What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid found in its highest concentrations in the hemp plant. Cannabinoids are the fuel used to power the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a physiological system that maintains the internal balance of other systems. The ECS has two receptor sites, CB-1 and CB-2, which each have their own set of systems to balance. Cannabidiol stands out against other cannabinoids as it holds the ability to bind to both receptor sites. Functions like sleep, inflammation, immune system, pain and mood regulations all fall under the ECS. When these systems are out of balance, there is a cannabinoid deficiency in the ECS. To resolve this, one must provide the ECS with the cannabinoids needed to function.
How Can CBD Treat Gastrointestinal Issues?
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. Any part of the gut can be effected, from the mouth to the anus. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue and anemia are all associated symptoms. The exact cause is unknown, but appears to stem from an abnormal reaction by the immune system. The immune system seems to attack good bacteria, nutrients and food in error. Increased white blood cells build up in the gut, causing the inflammation.
CBD is known for it’s capability to reduce inflammation throughout the body by suppressing an overactive immune response. This also applies to any inflammation throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Cannabidiol’s ability to act as an immunosuppressant can prevent the immune system from attacking beneficial substances and bacteria, which would stop the build up of white blood cells.
Colitis is the inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. Diarrhea, cramping and abdominal pain are common symptoms. Fatigue, joint swelling and inflammation can also occur depending on the type of colitis. There are several causes including infection, decreased blood supply, allergic reactions or inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.
CBD is an anti-microbial, fighting off viral, bacterial and fungal infections. Cannabidiol works with the immune system to prevent the release of histamines in response to allergens, therefore reducing or preventing allergy symptoms. As mentioned earlier, CBD can reduce inflammation in the digestive system, which includes the colon.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a disorder that effects the large intestine. Symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea or constipation (or both). Similar to Crohn’s, there is no definitive answer as to what causes IBS. Abnormal muscle contractions in the digestive tract, nervous system abnormalities, inflammation in the intestines, severe infection and change in gut bacteria can be involved in any combination.
CBD is used in the treatment of muscle spasms, which can control the abnormal muscle contractions. As it treats Crohn’s and colitis to reduce inflammation, CBD can do the same for the intestines effected by irritable bowel syndrome. Severe infection can be alleviated by the anti-microbial properties, which have shown results in treating serious infections -like MRSA.