What is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?

IBD (not to be confused with irritable bowel syndrome) is an umbrella name that refers to a group of intestinal disorders characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract for a prolonged time. IBD can be very discomforting and some cases may even be life-threatening. The two most common diseases associated with IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The difference is that Crohn’s disease may cause inflammation in any part of the digestive tract and mostly affects the end of the small intestine, whereas ulcerative colitis causes inflammation of the large intestine.

Common symptoms of IBD are diarrhea, bleeding ulcers, stomach pain, bloating, cramping, weight loss, and anemia. Additionally, IBD commonly causes problems outside of the digestive tract, specifically eye inflammation, skin disorders, and arthritis.

Exact causes of IBD are unknown; however, it is related to genetics and the immune system. The risk factors for developing IBD include:

  • Smoking: This is one of the main risk factors for developing Crohn’s disease.
  • Ethnicity: Caucasians and Ashkenazi Jews have a higher risk of developing IBD, however, all ethnic group may develop the disease.
  • Age: IBD mostly occurs before the age of 35.
  • Family history: People with family members that have IBD are more likely to develop the disease.
  • Geographic region: People living in urban areas have a higher risk.
  • Gender: Ulcerative colitis is more common among men, while Crohn’s disease is more common among women.

How can CBD help with Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome?

Cannabis has been used to treat gastrointestinal (GI) conditions that range from enteric infections and inflammatory conditions to disorders of motility, emesis and abdominal pain. The endocannabinoid system is distributed across our bodies and is specifically wide in the gut. This allows cannabinoids to affect gut-related activities such as bowel inflammation.

Cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce inflammation in the gut through its interaction with enteric glial cells (EGC). EGC is known to cause inflammation in the gut, which can be controlled through CBD. One study showed that patients with ulcerative colitis had a significant reduction of gliosis after CBD treatment. CBD targets gliosis in the gut and counteracts inflammation in ulcerative colitis patients. As a result of CBD action, damage in intestines can be reduced. As such, CBD is a promising therapeutic agent for treating inflammatory bowel diseases.

CBD also showed improvement in a number of other IBD studies where it was administered together with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Many people choose complementary and alternative medicine, such as cannabinoids.

You can read a few studies published by the National Institutes of Health on how CBD and other cannabinoids affect IBD at the following links:

Cannabidiol reduces intestinal inflammation through the control of neuroimmune axis.

Cannabidiol in inflammatory bowel diseases: a brief overview.

Therapeutic Use of Cannabis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Cannabidiol, a safe and non-psychotropic ingredient of the marijuana plant Cannabis sativa, is protective in a murine model of colitis.

Cannabinoids and the gut: new developments and emerging concepts.

Endocannabinoids and the gastrointestinal tract.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily represent any university, business or affiliates. While the information provided in this article is from published scientific studies, it is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Coast to Coast Natural is not responsible for the views and opinions shared in this article.

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