CBD and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Cannabidiol (CBD) is considered the second most predominant of the active ingredients found in the cannabis plant. CBD is a vital element of medicinal cannabis and is directly extracted from the hemp plant. WHO states that, in humans, CBD has no adverse effects and does not lead to any abuse or dependence. WHO further states that to date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.
Medicinal benefits of CBD
In the last few decades, there has been a noticeable and significant rise in the usage of medicinal cannabis because of the therapeutic potential of cannabis and its ingredients (e.g. cannabidiol). Cannabis is being progressively approved for multiple medical conditions worldwide. CBD medical products have been found effective to be used for multiple neurological and gastrointestinal disorders.
The medicinal benefits of cannabis have been established through multiple research studies as well. Multiple large observational retrospective studies, conducted on cannabis users, observed that overall significant health enhancements were seen in cannabis users. The studies emphasised that the need for conventional medication and other related therapies is lesser in patients taking CBD products for medicinal-use. As established by a variety of prospective studies, CBD is an attractive and efficient treatment option due to its anti-inflammatory action and positive impact on the central nervous system of the body.
CBD and IBD
CBD has been particularly used in the management of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). IBD is a chronic immune-mediated disease of the gastrointestinal tract and includes ulcerative colitis (UC) and crohn’s disease (CD). Cannabis has shown anti-inflammatory effects and anti-inflammatory CBD products may prove to be efficacious in the symptomatic treatment of IBD. In the patients suffering from IBD, the endocannabinoid system gets compromised, further emphasising the case for the use of cannabis and CBD-based therapies.
In a clinical study to evaluate the impact of use of CBD oil on UC patients, 30 UC students were recruited. The patients were administered oral intake of CBD-rich oil [15% CBD and 4% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)]. As an outcome of the study, an improvement in the Crohn’s disease activity index (CDAI) was noticed in CBD administered patients as compared to the people in the placebo group.
Some other clinical studies have also tried to establish the efficacy of CBD on IBD, including a study where 62 patients were tested for the oral use of CBD products, and another study where 19 CD patients were administered with a low dose of oral CBD. The efficacy in both the studies, was however not verified convincingly as some of the patients in the study were intolerant to the CBD and a very low dose of CBD was administered to the patients.
Ample evidence is now available regarding CBD’s potential of reducing inflammation through numerous pathways in the body, constituting effective and promising management for various conditions characterised by inflammation. Some of such conditions include:
- Neutrophil chemotaxis
- Experimental colitis
- Collagen-induced arthritis
- B-amyloid-induced neuroinflammation
- Hepatic ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury
- Autoimmune encephalomyelitis
- Acute lung injury (ALI)
Types of CBD best for managing IBD?
Though CBD is considered effective for treating IBD, there might be some limitations for CBD products usage for some individuals. You must consult your physician before using CBD as therapeutic options. For treating IBD, there are three main types of CBD that can be taken into consideration:
- Full-spectrum CBD –
Full-spectrum CBD comprises all compounds from cannabis, along with THC in variable amounts. It usually comes in tinctures, edibles, oils, vaping oil, and creams.
- Broad-spectrum CBD –
Similar to the full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD also comprises the other compounds from the cannabis plant, however it does not contain any THC. Broad Spectrum CBD finds lesser applications as compared to other forms of CBD and hence is only available in the oil form.
- CBD isolate –
CBD isolate is considered the purest form of CBD. It is obtained from hemp plants and does not contain any other compounds. It comes in the form of tincture, oil, or a small powdery edible product.
Types of CBD suitable for individuals with IBD
Some forms of CBD have proven powerful to possibly treat and alleviate IBD symptoms. Some of the formulations, which the patients can utilise are:
- Capsules and pills – Daily use of CBD in the form of pills may provide benefit in keeping the symptoms of IBD away.
- Edibles – Chocolates or gummy-like candies are better options for individuals who have difficulty in consuming pills.
- Vapes – At the time of sudden IBD flare-ups, a vaporizing form of CBD may be great help.
- Oils and tinctures – Such forms of CBD when placed under the tongue tend to get absorbed fast into the bloodstream.
- Skin lotions and creams – Topical creams are manufactured more for treating skin conditions, such as eczema, and joint problems.4
CBD has proved to be useful for multiple health related disorders. The prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has presented approximately 100 inferences concerning the health effects of CBD usage. The institute has also evaluated pain management as the most scientifically supported usage of CBD.
In addition, there is a lot of evolving evidence, which supports the use for the treatment of patients suffering from IBD and other gastrointestinal disorders. Several patients affected by IBD agree with the positive impact CBD products have had on their life and disease progression. A large number of surveyed IBD patients who use CBD, report that it aids in alleviating abdominal cramps and pains, while some find it beneficial for fighting against other IBD symptoms like diarrhea and nausea.
CBD does not contain any psychoactive properties, and hence, it doesn’t get a person high. Cannabidiol decreases the absorbency of the gastrointestinal tract in humans and hence, helps to treat inflammatory bowel disease efficiently. Food and Drug Administration also recognises the likely medicinal opportunities that CBD may offer in near future.