In cases of irritable bowel syndrome – which is said, remarkably, to affect over 10% of the population of the United States – symptoms can include terrible stomach pain, the possibility of psychological issues, potentially intense diarrhea, and constipation.
If you’re thinking this doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun, you’re right. This can actually be one of the most difficult and unmanageable health afflictions that anyone can ever experience. Interestingly, most of those who are destined to suffer from IBS find that they experience their initial symptoms by the time they reach 35 years of age, and nearly 70% of them are actually women.
As it turns out, no one knows the cause of IBS, and unfortunately it can persist chronically for life.
However, like many diseases of unknown cause, it may also be right in the wheelhouse for CBD as a treatment or therapy.
To understand this irritating affliction, it’s important to understand a little bit more about two of the basic mechanisms of digestion.
First off, digestion functions by the secretion of acids and enzymes that work to break down food to its constituent parts. Secondly, the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract work with rhythmic precision to undulate, flex, and contract in a process known as peristalsis.
This process pushes those constituent parts through the system as they are broken down further and further until everything of use is sucked through the intestinal lining and pushed into the body’s circulatory system, where it can be used as an energy resource.
IBS can be mostly defined in terms of the negative reactions that one’s body has in the stomach to the digestive process of foods.
Symptoms are related to both of the mechanisms noted above, leading to a general dysfunction in the digestive process. Spasticity, anxiety, and even depression can be a part of this process.
Interestingly, as we are coming to understand more and more about IBS, scientists are beginning to believe that the disease is actually rooted in a dysfunction of our neurology, rather than our gastrointestinal functionality.
Indeed, an important nerve (the vagus nerve) appears to be widely implicated in the pathogenesis of IBS.
CBD and IBS
As we begin to understand more and more about this difficult condition, researchers have begun to home in on the possibility that CBD could be a very valuable ally in the battle.
The correlation between CBD administration and some positive and notable changes in perceived symptoms for those suffering from IBS has been shown by several studies.
As we have covered extensively, many of the body’s primary regulatory systems are in some manner closely related to the endocannabinoid system. It would appear as though elements involved in the nervous system that happen to be primary for the functionality of the gastrointestinal tract would seem to be highly connected in this manner.
We’ve already seen that CBD tends to have a strong positive result in controlling symptoms of spasticity. This has also begun to suggest that CBD may have an important role to play as we search to find tools and weapons in the battle against IBS.
In addition, the psychological symptoms that appear to be involved here in many cases of IBS as well – anxiety and depression – also have been shown to be amenable to administration of CBD as a therapy or treatment tool.
This fact, as well as several others, lend a great deal of hope to the possibility that CBD may become an extremely important tool as we seek to find solutions to this terrible disease.