent episodes of abdominal pain, bloating, gastritis, and altered bowel habits are like an everyday affair. Surprisingly enough, there’s a significant deficiency of endocannabinoid in the gut. Patients suffering from this also suffer from conditions like fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint problems, chronic migraine, fatigue, GI reflux, anxiety, & pelvic pain. Even, chronic stress is common in patients with IBS.
Basically, the clinical purpose of medical cannabis is to calm the gut, which is extremely activated due to the condition. Studies show that regulated usage of Cannabis provides a placebo effect, alongside reducing colonic motility. However, doctors always suggest a proper diet, and stress management support while administering cannabis management for treating this disease.
However, the usage of medical cannabis for treating gastrointestinal disorders is still under review. However, several studies present successful outcomes in reducing long-standing gut inflammation with medical cannabis regimen. Patients undergoing cannabinoid treatment should do so under the careful supervision of a medical practitioner