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CBD for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Does Cannabidiol Benefit IBS?

CBD for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Medical Cannabidiol for IBS Health Research

CBD for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is an extremely frustrating health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Traditionally, treating irritable bowel syndrome requires the use of pharmaceutical drugs that can cause a variety of unwanted side effects. New evidence, however, shows that CBD for IBS is a highly effective treatment that can provide powerful overall health benefits.

Irritable bowel syndrome has many symptoms, which include pain, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, and food intolerance. As a systemic health disorder, irritable bowel syndrome is poorly understood. One of the primary causes of irritable bowel syndrome, however, is inflammation.

Inflammation of the digestive system is one of the leading causes of irritable bowel syndrome, and can be induced by an immune system issue in which the immune system of the human body attacks the gastrointestinal tract instead of supporting it.

The microbiome of the human body, which is composed of billions of tiny microbes that work together with the digestive system, also plays an important role in gastrointestinal inflammation and thus exacerbates inflammatory bowel syndrome.

CBD oil and other cannabidiol products have been proven in multiple clinical trials to both enhance the function of the immune system and significantly reduce gastrointestinal inflammation. In addition to minimizing inflammation, CBD oil is able to help with the management of irritable bowel syndrome and the symptoms it causes.

Interestingly, cannabinoids have even been demonstrated in cutting-edge medical trials to interact with the microbiome of the human body and play a complementary role in the process involved in the uptake of nutrients.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the ways in which CBD can help with irritable bowel syndrome. We’ll examine the way CBD interacts with the gastrointestinal tract and immune system to support bowel health, and assess the clinical evidence that supports the use of CBD for irritable bowel syndrome. This guide will also take a look at the best products and doses of CBD for IBS symptoms.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a phytocannabinoid compound that is found in the cannabis, or hemp plant. The hemp plant contains many health-enhancing compounds. Cannabidiol is one of the most beneficial compounds that are found in the hemp plant, and is extracted from the plant via a range of different methods in order to create highly effective, clinically proven health products and treatments.

The use of CBD and CBD oil products for health is becoming increasingly popular around the world in light of a new wave of medical research that proves the wide range of benefits this unique compound delivers. There are, however, a number of common misconceptions surrounding the use of CBD and where it comes from.

One of the most common misconceptions about the use of CBD is the way it is extracted from the hemp plant. Contrary to misinformation, CBD is not psychoactive. The psychoactive compound found in recreational marijuana products — THC — is not found in cannabidiol products.

CBD can be purchased and used without a prescription in almost every state of the US for this reason. State and federal legislation dictates that, in order to be sold without a medical marijuana prescription, CBD products must contain less than 0.3 percent THC, which makes them non-psychoactive and completely legal.

There are, however, a number of solutions sold in states that allow the sale of medical marijuana that contain both CBD and THC. Some CBD research indicates that there is a synergistic effect between THC and CBD. Using CBD to treat irritable bowel syndrome, however, does not necessitate the use of THC — CBD alone is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that can dramatically improve the condition of individuals that have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel syndrome.

Importantly, CBD is not illegal. CBD is a simple natural compound that can be extracted from virtually any part of the hemp plant, at almost any stage in the plant’s growth cycle. The extraction process used to create CBD from hemp biomatter is extremely precise. Most CBD product suppliers provide exact dosage information explaining exactly how much CBD their oils and other products contain.

CBD products are commonly found in the form of CBD oil, sublingual drops, or topical creams and transdermal patches. The rising popularity of CBD health products has also led to the creation of innovative CBD products such as CBD gummies, CBD soaps and shampoos, and even CBD pet products for pet health care.

How Does CBD Work?

CBD works by interacting with a system in the human body called the endocannabinoid system. All vertebrate organisms on the planet — humans included — possess an endocannabinoid system. The human body itself manufactures and uses endocannabinoids in daily life.

Cannabidiol and other cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system, and are able to modulate and alter a number of different pathways in order to deliver positive health benefits.

The various health benefits delivered by CBD can be attributed to the systems they interact with — the mental health benefits of CBD, for example, are a product of cannabinoids interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the human brain

CBD helps with managing the causes and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, however, by modulating specific cannabinoid receptors found within the gastrointestinal system of the body. One of the primary ways in which CBD is able to help manage irritable bowel syndrome is by suppressing the production of “cytokines,” which are responsible for the inflammatory immune system reaction that can induce irritable bowel syndrome.

When CBD enters the human body, it immediately interacts with cannabinoid receptors, delivering immediate and impressive results. There are many different ways to administer CBD, providing individuals seeking to benefit from the health boost it offers with many different choices.

CBD offers a range of advantages over the traditional medications used to treat irritable bowel syndrome. Typical pharmaceutical solutions to the problem of irritable bowel syndrome include medications such as alosetron and eluxadoline, or a range of different colon relaxants or laxatives.

These medications can cause a wide range of unwanted and debilitating side effects that include bacterial overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract, diarrhea, and in some rare cases can even induce life-threatening medical conditions such as pancreatitis.

CBD oil and other cannabinoid products, however, have been demonstrated by a growing body of clinically proven evidence to rapidly eliminate the root cause of irritable bowel syndrome without causing any unwanted side effects.

Importantly, the CBD oil products that can be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome are completely legal in most states and are relatively inexpensive when compared to pharmaceutical solutions aimed at eliminating the symptoms of the condition.

An added bonus provided by CBD oil when treating irritable bowel syndrome is the additional health benefits CBD offers. Apart from treating the root cause of irritable bowel syndrome, CBD is able to boost immune system function, improve mental and cognitive health, and even help to prevent specific types of cancer.

Can CBD Help With Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a complex condition that occurs as a result of many different health dysfunctions. The two primary causes of irritable bowel syndrome — inflammation and microbiome balance — are effectively and rapidly addressed by CBD oil.

There are two ways in which CBD is able to help manage and prevent irritable bowel syndrome. Firstly, through managing the symptoms of IBS and secondly by eliminating the root cause of the condition.

Nausea is one of the most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Extensive research into the way CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system of the human body reveals that CBD is a powerful anti-nausea compound that can assist with minimizing nausea in individuals experiencing motion sickness, and even dramatically lower the occurrence of nausea in individuals undergoing chemotherapy.

The true power of CBD, however, and the property that makes it so effective in eliminating irritable bowel syndrome, is the way in which it can significantly lower the amount of inflammation in the human body.

The pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome is closely linked to inflammation in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Evidence gathered in extensive clinical meta-studies assessing the root causes of irritable bowel syndrome reveals that inflammation causes microscopic and molecular abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract of individuals that suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.

Some of the health benefits of CBD for IBS include:

  • Minimized nausea
  • Normalized appetite function
  • Significantly improved inflammatory response
  • Improved microbiome health
  • Improved gastrointestinal motility
  • Reduced frequency of colonic spasms
  • Minimized abdominal pain
  • Minimized abdominal bloating and gas

CBD is extremely effective in treating the abdominal pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome and, importantly, can be administered in a manner that doesn’t upset the delicate gastrointestinal balance of individuals diagnosed with IBS. Sublingual administration of CBD bypasses the digestive system entirely, making it ideal for individual suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.

Overall, CBD oil can be an effective therapeutic treatment in alleviating the symptoms of IBS and minimizing its root causes.

The Science Behind CBD And Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The primary way in which CBD oil promotes bowel health and helps to minimize the negative health effects of IBS is by reducing the total amount of cytokines released by the immune system. Cytokines are small proteins that are released by a number of sources that include lymphocytes and monocytes.

There is a significant amount of clinical evidence that indicates cytokines are not only responsible for inflammation in the human body, but are also responsible for the pathological pain associated with the immune system inflammatory response.

CBD possesses an extremely interesting property — cannabinoids are able to activate the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors located in central nervous system cells. This activation is linked to a broad spectrum of bodily functions that include inflammatory response and genetic transcription.

This may sound complex, but what it means at a fundamental level is that CBD is able to interact with the functions of the body that are responsible for the release of cytokines, and alter them. An clinical investigation performed in 2015 focused on the role of treating asthma with cannabidiol found that blood serum cytokine levels, or the amount of cytokines in the bloodstream, dropped significantly subsequent to the administration of CBD oil.

The science behind CBD and the way it helps with irritable bowel syndrome is closely linked to the way CBD modulates the immune system. CBD has been demonstrated in intensive clinical investigations to alter the function of T cells, which are lymphocytes responsible for cell-mediated immunity functions.

A clinical study performed in 2015 provides evidence that CBD is able to suppress the production of cytokines. This suppression is caused by a factor that is independent of CB-1 and CB-2 receptors, adding another way in which CBD is able to significantly lower inflammatory response.

Clinical Evidence

There is an extremely large body of evidence supporting the use of CBD for managing and preventing irritable bowel syndrome.

A clinical meta-study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in November 2016 assessed the evidence supporting CBD for IBS, introducing CBD derived from hemp as a highly effective alternative treatment method.

The study notes that contemporary treatment for irritable bowel syndrome consists primarily of immunosuppressive techniques that can eventually result in surgical resection of damaged bowel tissue. Evidence collected in the study, however, indicates that CBD has a potent effect in the human body.

The human digestive tract contains high levels of an endogenous cannabinoid called 2-AG that binds to the CB-2 receptor with a high efficiency, noting that exogenous cannabinoids bind to the same receptor. Data present in the study provides evidence that both CB-1 and CB-2 receptors are found at a high density throughout the gastrointestinal tract, and is the primary mechanism of action through which CBD helps with IBS.

A clinical investigation assessing the effect of the endogenous cannabinoid system on the human GI tract in 2011 found that cannabinoids impact gastrointestinal functions to a large degree, contributing significantly to gut inflammation.

The 2016 meta-study concluded that patients that suffer from irritable bowel syndrome suffer from higher rates of psychiatric disorders, nausea, pain, and mood imbalances, all of which can be treated with the use of CBD.

Another irritable bowel syndrome-specific CBD study performed in 2017 found that activation of the CB2 receptor in the human GI system delivers an improvement in intestinal motility and significantly reduces inflammation and visceral pain.

The study found that over 38% of trial participants that use cannabis products experience a dramatic improvement in the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, stating that the immunomodulatory properties of phytocannabinoids are promising.

Further interesting evidence can be found in a 2008 clinical investigation that provided evidence for the use of cannabinoids in order to “cool” the gastrointestinal tract. The cannabinoid anandamide was identified as a factor in reduced levels of fatty acid amidohydrolase, which is the enzyme responsible for the degradation of endocannabinoids and thus increased inflammatory response.

By preventing the breakdown of endocannabinoids responsible for gut health and preventing the creation and release of cytokines in the body, CBD has been proven to dramatically improve overall gut health health and function as an efficient therapeutic treatment for inflammatory bowel syndrome.

CBD Dosage For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Finding the right CBD dosage amount for treating irritable bowel syndrome is largely a trial-and-error process, as there are as of yet no conclusive studies identifying the correct dosage for treating gastrointestinal inflammation.

It should be noted, however, that clinical trials assessing the efficacy of CBD for various health conditions typically use very large doses of 400mg to 600mg. Many CBD users self-report health benefits online in doses as little as 2.5mg per day.

Individuals using CBD for the treatment of epilepsy, for example, typically use 200mg to 300mg of cannabinoid per day in order to prevent the onset of grand mal seizures. Individuals using CBD to manage the symptoms of anxiety, however, commonly use as little as 25mg of CBD per day at the onset of an anxiety attack.

It’s essential to consult with a medical professional or doctor before beginning any use of CBD, especially if you are currently taking any pharmaceutical medications.

When beginning CBD dosing after consulting with a medical professional, it’s best to start at a standardized point and either increase or decrease your dose as benefits occur. Many CBD users choose to start dosing at a point of 25mg and keep a diary of benefits over the course of the regime in order to adjust dose accordingly.

Overall, dosing is an extremely subjective process and can vary greatly depending on the health, metabolism, and weight of the individual, as well as other factors such as the method of administration and the bioavailability of the CBD product being used.

Best CBD Products For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The primary problem caused by irritable bowel syndrome is a disruption of the gastrointestinal tract. This disruption means that many individuals that choose to use CBD to treat their condition avoid the use of CBD edibles, as they must pass through the digestive system.

Sublingual application of CBD, which involves the administration of CBD oil in droplet form beneath the tongue, is the most popular form of dosing for individuals diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. Sublingual application has a rapid onset and bypasses the digestive system completely.

Best CBD Products For Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

  • Liquid CBD oil
  • CBD drops
  • CBD paste
  • CBD infused gum
  • CBD infused powders
  • CBD oil topical solutions
  • CBD bath bombsCBD lotions

CBD oil manufacturers provide accurate independently lab-tested dosage amounts on the packaging of their products, which makes determining the correct dosage amount via sublingual administration simple and effective.

CBD Safety

CBD is a very safe natural compound that has no lethal dose or high toxicity limit. High doses of up to 1500mg have been reported to be well-tolerated in clinical trials and cause no negative health impact.

It is essential that you consult with a medical professional before beginning any CBD routine. There are a number of side effects associated with CBD usage in some scenarios that should be considered:

  • Dry mouth
  • Mild low blood pressure
  • Decreased fertilization capability
  • Reduced activity of T and  cells
  • Sedation or sleepiness
  • Reduced activity of cytochrome cells

Overall, CBD is generally harmless. There are a number of drugs, however, that can be disrupted by the use of CBD. This is because CBD is known to inhibit the production of a specific enzyme manufactured by the liver called the CYP450 enzyme.

The CYP450 enzyme is involved in the metabolism of a number of commonly-used pharmaceutical drugs that include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Steroids
  • Anesthetics

For this reason, it’s important to check with a medical professional before beginning any CBD dosing routine.


Q: What is CBD?

A: CBD is a natural compound that is extracted from the hemp plant. CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a phytocannabinoid. The human body possesses an endocannabinoid system. When CBD is ingested, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system and delivers health benefits.

Q: Is CBD illegal?

A: CBD is not the compound in cannabis that causes a “high” and is non-psychoactive. For this reason, CBD can legally be sold and purchased in most US states under the proviso that CBD products do not contain more than 0.3 percent THC, which is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.

Q: Is CBD better than other IBS drugs?

A: CBD can not be considered a specific treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, but can be considered a powerful health treatment that can eliminate inflammation, which is one of the root causes of IBS.

Q: Is CBD proven to cure irritable bowel syndrome?

A: Eliminating irritable bowel syndrome requires careful dietary planning and management, as well as the use of holistic health practices that improve overall immune system function. CBD has been proven to enhance the health of the gastrointestinal tract and immune system and, if used carefully, can significantly improve bowel health.

Q: Is CBD safe?

A: CBD is an extremely safe natural compound that causes no side effects or negative health impact.

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