Cannabinoids And The Endocannabinoid System
Cannabis is composed of many different substances, and more than 100 of these are what we call cannabinoids. These, possibly along with other compounds known as terpenes, are responsible for the effects of cannabis. Cannabinoids most likely work by interacting with a complex system in the body called the endocannabinoid system . Our bodies naturally produce a family of neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids, which interact with receptors located in the brain, muscles, fat, and digestive tract. These receptors are called cannabinoid receptor type 1 and cannabinoid receptor type 2 .
Scientists only recently found evidence of the ECS when they discovered CB1 in 1988, so research is still ongoing into exactly how it functions. However, most data find that it helps our bodies regulate pain, mood, appetite, gastrointestinal motility, memory, emotions, stress response, immune function, and more. When a person ingests the plant-based cannabinoids in cannabis, which are similar molecular shapes to endocannabinoids, they fit into the CB1 and CB2 receptors and trigger reactions that result in either very high or very low levels of specific neurotransmitters, which the cells of the nervous system, as well as other systems in the body, use to communicate with each other.
The two most important cannabinoids, and the two that typically compose the majority of cannabinoids in cannabis, are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol .
Indica Or Sativa For Ibs: The Right Strain For Faster Ibs Relief
Cannabis is seen as a cure-all, natural treatment for a variety of medical conditions. It can stop the pain, ease stress and anxiety and can block the symptoms of neurologic aging. You can find patients looking for relief in medical marijuana. This is why more and more countries and states are starting to change their opinion on medical cannabis use. But do you use indica or sativa for IBS?
One of the most common uses of cannabis is IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. Find out why marijuana is used for this condition and what particular cannabis strains are best for quick IBS relief in this informative post.
Treating The Symptoms Of Ibs
So far, researchers have found a number of ways that cannabis can treat some of the underlying causes of IBS. But medical marijuana can do even more for IBS patients. In particular, medical cannabis can help patients cope with a number of secondary problems that arise from living with IBS.
This includes things like pain, depression, anxiety, and a general sense of decreased well-being. In fact, this is precisely what a 2015 survey found. The survey asked 2,495 medical marijuana patients about a range of health conditions, including IBS.
After taking CBD-rich cannabis for at least 30 days, 100% of patients with headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, IBS, and spinal cord injury reported a decrease in pain or discomfort. This led to a significantly improved quality of life for people dealing with IBS.
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Does Cbd Help With Ibs
According to the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health, some evidence suggests that CBD could have modest benefits for inflammatory bowel disease. However, they note that more studies are needed to examine using CBD for IBS.
While there are limited studies looking at this, other research investigating the substances properties indicates that it may be beneficial for the condition.
A review in
- changes in appetite and weight
It is also worth noting that CBD may interact with certain medications, so people who take prescription medicines should speak with a doctor before using CBD products.
One of the main issues surrounding the use of CBD is the lack of information concerning long-term use and potential side effects. A 2020 study suggests that people generally tolerate CBD well with short- to medium-term use, with only mild side effects.
However, a raises concerns regarding the potential side effects of long-term CBD use. It emphasizes the need for both further study and regulation of CBD products.
Medical Cannabis Patients Share Their Stories
In 2019, a team of researchers performed an observational study of IBS patients and published the findings in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. A total of 127 patients participated in the study. The outcome showed that 30 grams of cannabis per month was a good benchmark for the majority of patients who did not experience adverse effects. In addition, researchers observed a decreased usage of other medications as well as clinical improvements in the IBS patients.
Another 2019 observational study, published in the Baltimore-based journal Medicine, considered outcomes for hospitalized patients suffering from ulcerative colitis. The researchers found that cannabis consumption was associated with shorter hospital stays as well as a lower prevalence of bowel obstructions.
IBS patients should consult with their physicians to determine if cannabis may be a viable treatment option and, if so, what an appropriate dosage would be.
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The Science Of Sleep Via Cannabis
There are different strains of marijuana. Some are more energizing, and some are calming and sedating depending on the balance of the different cannabinoids.
First, heres a quick primer on the science behind marijuana. This herb works because it contains different cannabinoids, two of which youll see most often:
- Cannabidiol . CBD has a number of health benefits, and is nonpsychoactive, meaning it doesnt cause you to feel high.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol . THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid, is primarily responsible for that high feeling.
Something else THC is responsible for? . So youll want a strain that contains more THC than CBD.
According to a 2008 study , ingesting marijuana strains with higher levels of THC typically reduces the amount of REM sleep you get. Reducing REM sleep means reducing dreams and for those who experience PTSD, it could mean reducing nightmares.
So the theory is that if you spend less time dreaming, youll spend more time in a deep sleep state. The deep sleep state is thought to be the most restorative, restful part of the sleep cycle.
Still, REM is important for healthy cognitive and immune functioning, and marijuana with higher THC levels could impair your sleep quality if taken long term.
But this isnt true across the board. Some studies have found that sleep can actually be impaired by regular use of marijuana. Its clear that marijuana changes sleep cycles.
What Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is a term used to describe a set of conditions that cause inflammation in the digestive tract, namely the colon and small intestine.
Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis are the two main subsets of IBD.
These conditions cause symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloody stool, weight loss and a lack of appetite.
While the names may sound similar, IBD is not to be confused with IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome.
IBD causes inflammation and ulcers in the bowels, while IBS mostly affects how the bowels and intestines function.
The major difference between IBD and IBS is that the intestines of those with IBS look healthy, while the intestines of those with IBD show signs of inflammation.
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Indica Vs Sativa Vs Hybrid
If youve spoken to your doctor, and theyve approved the use of marijuana to treat your insomnia, its time to choose a strain.
Think of choosing a strain like choosing a tea blend. You could go for straight white or black tea, or a hybrid. Here are the three most common kinds of strains youll encounter:
- Indica. This type of strain is considered soothing and relaxing.
- Sativa. Generally, sativa strains make people feel excited, happy, and energized.
- Hybrids. A combination of both indica and sativa, hybrids are blends that are often left up to the manufacturer or dispensary.
You can always ask people at a dispensary to recommend a strain for you or to help you find what youre looking for.
Dr. Jordan Tishler, a Harvard-trained physician and cannabis therapeutics specialist, recommends a strain with less than 20 percent THC. Anything more than that, he says, will make dosing difficult. Too much THC might make you feel groggy and sleepy the next morning.
Different strains will also have different amounts of cannabinoids in them, but when it comes to getting sleep, both Roman and Tishler recommend an indica strain to induce sleep.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ibs
In general, IBS symptoms are characterized by acute discomfort in the abdominal region.
Strange pains and stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and constipation, excessive gas production and bloating, food intolerances, weight loss, uncontrollable bowel movements are all very common IBS symptoms.
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Things To Consider Before You Try Marijuana
Smoking of any kind is a known health risk and should be approached with caution. Also, medicinal use of marijuana is still illegal in many areas.
Talk to your doctor about your sleep cycles. There may be long-term health consequences with interrupted REM, because much of the immune function repair takes place in deep sleep.
Long-term use of any sleep aid isnt recommended. Try these tips from Healthline to help you sleep better.
Please use marijuana responsibly. As with all forms of smoking, your risk of COPD can increase. Smoking marijuana is hazardous to the lungs, especially for those with asthma or other respiratory conditions. The use of marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding isnt recommended.
Long-term marijuana use has been shown to have changes on the amount of gray matter in the brain. For teenagers, marijuana seems to have even more profound long-term and lasting effects on the brain and isnt recommended.
More research on marijuana for medicinal purposes as well as the risk of COPD is still needed.
What Are The Risks Of Using Cannabis
Cannabis isnt without risk and with the legalization of cannabis, I see people dismiss the risks associated with use. Its crucial that we understand cannabis isnt risk free just because its legal, and its why I encourage patients who are interested in using cannabis for therapeutic purposes to pursue the medical route rather than self-medicate. A prescribing physician will review your individual risks based on your medical history so that you can make an informed decision and choose appropriate forms & strains of cannabis.
Some risks of cannabis include:
- Increased risks of motor vehicle accidents
- Cannabis withdrawal
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Cannabis And Other Gi Symptoms
While most research on cannabis and the gastrointestinal tract focuses on IBD, it might be helpful for individuals with other digestive illnesses. For instance, it seems to universally be effective at reducing abdominal pain. It can be especially useful for individuals taking opioid medications for abdominal pain, as research shows that cannabis helps patients cut down on or eliminate their need for opioids and provides a treatment with fewer side effects. Cannabis also helps individuals who have a difficult time eating enough by increasing appetite and it can help reduce diarrhea and nausea. There is quite a bit of evidence for many of these symptoms, so if you think cannabis might be useful for you, please consult your healthcare team to discuss the benefits and risks associated with its use.
One other gastrointestinal finding is that cannabis users are less likely to have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease than those who dont consume cannabis, possibly due to metabolic benefits from cannabinoids.
Medical Marijuana For Treating Ibs Symptoms
The evidence for treating IBS specifically is sparse at this time. Were beginning to see clinical experience suggesting effectiveness. Much of this effect appears to be related to a group of conditions that often go together.
A 2008 study published by the Neuro Endocrinology Letter concluded, Migraine, fibromyalgia, IBS, and related conditions display common patterns that suggest an underlying clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines.
Another study published in 2016 by Neuropharmacology stated that Cannabidiol , the main non-psychotomimetic component of mariuana, exhibits anxiolytic-like properties in many behavioral tests, suggesting that this component in cannabis can help reduce stress-like symptoms which many people with IBS may suffer. However, further investigation on this matter is still necessary.
Similarly, a review in 2016 of illness likely related to Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency suggested GI propulsion, secretion, and inflammation in the gut are all modulated by the ECS, providing a rationale for cannabinoids as treatment candidates for IBS.As examples, GI propulsion is under tonic control of the ECS,21 and cannabis was one of the first effective clinical interventions in the 19th century for the intense secretory diarrhea associated with cholera, a finding which was more recently validated with modern methodology.
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How Cannabis Works On Ibs
The endocannabinoid system exists in all vertebrates and helps regulate crucial functions such as sleep, pain, and appetite. The human body produces its own cannabinoids, which modulate and activate its various functions, but as its name suggests, the endocannabinoid system can also be regulated and triggered by cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
The ECS also plays a large role in maintaining homeostasis in the digestive system, and is involved in the internal biological processes that lead to nausea, vomiting, gut motility, and intestinal inflammation. As a result, the ECS may be an important therapeutic target in the treatment of diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract, including IBS.
The two primary cannabinoid receptors are present all over the body, and the receptor CB2 is particularly abundant in the gastrointestinal tract. Tetrahydrocannabinol , the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, helps activate both receptors. Research indicates that activating cannabinoid receptors in the gastrointestinal tract may reduce motility and inflammation, and decrease hypersensitivity in the gut. In addition, animal studies have found that activation of certain cannabinoid receptors inhibits visceral pain pain felt in the internal organs. In the case of IBS this refers to the intestines or bowels.
What The Experts Say About Cannabis And Ibs
In line with the research discussed in this article, Dr. Adie Rae, neuroscientist and scientific adviser to Weedmaps, added, Some clinical studies show strong promise for cannabis treating IBS, but it’s complicated. Cannabis and its constituents appear to improve the quality of life for these patients, although the severity of their disease may not measurably improve. IBS patients who use cannabis may be able to reduce their other medications and go back to work. They might have fewer complications and shorter hospital stays. However, in randomized clinical trials, the disease itself doesn’t appear to improve much. Lots more research is needed.
In terms of treating pain, one of the most unpleasant hallmarks of IBS, Rae said, IBS can be excruciatingly painful. Cannabis, and especially THC, are safe and effective treatments for chronic pain in adults.
Rae continued, Because cannabis can produce euphoria and relieve pain, it’s not surprising that IBS patients report a higher quality of life when they use cannabis. However, the role of the endocannabinoid system in gut health is indisputable, and the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects produced by cannabinoids are undeniable there has got to be something happening at the cellular level.
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Medical Marijuana And Irritable Bowel Syndrome : Does It Really Help
Medical marijuana has been consumed by patients with irritable bowel syndrome for many years. There are several studies that have been conducted that look at the effects of medical cannabis in alleviating symptoms of IBS by linking the deficiency of endocannabinoids to the progression of IBS symptoms.
In this blog, well look at some of these studies to find out how effective medical marijuana is for the treatment of IBS.
Why Medical Marijuana For Ibs
Studies have found that intestinal irregularities like IBS may be triggered by causes related to the endocannabinoid system, the bodys internal system of cannabis-activated neurotransmitters. More specifically, IBS may be triggered or exacerbated by clinical endocannabinoid deficiency , a condition where the body doesnt produce enough endocannabinoids.
When you consume cannabis, the cannabinoidslike THC and CBDbind to and activate receptors within the endocannabinoid system. This may help to explain why medical marijuana has shown some effectiveness for IBS.
Additional studies have identified large concentrations of endocannabinoids in the gut and have suggested interactions between the endocannabinoid system and gut bacteria. Certain endocannabinoid receptors, specifically CB1 and CB2, have shown evidence of serving a protective role in IBS. CB1 receptors predominantly impact the nervous system while CB2 receptors are associated with the immune system. Its possible that these receptors work in concert to aid both the digestive and immune factors associated with IBS, though more research is needed.
In addition, cannabis has been shown in various studies to treat specific symptoms of IBS, including muscle spasms as well as vomiting and nausea. So even if medical marijuana isnt able to remedy IBS at its source, it may offer significant short-term relief from the associated pain and discomfortparticularly in individuals with a severe form of the condition.
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Ibs: What Is It And What Does It Do To The Human Body
Irritable bowel syndrome causes a variety of symptoms that create restlessness and disrupt various functions of the digestive tract. Common symptoms of IBS include pain and cramps in the stomach, diarrhea, gas production, constipation, water bloating, weight loss, loss of appetite, and other issues related to the digestive tract. According to research, a patient with IBS is at a 10% higher risk of developing gastrointestinal infections.
These issues affect mental health as well, leading to depression, sleeping disorders, anxiety, stress, lethargy, and migraines.
Endocannabinoid System And Ibs
The endocannabinoid system is present in the GI tract, and is mostly localized to the enteric nervous system. Receptors for cannabinoids are also present on epithelial cells making the endocannabinoid system in the gut a potential target for diarrhea, pain, nausea & vomiting, and gut inflammation.
It appears that in IBS, endocannabinoid signaling is altered compared to normal population. Not only that, but some research suggests that those with IBS may also have difficulties naturally producing their endocannabinoids something being termed endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome. Since cannabinoids can affect gut motility and visceral sensation its been postulated that administration of synthetic or phytocannabinoids may help with pain and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. But what does the research say?
So far, almost all studies done in IBS have primarily been with synthetic cannabinoids, specifically dronabinol. One study had been completed with THC specifically. The study results are very mixed, with one study showing a slight benefit on reducing IBS-D symptoms, but the remaining studies showing no benefit specifically on visceral hypersensitivity, or pain. Interestingly, participants in one study with a genetic polymorphism in genes dictated possible response, underscoring that cannabis may only have benefit for IBS in certain genetic variants.
At this point, the research does NOT suggest that synthetic cannabis or THC will help with IBS symptoms.
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