Though there are key differences between different IBDs (colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s etc), there is one constant across them all: inflammation. Although IBS isn’t always associated with inflammation and its symptoms don’t necessarily have an identifiable cause, it is not an uncommon side-effect. Other similarities include abdominal pain, constipation or urgent and more-than-normal bowel movements. Crohn’s and colitis also tend to include rectal bleeding, which in turn increases fatigue.
Endocannabinoids play an important role in the functioning of the gut, including the control of intestinal inflammation. Stress and anxiety is also thought to trigger IBS attacks, with some even suggesting that phytocannabinoids can help overcome a “cannabinoid deficiency” – a condition that could help explain why cannabis can help overcome IBS, fibromyalgia, migraine and other treatment-resistant conditions.
There are a huge number of cannabinoid receptors in the gut and, though the evidence is anecdotal at the moment, it does not seem surprising that cannabis is particularly helpful in managing IBDs due to this fact.
- May prevent colitis
- Helps control inflammation
- Stimulates appetite
- Could “reduce the increase of intestinal motility induced by inflammatory stimuli”
- Smoking cannabis may increase the need to use the loo in some
- May increase nausea and decrease appetite in some people after long-term use (cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome)
- No proper evidence of this as of yet, but may inflame the pancreas (pancreatitis)