How Cannabis Can Improve Your Digestive Health

February 18, 2020 02:02 pm ET
How Cannabis Can Improve Your Digestive Health

Cannabinoid receptors exist all over our bodies, even in our gut. Bloating, diarrhea, gas, stomach pain and stomach cramps are some of the unpleasant symptoms associated with digestive health problems and diseases. With a compromised digestive system, individuals take on greater risks such as a weaker immune system which is important for warding off illnesses. Cannabis can help… but how? 

Before we can understand how cannabis can help with digestive health and fighting off gut diseases, we must first understand what the conditions are. 

Common Digestive Conditions:

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): This condition involves backed up stomach acid that goes into your esophagus. The symptoms are like those of acid reflux but instead of occurring a healthy one or twice a month, it occurs daily. Persistent heartburn, bad breath, tooth erosion, nausea, and pain are common and altering symptoms for this condition. 
  • Celiac Disease: This condition involves a serious sensitivity to gluten where the immune system attacks it time and time again. This disease targets your villi, which helps you absorb nutrients from the foods you eat, and it will likely get damaged if the individual continues to eat gluten.
  • Crohn’s Disease: This disease is an inflammatory condition and affects the terminal ileum which connects the end of the small bowel to the beginning of the colon (although it can affect other areas of the digestive tract too). Abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight-loss, and fever are key symptoms for Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis: This condition is similar to Crohn’s disease but affects the colon instead. It is an inflammatory bowel disease. Sores and ulcers develop along the colons lining and are marked by the frequent and urgent bowel movements, pain with diarrhea and abdominal cramps. 
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): This condition is chronic and should occur in the patient at least three times a month for several months in order to be diagnosed. The occurrence of this condition includes stomach pain or discomfort as well as drastic differences in stool from one day to the next. Bloating is also a common symptom in this condition. 
  • Hemorrhoids: This condition entails inflammation of the blood vessels at the end of your digestive tract. They can be painful and itchy as well as involving bright red blood in the toilet when you move your bowels. 
  • Diverticulitis: This is a condition where small pouches form on weak spots in the lining of your digestive system (most commonly the colon). These inflamed pouches are called diverticula and are common among older adults. Fever and abdominal pain are the most common symptoms in this condition. 

Common Symptoms of Digestive Health Conditions:

  • Abdominal pain as well as pain in other related areas. 
  • Bleeding
  • Bloating
  • Fever
  • Heartburn
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight gain or loss

Using Cannabis to Treat Digestive Issues

There is roughly the same number of neurons in the gut as there are in the brain. The gut and the brain are also constantly communicating with each other. The brain talks to your digestive system, the digestive system talks to your brain and they both communicate with your immune system to coordinate your gut health. Your digestive system holds around 80% of your body’s total immune cells. The constant communication between the three parts is governed by your endocannabinoid system- which is where cannabis comes in. 

Inflammation is a major cause of digestive health concerns. This inflammation occurs when the immune system keeps attacking and causing collateral damage in your gut while thinking it’s helping. Cannabinoids contain many active compounds and the two most common compounds are the cannabinoids we’re all familiar with, Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabidiol. Both of those cannabinoids have potent anti-inflammatory properties and can be vital in reducing the inflammation in your digestive disorder as well as playing a key role in the alleviation of the symptoms. 

Cannabis has been used as a prescribed medication for thousands of years and is one of the worlds’ oldest medical traditions, especially among Chinese medicine. They have also been prescribing cannabis for a variety of digestive issues long before its’ presence became illegal. 

The anecdotal evidence of cannabis as an effective treatment for digestive disorders has led to human studies with results of 90% improvement of symptoms and 60% condition disappearance. AMAZING!

Cannabis Helps By:

  • Reducing and addressing inflammation.
  • Reducing and elevating pain.
  • Reducing and elevating nausea and vomiting. 
  • Helping maintain weight.
  • Helping with the reduction in fever, bloating, swelling and other symptoms of discomfort. 

The impact of cannabis as a treatment for digestive conditions still needs to be researched so that we can better understand how to appropriately treat patients with the natural wonder. Cannabis is also not a cure-all, you will still need to see your doctor and treat your condition entirely, especially if it involves pouches and cysts. However, cannabis can remain a very effective home remedy for conditions that are caused by inflammation at home.

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