About 12% of people in the United States suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Those who suffer from IBS know that symptoms of this gastrointestinal disorder can include discomfort, abdominal pain, cramping, and bloating, among others.
These symptoms can flare up because of food or stress, but it isn’t always possible for doctors to identify the specific cause for this condition.
While treatments for IBS can vary, they typically involve managing symptoms though dietary changes and stress relief strategies. Doctors do not always prescribe medications, but when they do, the medications may only target certain symptoms or may involve unwanted side effects.
Fortunately, there might be other options. People with a variety of ailments have turned to CBD products for relief. Could these natural products work against IBS symptoms as well?
CBD may offer the relief some people are looking for without the side effects that come with certain prescription medications. One scientific review from 2020 indicated that cannabinoids, like CBD and THC, have a “high therapeutic potential to treat the diseased GI tract.”
It makes sense that cannabinoids would have a high therapeutic potential for gastrointestinal disorders because there are cannabinoid receptors all over the body, including in the stomach. It also makes sense because various studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory qualities of cannabinoids, and these qualities may help alleviate the various inflammation-related symptoms associated with the disorder.
Unfortunately, the effects of CBD on IBS have not been adequately studied, so there is not much scientific data available about this potential treatment option.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated in a 2018 report that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.” The report noted that the subjects of a particular study all tolerated CBD “with no signs of toxicity or serious side effects.”
The report also added that there might be a possibility of adverse affects caused by interactions with a patient’s existing medications. However, a patient can easily avoid this potential problem by discussing possible interactions with his or her doctor.
If you want to see if CBD helps alleviate your IBS symptoms, there are two important tips to keep in mind — consider selecting a product that you can ingest, and consider embracing the entourage effect.
It may be beneficial to choose an ingestible product because these products can better target symptoms experienced in your digestive tract than topical products can. Products like gummies, capsules, or oils might be some good options to investigate further.
The entourage effect involves the way different cannabinoids work together in the body. Research suggests that taking a combination of cannnabinoids together may be more effective than taking just one by itself. This means that full-spectrum CBD products may provide more relief than broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate.
It can be difficult to live life to the fullest if you often experience the uncomfortable symptoms of IBS. CBD products may not be appropriate for everybody. However, they may help some people achieve the symptom relief they need, so that they can get back to living their lives.