Research shows that impacting the cannabinoid system with administration of CBD, THC or a mix of both may result in improvement in the diarrhea component of IBS.


What you’ll Learn

  • IBS Statistics
  • Symptoms of IBS
  • CBD and THC’s efect on IBS

Cannabis and IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS has a prevalence of 10 to 20% in the developing world. One to two people out of every 10 are dealing with these symptoms. Abdominal pain occurring at least three days per month, together with abdominal pain that improves with having a bowel movement, and pain that’s associated with changes in stool frequency or stool consistency.

The symptoms can be diarrhea prominent or constipation predominant, or a mixed IBS with alternating symptoms of diarrhea and constipation. The cannabidiols inhibit motility and secretion and regulate the sensation of pain across the GI tract. And it’s not clear exactly how it works to slow that motility or to decrease pain. There are CB1 receptors located throughout the lining of the gut, but also CB2 receptors located in the smooth muscle that control the peristalsis, the action of moving food forward as it digests through the intestine.

And different cannabidiols have different effects on different systems. But it appears overall in multiple studies that the activation of CB1 receptors could be useful in helping people with diarrhea predominant IBS, while inhibition or not stimulating those receptors may be beneficial for patients who are constipation predominant.

In studies of healthy volunteers who used a synthetic THC product, the motion of the colon, the forward movement of the food, and sensations of pain or stimulus were improved. And there was a relaxation in that motility and tone after eating.

In one particular study, published in a 2011 journal of gastroenterology, 75 patients who were being treated for IBS were treated with a synthetic cannabis. They saw decreasing fasting muscle contractility, so a decreased level of tone when they weren’t eating, compared to placebo.

And these effects were greatest in patients with IBS with diarrhea or mixed IBS, the diarrhea alternating with constipation. So, in patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it appears that impacting the cannabinoid system with administration of CBD or THC or a mix may result in improvement in the diarrhea component of that disease.