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A treatment for irritable bowel syndrome

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Cannabis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Why research thinks the endocannabinoid system is responsible

Many patients with irritable bowel syndrome use cannabis to relieve symptoms during a seizure. But, what does the research say? Is cannabis the perfect treatment? Unfortunately, there are still many gaps in terms of studies and medical research. Still, some experts believe there is a link between cannabis and SCI.

What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a chronic disease that causes extreme gastrointestinal distress. Unlike inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), IBS is not associated with tissue changes in the digestive organs.

However, it still causes a host of serious symptoms that can have a huge impact on a patient's quality of life. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • bloating
  • Gas
  • Weight Loss
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Mucus in the stool

IBS is also thought to play a role in various psychiatric illnesses, although no direct causal relationship has been found. So far, there is a suspected link between IBS and disorders such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attack
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders

Interestingly, IBS and various psychiatric disorders are becoming the target of research on the human microbiome. The microbiome is the term used to describe the complex ecosystem of microorganisms that live throughout the body and inside the digestive tract.

Over the past decade, evidence has increasingly suggested that disturbances in the microbiome can trigger both severe gastrointestinal illness and psychiatric distress.

What is perhaps even more interesting to some is that there is a connection between the microbiome and the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the cellular network that cannabis uses in the body.

Is it an endocannabinoid deficiency?

Medicinal cannabis is not a cure, but it can certainly help treat the condition. Some researchers might go so far as to say that cannabinoid therapy may be one of the most effective ways to relieve symptoms of IBS and improve quality of life.

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In 2008, neurologist and medical researcher Dr Ethan Russo proposed that IBS could be caused by endocannabinoid deficiency. Endocannabinoids are compounds like THC that the body naturally produces.

These compounds make up the endocannabinoid system (SEC), a large regulatory network in the body. It plays a role in a wide range of functions, including appetite, digestion, immune regulation, mood, sleep, reproduction, and pain.

Russian theorized that for some reason, those with IBS don't have enough endocannabinoids. In an interview with The CBD Project, Russo explains what this impairment could mean.

“If you don't have enough endocannabinoids, you have pain where there shouldn't be pain. You will be sick, which means nauseous. You would have a lowered entry threshold. And a whole host of other problems.

It occurred to me that a number of very common diseases seem to fit a pattern that would be compatible with endocannabinoid deficiency, especially migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia ”. - says Russo

Between cannabis and serotonin

Pharmaceutical researchers have so far focused on one solution: drugs that target the serotonergic system. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter commonly associated with depression.

Russo explains that drugs targeting serotonin have only managed to treat about 15% of IBS and have had serious health consequences in clinical trials. Yet, evidence suggests that the endocannabinoid system is a much better target for the disease.

“Rational analysis suggests that endocannabinoids may well be the most likely neuromodulatory therapeutic target, and that treatment with phytocannabinoids may represent a more effective and safer therapeutic approach. »Writes Russo

Simply put, herbal cannabinoids, like those found in cannabis, may be a safer and more effective treatment than drugs currently in development for IBS.

The microbiome and the endocannabinoid system

Unfortunately, the most recent thinking about IBS is very theoretical and anecdotal at this stage. But, microbiome discoveries have established a connection between the intestinal flora, the endocannabinoid system, and the IBS.

Caring for preclinical study of 2007 found that the presence of the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus in the intestinal tract of rodents increased the expression of cannabinoid and opioid receptors, decreasing pain.

The authors suggested that this could have serious implications for the treatment of IBS. Like Russo mentioned above, increased sensitivity to pain is a feature of IBS.

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While many affected patients take some sort of probiotic, research into the human microbiome is still a very new field of science. The 2007 study found only one species of gut microbe out of a thousand. Perhaps this is why access to medical cannabis for patients is so important.

While there is good evidence that IBS is a microbial problem, and while researchers have found that microbes can influence the endocannabinoid system, the overall connection is simply not yet made. At the same time, cannabis appears to be one of the most promising options for the management of this disease.

Cannabis and Relief of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

There is still a lack of solid research on cannabis and IBS. However, cannabis can improve the quality of life of people with this disease. Here is how it can relieve three main symptoms:

1. Diarrhea

Cannabis has been shown to reduce hypermotility and relieve abdominal cramps. Hypermotility occurs when food moves too quickly through the gastrointestinal tract.

Apparently, cannabis was one of the first effective treatments for cholera-related diarrhea in the 19th century.

2. Abdominal pain

Cannabis has been shown to reduce visceral sensitivity in people with gastrointestinal disorders.

“Visceral perception” is an elegant way of saying sensitivity to internal pain. A 2004 study suggests that there is strong evidence for cannabinoid treatments in the management of intestinal diseases like IBS. On the one hand cannabis alleviates nerve pain and also because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

Another search for 2008 highlights the finding that cannabinoid therapy can calm the tenderness and inflammation of the gut lining in people with gastrointestinal disorders.

3. Depression

Mental symptoms related to IBS are just as important to treat.

Caring for rodent study published in April 2016 revealed that cannabidiol (CBD) was beginning to effectively relieve antisocial behavior and reduce anxiety behavior within minutes.

In comparison, it can take up to six weeks for antidepressants to become effective.

What about constipation?

Unfortunately, the impact of medical cannabis on constipation is a subject of debate. The majority of research suggests that the plant is slowing things down rather than speeding things up.

However, as with most things related to the gut and cannabis, a lot depends on the unique internal situation of each individual.

As there is no clinical research on the subject, many patients opt for the experimentation approach.

Tags : MedicineSearchEndocannabinoid system
Weed-master

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Weed media broadcaster and communications manager specializing in legal cannabis. Do you know what they say? knowledge is power. Understand the science behind cannabis medicine, while staying up to date with the latest health related research, treatments and products. Stay up to date with the latest news and ideas on legalization, laws, political movements. Discover tips, tricks and how-to guides from the most seasoned growers on the planet as well as the latest research and findings from the scientific community on the medical qualities of cannabis.