Cannabidiol or CBD oil is produced by diluting CBD extracted from the cannabis (hemp) plant with a carrier oil like hemp seed oil.
CBD is essentially a phytocannabinoid which is a plant-derived compound that binds to specific receptors in cells that affect neurotransmitter activity.
CBD is not psychoactive and this oil has been proven to have beneficial effects on health as it relieves a variety of ailments.
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Inflammatory Bowel Disorder
Inflammatory bowel disorder is characterized by a host of inflammatory conditions affecting the small intestine and the colon.
Primary symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, and severe rectal bleeding leading to ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
IBD is triggered as an immune response to various external or genetic factors. Anaemia is a complication that follows the development of IBD which has been estimated to have affected over 11.5 million individuals worldwide.
How CBD Benefits in Inflammatory Bowel Disorder?
The major benefits of CBD/CBD oil for IBD are linked with its ability to mediate pain and lower inflammation.
CBD helps in lowering the damage caused by persistent inflammation in the digestive tract by binding to receptors of the endocannabinoid (ECS) system. CBD also exhibits analgesic activity as the ECS is also involved in mediating the sensation of pain.
This phytocannabinoid also exerts broad-spectrum antibiotic activity and can be used to combat the growth of antibiotic-resistant pathogenic strains which trigger infections in the stomach and intestines. CBD not only provides symptomatic relief but helps in treating the major complications like Crohn’s Disease.
1. CBD Oil Reduces Inflammation
As the name suggests, IBD is chronic inflammation of the digestive tract that disrupts normal digestive processes.
Ulcerative colitis refers to the specialized condition where there is persistent inflammation in the innermost lining of the colon and the rectum.
Crohn’s disease is a more systemic complication where the inflammatory condition has spread throughout the tract and penetrates deep into affected tissues.
The reason behind the prolonged inflammation is a malfunction in the immune system.
Under normal circumstances, an immune response is triggered due to the presence of pathogens or foreign particles which leads to inflammation.
Once the threat has been dealt with, the inflammation subsides. But in IBD, the inflammatory state persists and the immune cells target the normal cells of the tract causing an autoimmune response.
Many studies have been conducted to find therapeutic solutions to reduce IBD and relieve the symptoms. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications are still the most convenient options to lower the complications relating to IBD.
However, autoimmune disorders are often difficult to cure and persistence drug use may lead to antibiotic resistance.
The Canadian GI Society has been researching alternative therapies for IBD and found that cannabinoids, particularly CBD, can help in lowering inflammation of the digestive tract without negative side-effects.
A 2016 study at the New York University also found that phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD can potentially treat IBD by acting via the endocannabinoid (ECS) system.
CBD lowers the degree of inflammation by binding to these receptors and modulating the immune response. However, this effect is dose-dependent and cannabis abuse can actually have an opposite effect.
What does it mean?
CBD has the ability to reduce inflammation in the absence of infection. As a result, this phytocannabinoid can be used to effectively reduce the symptoms of IBD.
2. CBD Oil Has Antibacterial Properties
Many studies have been conducted to link IBD with specific pathogens.
For instance, researchers have studied the role of Mycobacteria in the development of Crohn’s Disease (CD) and recently, it was found that a particular strain of Escherichia coli might be involved in CD progression.
Bacterial interactions with the fungus, Candida, exacerbates CD.
In case of Ulcerative Colitis (UC), reports have been made about the presence of Salmonella, Yersinia, and Shigella as possible causes behind disease onset whereas Clostridium difficile has been linked with disease progression.
While E. coli is part of the normal intestinal microflora, pathogenic subtypes or possible mutations might be responsible for IBD.
Wide-spectrum antibiotics such as rifaximin and ciprofloxacin showed beneficial results in the long-term treatment of UC and CD.
However, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics also leads to the development of resistant strains which harm the gut lining further and suppress the activities of the normal microflora.
Nowadays, research has been conducted to determine the efficacies of alternative medical therapies which show broad-spectrum bactericidal and antifungal effects.
A 2008 collaborative study between Britain and Italy has brought in to light the use of cannabinoids, particularly CBD, to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
What does it mean?
As cannabidiol exerts broad-spectrum antibacterial activity, it can be used as an effective therapeutic measure to treat IBD, particularly to avoid the development of antibiotic resistance.
3. CBD Oil Relieves Nausea
The symptoms indicating UC or CD are highly diverse.
This often leads to cramps combined with excessive salivation or a severely dry mouth.
Nausea is basically a condition wherein the patient experiences severe intestinal discomfort accompanied by a feeling of wanting to vomit.
It is a common physical manifestation of several health conditions and, in itself, might not indicate the presence of infection or inflammation.
However, coupled with rectal bleeding and inconsistent stool, prolonged and severe nausea implies the development of IBD.
As the symptom is difficult to deal with, seeking medical help is the best option if the condition is persistent.
Nausea might even lead to difficulty in ingesting food and oral medicines. Inhalation of vapours to reduce the sensation might be a better way to subdue the condition.
Extensive research has been conducted to treat IBD and several holistic approaches need to be followed to relieve daily symptoms like nausea and vomiting until the digestive tract has been normalized and the damages caused by inflammation has been counteracted.
The use of CBD as an analgesic to relieve abdominal and intestinal pain is also an effective way to subside nausea as pain is often a major cause behind it.
A 2011 review by the University of Guelph investigated the role of cannabinoids in regulating the sensation of nausea and vomiting.
It was established the non-psychoactive component, CBD plays a major role in reducing the intensity of nausea and suppresses the sensation when taken in limited, medically-approved doses.
What does it mean?
Phytocannabinoids like CBD have an overall calming effect of the body which helps in subduing the sensation of nausea and vomiting.
4. CBD Combats Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease commonly affects individuals between the ages of 13 and 30.
It leads to systemic inflammation in the digestive tract that might have been triggered due to an immune response to Mycobacterial infections.
This disease can essentially affect any tissue between the mouth and the anus but particularly damages the ileum, the lower part of the small intestine.
The exact aetiology of CD is unknown as it involves a myriad of complications. While an immune malfunction can act as a major trigger, genetics and family history of the disease might also increase susceptibility to the disease.
The major symptoms include abdominal pain and diarrhoea whereas others are rectal bleeding, excessive weight loss, nausea, and even fever.
Intestinal blockage is the chief outcome of CD progression. These blockages, coupled with the damage to intestinal tissue, often disrupt the normal functioning of the intestinal villi which are finger-like projections that increase the surface area for absorption of nutrients.
Hence, nutritional abnormalities brought about by CD might lead to growth problems in teenagers.
While studies have been conducted to find therapeutic solutions to treat CD, there is no absolute cure.
The most common treatment strategies provide symptomatic relief and nutrient supplementation. Surgery is the choice when tissue destruction has aggravated to extremities.
Hence, research to discover novel approaches to treat CD are ongoing.
A 2014 review by the Medical University of Graz has established the role of cannabis in the treatment of Crohn’s disease.
It was revealed that the cannabinoids found in this plant, particularly THC and CBD, have a marked effect on reducing inflammation by binding to receptors of the ECS.
As inflammation of the digestive tract is the chief concern behind CD, lowering this problem helps in combating the disease completely.
What does it mean?
Crohn’s disease has no definitive cure but CBD and other phytocannabinoids can act as potential drugs to treat the disease by virtue of their abilities to significantly reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.
5. CBD Oil Relieves Abdominal Pain & Cramps
One of the most common symptoms of digestive disorders is abdominal pain.
This sort of ache can be felt anywhere between the chest and the groin and there can be different types depending upon the location and intensity.
A generalized pain is more typical of IBD as it occurs due to stomach infections and intestinal blockages.
Cramps are a type of pain that mostly occurs due to flatulence or bloating. However, they can also indicate the presence of inflammation in the digestive tract if they are persistent and are accompanied by fevers and rectal bleeding.
Both these symptoms require analgesics to reduce the intensity.
Many studies have been conducted to provide symptomatic relief to pain victims. It is a regular nuisance and can affect the quality of life.
However, clinical studies have shown that treating abdominal pain when the patient suffers from IBD can be essentially difficult.
This is because medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can actually aggravate the disease.
A 2017 review by the Ludwig-Maximillians University observed the effects of cannabinoids on the entire spectrum of bowel disorders.
CBD and other phytocannabinoids like THC exhibit a huge potential in treating these diseases by triggering signaling cascades via the endocannabinoid (ECS) system. CBD, in fact, mediates nociceptors which control the sensation of pain in the abdomen.
As a result, CBD usage helps in providing pain relief even in severe cases of cramps without having any side-effects on the gastric and intestinal linings which are usually caused by NSAIDs and opioids.
What does it mean?
CBD helps in mediating the activity of nociceptors and help in lowering the intensity of abdominal pain and cramps while also treating the disease.
It is always recommended to consult a medical practitioner before using medication containing THC.
The dosage depends on the mode of delivery as the CBD products can be orally ingested or inhaled by a vaporizer.
The recommended dose for CBD oil to treat IBD is around 90-100mg per day till the symptoms subside. A mild dose of 25mg per day can be consumed as a follow-up.
Vaporizers can be used to relieve short-term symptoms such as nausea and 6-8mg should be inhaled to have a good effect.
The phytocannabinoid, CBD, has very few known side-effects.
Daily oral doses of up to 500mg can be had for as long as 6 months as it does not cause any unwanted complications.
A 2011 review stated that even high doses of almost 1500mg can be consumed per day for up to a period of 3 months.
However, the majority of the CBD products have varying amounts of the psychotropic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in them which is responsible for some side-effects.
While the quantity of THC is still too inadequate to produce a substantial hallucinatory effect, some individuals may be sensitive and hence, it is advisable, to begin with, small doses.
CBD often interacts with a class of liver enzymes which are responsible for metabolizing drugs and hence, might reduce the efficacies of such medications.
High-THC containing products might cause dizziness, disorientation, nausea, fatigue, impaired balance, hallucinations, and paranoia.
They might also raise the heart rates for a short duration and this condition is known as tachycardia. Cannabis products containing high amounts of THC should also not be accompanied by alcohol.
Pregnant and lactating women should consult a gynaecologist before consuming CBD products.
Caution should also be maintained while administering THC-containing products to children and adolescents as it might affect their CNS differently.
To summarize, it can be said that CBD provides several benefits in the combating IBD.
Firstly, it plays a major role in counteracting the prolonged inflammations that would otherwise damage the intestinal tissues.
Due to its antibacterial capacity, it suppresses the growth of pathogens like Shigella and Yersinia which trigger abnormal immune responses and exhibit antibiotic resistance.
CBD also helps in treating symptoms like nausea and prevents vomiting by providing a calming effect.
The anti-inflammatory effect of CBD is also instrumental in its ability to combat Crohn’s Disease which, to date, has no definite cure. Finally, CBD also helps in reducing the intensity of abdominal pain and cramps via the ECS.