CBD For Chron’s
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) encompasses of a group of debilitating conditions that include both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which predominantly occurs in the large intestine. Conversely, Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, but usually occurs in the small intestine.
Symptoms can include abdominal pain, fever and bloody diarrhea. Patients often experience weight loss and fatigue, and may require surgery to remove the intestine, if the condition becomes severe.
While the exact cause of Crohn’s is unknown, researchers do classify it as a chronic condition likely caused by multiple factors, including the presence of a bacteria or virus, genetic heredity and an overreaction of the immune system (autoimmune response).
Can CBD conquer Crohn’s disease?
While cannabis is not a cure for Crohn’s, CBD and other cannabinoids may be very effective in relieving the debilitating symptoms. Israeli researchers lead the worldwide effort in the study of CBD and cannabis and its effect on many diseases. A small study that is pending publication was just conducted on approximately 50 patients with Crohn’s disease.
After eight weeks of treatment with a CBD/THC blend (15% CBD, 4% THC), over half of the patients experienced remission of their Crohn’s disease. Patients saw dramatic reductions in gut inflammation as well as blood biomarkers for inflammation. While larger, longitudinal studies are needed, this small study shows great promise.
Can CBD solve stomach symptoms?
For Crohn’s disease, conventional treatments are corticosteroids and antibiotics to control inflammation and to reduce the suspected bacterial agent in the gut, respectively. However, both of these types of medications have negative side effects such as allergic response and increased susceptibility to infection.
Does diet diminish Crohn’s disease?
There is no scientific evidence that what you eat actually causes either the inflammation or the immune response associated with Crohn’s, but having said that, certain foods and beverages can aggravate the symptoms. People with Crohn’s should avoid high-fat foods, acidic foods, dairy products and “gassy” foods like beans and cruciferous vegetables. Instead, try low-fat foods, ensure sufficient fiber intake but not too much to cause discomfort, and drink plenty of water to keep the intestines functioning properly.
People with Crohn’s disease often experience poor nutrient absorption and also may suffer from loss of appetite, so it is crucial for you to get the essential nutrients. Your doctor may refer you to a dietitian who can help ensure you are getting sufficient nutrients and calories.
Diet definitely plays a role, but scientists are simply not sure exactly what that role is. IBD has rapidly increased in recent decades, which suggests an environmental trigger. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and other institutions are looking at several pathways where diet may be an influence: intestinal inflammation, gut antigens, gastrointestinal permeability and altered gut microbiome.
Does CBD harmonize hormones?
CBD and other cannabinoids interact with a human’s natural endocannabinoid system that manages hormone and chemical balance to regulate bodily processes like sleep, mood and appetite. CBD activates brain and body receptors that in turn cause that receptor to either release or inhibit a chemical or hormone production. So, yes, CBD can directly affect hormone levels.
Does CBD keep “movements” in motion?
CBD might help bowel movements. Researchers at England’s University of Nottingham demonstrated that CBD reduces gut permeability, meaning that CBD is effective on the hyperpermeability that is caused by the inflammation characteristic of Crohn’s.
The GI tract is selectively permeable, meaning it absorbs water and nutrients from food while at the same time blocking the gut from absorbing harmful bacteria. Crohn’s inflammation disrupts this process, and the patient no longer has balance. This hyperpermeability is the main reason for diarrhea, the overarching symptom of Crohn’s disease.
The Nottingham researchers actually measured substances in the urine as an indication of how well the gut was normally functioning regarding permeability. In subjects who received CBD, the gut functioned much more normally. This means that CBD could have effect bowel movements, making them more normal, and thus alleviating diarrhea.
Dr. Timna Naftali is the lead researcher of the previously mentioned Israeli study, and she is also a gastroenterology specialist at Meir Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel. Naftali agrees with the Nottingham researchers, saying that cannabis oil does seem to reduce intestinal secretions which in turn reduces diarrhea. Naftali also pointed to evidence that CBD also slows down the movement of food through the gut, which can help with the proper formation of bowel movements.
Intelligent Ingestion of CBD for Crohn’s
While CBD intake can take many forms –oral, sublingual, smoking and vaping, among others—many Crohn’s sufferers prefer oral ingestion in capsule form. This way, the capsule is ingested directly in the gut where it can produce the best effect. Evidence is anecdotal, and scientific studies regarding the best method are definitely needed.
Crohn’s is genetic and is also an autoimmune disease, so no amount of CBD or exercise or dietary change will cure it. CBD as a supplement can help curb what Crohn’s patients say are the worst symptoms: diarrhea, abdominal pain and overall anxiety about the disease.
The best CBD for Crohn’s
These days, there are so many CBD products on the market, so how do you tell which products are effective, safe and right for your Crohn’s disease?
First, you want a CBD product derived from organic plants, usually hemp. You want a CBD solution where reputable farmers are growing organic hemp that is certified to be free of pesticides and other harmful agents.
Second, choose a CBD product that offers independent lab testing of their products and companies that actually post their lab results on their website for all to see. This will ensure that you are getting pure CBD and not anything else. Products that don’t offer lab testing have been found to carry pesticides, toxins and other harmful chemicals.
Third, choose a CBD product that is clear about dosage so you know exactly how much CBD per serving you are getting. We have found some of the best CBD companies to be Joy Organic, CBD Pure, CBDfx and Nuleaf Naturals.
Crohn’s disease affects millions worldwide. The disease is painful and debilitating and often requires surgery in its advanced stages. While cannabis oil won’t cure Crohn’s it is showing tremendous promise in alleviating symptoms. More and more people are turning to CBD as a complementary Crohn’s treatment. This is great news for sufferers of a disease that can cause malnutrition, ulcers and even intestinal blockages.
Because the disease is so poorly understood, doctors resort to the conventional treatment methods of steroids and antibiotics. Perhaps as researchers understand IBD even more, they will simultaneously better understand the mechanisms behind why CBD is bringing relief to so many Crohn’s patients.
Karen Asprey is a CBD writer and enthusiast who has made it her one woman mission to break down the taboo of cannabis, and make it more accessible to those who can benefit from it.