CBD Oil for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
The use of the hemp plant for medicinal purposes is catching on quite fast. This has seen several countries pass laws that allow its prescription to patients with chronic conditions. Researchers and scientists have been able to harness a particularly important element of the hemp plant, CBD. This element carries important medicinal qualities without the harmful parts that raise all the controversies surrounding marijuana. One of the conditions that can be quickly and effectively remedied by CBD is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). CBD oil is slowly but steadily replacing the less effective supplements and diet changes in the management of IBS symptoms. But what is IBS and what makes CBD oil its perfect remedy?
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome often contracted as IBS is a disorder that mostly occurs in the large intestines. It doesn’t have a clear-cut cause but health officers have linked it to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The two conditions share similar symptoms with the difference being intensity and prevalence of symptoms. IBD is an autoimmune response that prompts the body to attack the cells in the gastrointestinal tract. While all that might seem unnerving, the good news is that IBS isn’t life-threatening. Just a small fraction of patients with the condition will suffer acute signs and symptoms. In addition, it doesn’t predispose you to vicious colon issues such as ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, and Crohn’s disease.
You might be wondering why IBS is gaining so much attention if it isn’t fatal. To begin with, the number of people who reportedly have the condition is alarming. About 12% of the UK population has IBS. Research also shows that a large percentage of that population are women and the condition sets in as from late teens to early forty’s.
Also, IBS is a benign and long-term condition that is quite painstaking to manage. Doctors have often prescribed special diets, change in eating habits or lifestyle, and stress management to relieve some of the symptoms in vain.
Symptoms of IBS
At the onset, patients will experience symptoms such as nausea, mild abdominal discomfort, gas, bloating, and mucus in the stool. These signs mostly occur after meals. However, note that they will not be classified as official IBS symptoms until it is established that they have been prevalent for more than six months. In acute cases, patients will experience severe abdominal pains, cramping, or varying occurrences of diarrhoea and constipation.
Is CBD Effective in Treating IBS?
A mention of CBD as medicine may stir up concerns and even ambivalence amongst some people. Well, this isn’t totally unfounded. It is a fact that CBD, often regarded as the healthiest part of cannabis, still contains traces of the controversial THC. THC is the constituent that causes psychoactive symptoms or high feeling on hemp users. It has been associated with the addiction that most enthusiastic marijuana users struggle with. However, the pursuit of CBD for treating IBS has mainly focussed on the CBD oil, which is a refined form of the raw CBD extract from the hemp plant.
CBD oil extracts may contain as little as 0.03% of THC to absolute zero depending on the amount of refining it underwent in the industry. Note that a little THC is acceptable since it has also demonstrated therapeutic abilities towards IBS symptoms such as spontaneous intestinal mobility. Having cleared that out, let’s dive deep into how CBD oil combats IBS and why it might be better than other conventional methods.
The Science Behind CBD Oil and IBS
Research surrounding the use of cannabis in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases is still scanty. Most evidence out there are anecdotal but they sure show that CBD oil is extremely effective in the eradication or management of IBS. The little existing research reveals that numerous cannabinoid receptors exist in both the large and small intestines. Cannabinoid receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which control how the body reacts to various stimuli such as pain. The process is called homeostasis. Cannabinoid receptors are found not only in the brain but also in various parts of the human body including the intestines.
Similarly, plants also have their own cannabinoids although of different strains. Cannabis plant or hemp is one of such plants and perhaps the most famous. It produces three major cannabinoids including THC, cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol. These can all act on the cannabinoid receptors in your body to deliver various benefits.
Some pieces of evidence point out that a disturbance in the balance of cannabinoid receptors within the body might actually be the cause of stomach disorders and IBS. This is often manifested in the form of pain and inflammation, hence the cramps and stomach pains associated with IBS. Further research shows that the body will naturally try to increase the number of cannabinoid receptors in the event of intestinal inflammation. If that doesn’t work, there is a need for some supplementary remedy.
CBDs, especially in the pure form of hemp oil, can help restore the balance in the receptors of the gastrointestinal to metabolize more cannabinoids. This way, they help reduce pain and restore normalcy in the intestines. They also go beyond that to enhance the speed of immune response to the conditions causing the inflammation in the intestines.
It is, however, important to seek professional advice from a licensed CBD health practitioner before you dive into the use of hemp for IBS remediation. Also, know when to see a doctor. Some red flags to look out for include weight loss, night-time diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, anaemia, unrelenting vomiting, and difficulty in swallowing. These might call for other medical interventions that the CBD won’t provide.
Is CBD Legal?
While marijuana as a whole is illegal in most countries, CBD is considered non-psychoactive therefore legal in quite a number of countries. The ever-growing number of anecdotal evidence, published studies, and media coverage on the effectiveness of CBD as medicine are making it quite difficult to restrict CBD use. However, there still exists a grey area when it comes to isolating the useful extracts from other harmful elements of marijuana. You will find some countries or states disallow marijuana but allow the use of CBD extracts for treatments, something that’s quite confusing. So how does CBD stand legally across the globe?
On a global perspective, we will start by scrutinizing the United Nations regulations on psychoactive drugs. The UN is a global treaty mandated to preside over such matters on behalf of the member countries. UN doesn’t place pure CBD extracts under the strictest level of international control owing to its medicinal benefits.
Moving on to Europe, there are a handful of countries that allow cannabis and by extension CBD. They include Italy, Belgium, Austria, Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, and Romania. For industrial production of hemp products such as isolates and oils, a maximum THC level of 0.2% is required.
In the UK, CBD doesn’t fall into the category of controlled substances. There are very little restrictions on the oil and so you can access them much easier than in most regions. The only disclaimer is that CBD specifically from cannabis is illegal in the UK. Only the hemp strain is accepted and is locally grown within the region. Just like in Europe, anything with THC levels above 0.2% is prohibited.
In the United States, the federal government still regards CBD as a Schedule I drug, a class that contains drugs with no medical backing or with a high risk of abuse. However, individual states have varying laws regarding the use of CBD oil. The states that allow their use include Washington DC, Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, and Massachusetts to name a few. Other states do not allow CBD alongside other marijuana products. They are Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota.