Recent research has shown that cannabidiol (CBD), one of the major therapeutic compounds found within the cannabis plant, can help relieve the debilitating symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn's Disease are the two major illnesses under the IBD umbrella where CBD has been shown to have great potential.
Reports focussing on rodent studies have found that CBD not only benefits the symptoms of IBD, but has also shown incredible promise as a possible cure as well.
A Little About IBD
IBD, not to be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), is a chronic illness that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. 1.4 million Americans suffer from the illness, with either of the two forms of the disease: Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease.
UC affects the large intestine and rectum, while Crohn’s disease affects the entire digestive tract; from mouth to anus.
Most sufferers can only hope to control their symptoms as no definite cure has been reached. Just some symptoms of IBD include:
- severe diarrhea
- weight loss
- rectal bleeding
- eye inflammation
When flare-ups occur, they are said to be debilitating at best and life-threatening at worst. And with most patients being diagnosed before the age of 30, most sufferers end up living with their disease for decades, receiving little to no relief from their symptoms.
CBD for IBD Sufferers
Luckily, research into the effects of medicinal cannabis has come a long way and now, CBD is making its way into the mainstream, with forthcoming research pertaining to its therapeutic qualities. GI Society, a Canadian society for intestinal research, is just one of the researches leading the way for CBD-use with IBD.
They reported on research made into the use of CBD oil for colitis and “found that administering CBD after inducing inflammation reduced it and that administering CBD before inducing inflammation prevented it from occurring at all.”
Dr. Jordan Tishler, a Harvard-educated physician from Inhale MD Health and Wellness, is also making use of this ancient plant - using cannabis to treat a number of ailments, including Inflammatory Bowel Disease. He says that cannabis is far less harmful in comparison to conventional medicine and maintains that he can count the patients experiencing negative side effects from cannabis on one hand alone.
Because of this, Dr. Tishler has found that when CBD is administered to his patients suffering from forms of IBD, they find the same or better relief from their symptoms, without the excessive side-effects felt from over-prescribed, conventional pharmaceutical medications. Although Tishler may believe in the benefits of CBD, he also highlights the necessity for careful regime planning, patient compliance and follow-ups as the keys to finding relief successfully - just like with any other medication.
Dan Mcmahon, IBD sufferer and writer, wrote for HoneyColony about his experiences with CBD oil for Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease and IBD symptoms:
“CBD has given me back a quality of life that years of debilitating pain and piles of prescription medications made me feel like I could never find again. I have been able to stay off of all of my prescription medications, and still use CBD products almost every day.”
Many more testify to the benefits of using CBD for colitis and other diseases with inflammation at its centre. Barry, a user of CBD oil for Ulcerative Colitis, explains:
“I’m a 59 year old man and I was first diagnosed with UC in the fall of 2015. After 50 pound weight loss and feelings of suicide I read where cannabis could alleviate symptoms. I was opposed to using conventional drugs because of really scary side effects some of which I experienced by my use of Mesalamine. I obtained cannabis in July of 2016 and have been smoking, vaping and ingesting it throughout the day and night... I’ve gained 30 pounds since October and have 2 to 3 solid stools daily. I’m in complete remission and will continue with this regimen indefinitely because it works.”
Another UC sufferer has, like Barry, found remarkable relief with the use of CBD:
“It’s working for me…I am a 53 year old male, diagnosed severe pain colitis / UC. June 2016, a week in hospital two transfusions, lost 30 pounds… Local Dr pushed hard for Remicade had two treatments and severe allergic reaction during the third infusion led me to try marijuana for the 1st time in my life. I took myself off of all medications and smoked four inhalations nightly before bed. I can literally feel my colon relax after smoking and my bowel movements became formed after several days... a smart diet along with nightly cannabis. No flare ups and formed stools now going on four months.”
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CBD Oil for Ulcerative Colitis
A recent breakthrough in Crohn’s disease research claims to not only control of symptoms, but to possibly cure the disease. The international team, led by Case Western University School of Medicine, found that the fungi and bacteria in a Crohn’s patient’s body deviate from those found in healthy individuals after the fecal matter of a family was studied. The Crohn’s patient had more of two types of bacteria and one fungus, which created a slimy film causing inflammation in the intestines.
The discovery of the antifungal and antibacterial properties of cannabis brought the possible treatment and perhaps even cure for Crohn’s and other IBD sufferers to light. Researchers are cultivating strains to maximize the antifungal and antibacterial properties of CBD to use for topical and internal applications.
Administration and CBD dose for Colitis and IBD sufferers
There are a flotilla of ways to administer CBD, depending on what you’re using it for. Most well known is the sublingual method. This method involves placing CBD oil underneath your tongue and allowing the oil to sit there for as long as possible. This method is great for longer-lasting effects, as it permeates the soft membrane under the tongue, where a maze of blood vessels allow the CBD to go straight into the bloodstream.
While this tried and true method works for some, many find using CBD suppositories even more effective when treating problems of the digestive tract. Much like the sublingual method, both the rectum and vagina have incredibly permeable membranes with vast networks of blood vessels that work to float your CBD straight to where it is needed. Though very effective and long-lasting, using suppositories may require far more privacy, and so can be difficult to administer if you lead a busy or hectic lifestyle.
Dr Tishler believes that when cannabis is taken either orally or sublingually, it gives longer cover, while for sporadic symptoms he would recommend vaporized flowers. Another doctor who has had great success in treating IBD with cannabis is the licensed physician Dr Rashna Patel from California, who runs her own business, The Medical Marijuana Expert.
Dr Patel says that cannabis helps her patients in many ways, since it reduces cramps and nausea, while also stimulating appetite. Starting on lower CBD doses is always suggested by health care professionals, then incrementally working your way up until you reach the desired effects.
We suggest always consulting a medical professional before beginning on any new supplement, as well as doing your own research into which product might best suit you. Websites like Trustpilot are a great way to find the best products with reliable customer reviews.