CBD and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
*This information was submitted to Veriheal by an IBD patient who uses CBD to treat their ailments*
Recent speculation and research is revealing that cannabis is an effective treatment for those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is an umbrella term that encompasses a group of illnesses that manifest as chronic inflammation in the gut. This inflammation can take place in the esophagus, colon, and anywhere in between. Crohn’s disease (chronic inflammation throughout the digestive system) and ulcerative colitis (chronic inflammation in the colon) are typical examples of IBD. In 2007, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and suffered for many years. Then I discovered cannabis, and more specifically, cannabidiol (CBD).
I studied and found that CBD works as a potent anti-inflammatory compound that does not induce psychoactive effects (although THC has been shown to induce highly therapeutic, anti- inflammatory, effects as well. But we’ll save that for another article). Studies (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22163000) are showing that the CBD component of cannabis reduces intestinal inflammation. Researchers found that CBD not only reduces the expression of inflammation triggering proteins in mice, but that CBD shuts down inflammation in human colonic cultures. This is huge because it shows that CBD not only reduces inflammation head-on, but works through immune pathways to calm any underlying, negative autoimmune components of IBD, and in human subjects! I have a gut feeling that CBD is a good idea for patients suffering from an IBD!
When I was first diagnosed with an IBD, I was young and helpless. My GI doctor placed me on numerous pharmaceuticals— antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and even immune- suppressing drugs. Nothing seemed to work and every time a flare-up of intestinal bleeding plagued my life, my doctor would just offer me another poisonous course of prednisone (steroids) to temporarily ease my symptoms.
After reading about alternative, holistic remedies (CBD oil being one of them), I stopped all pharmaceuticals and trusted that I could heal naturally. I was right. CBD oil from cannabis has helped me maintain a 90% remission rate from my IBD as compared to a fluctuating 20-50% remission rate while bombarding my body with mass amounts of toxic pharmaceutical drugs. I began taking CBD oil twice daily. The anti-inflammatory benefits were apparent from the start. I not only felt a general improvement in all areas of digestion, but felt more ease in my bones, joints, and head as well.
Many other studies (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085542/#R1), one being from the University of Naples (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19729208), examines how CBD from cannabis can decrease oxidative stress that may cause organ damage. If excessive or unresolved, immune-related oxidative stress can initiate further levels of oxidative stress that can negatively activate the immune system, causing diseases ranging from rheumatoid arthritis, types I and II diabetes, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, IBDs, and depression. In the Naples study, there’s a specific focus on CBD’s effectivity against cancer. This is good news for IBD sufferers who have an increased cancer risk in digestive areas that have been exposed to repetitive tissue damage. For example, ulcerative colitis patients such as myself have an increased risk of colon cancer due to the copious amounts of colon damage accumulated throughout the course of this disease. So taking CBD as an IBD sufferer seems very promising not just to treat the disease itself, but to offset the risk of developing other complications caused by the disease, such as cancer.
Liver disease is another risk associated with having an IBD. I remember my doctor telling me this. The liver is taxed and becomes inflamed due to an excessive amount of inflammation in the body. But with our newfound hero, CBD, we offset this risk as well. The chance of liver complications decreases given CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties that go to work throughout the body.
Overall, researchers have been able to study CBD extensively because of its legality. Numerous studies show CBD’s effectiveness in treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The CBD, non-psychoactive component of cannabis contains potent, anti-inflammatory properties and properties that can turn off negative immune responses that are thought to cause some IBDs.
To treat an IBD, CBD is best taken orally as an oil rather than smoked. This insures direct contact with the digestive system for optimal treatment. Be sure to buy an oil that actually contains CBD rather than buying a bottle that says “hemp oil.” There’s a difference. Also, be sure to buy pure CBD oil that contains other cannabinoids as well. This keeps the true nature of the cannabis plant intact and ensures high bioavailability of the CBD.
On my journey of recovery from ulcerative colitis, I have found many healing techniques that help— plant-based eating, herbal supplements, juicing— but CBD oil seems to be the particularly powerful component of my healing journey that I will always come back to. CBD from cannabis has effectively transformed my mind and body into a place that IBD has trouble thriving in!