Cannabidiol aka CBD oil, is a popular natural remedy for many health problems. But does CBD oil help IBS symptoms?
In this article, I am going to explain the background behind the CBD oil claims. I will also advise you on whether you should be taking this supplement for your IBS.
Table of Contents
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is extracted and separated from hemp. It is made up of 85 chemicals known as cannabinoids which can also be found in the cannabis plant (3).
The Hemp plant is a cousin to the Marjuana plant (one of hundreds).
How Do Cannabinoids Affect the Gut?
The digestive system has many cannabinoid receptors in it. There are also many receptors along the gut-brain axis (1).
Cannabinoid receptors can interact with cannabinoid. This results in changes to how the digestive system works (2).
Activation of certain cannabinoid receptors can reduce motility (movement), limit secretion and decrease hypersensitivity in the gut (2).
Cannabinoids and IBS
We know that gut motility and hypersensitivity are two issues which cause symptoms in IBS. We also know that the gut-brain axis pays a huge role.
Unfortunately, there are hardly any studies looking at cannabinoid use in IBS.
There was one interesting study which looked at 75 individuals with varying types of IBS (5). Researchers gave the individuals dronabinol (a type of cannabinoid). Those with IBS-D had an improvement in their gut motility.
Whilst this study is interesting, they only tested individuals before and after a 1000kcal meal. So there are no long-term findings. This makes it impossible to predict how useful the results would be if take into account for the long-term management of IBS.
Will CBD Oil Help My IBS Symptoms?
At present there are no studies to support the claims that CBD oil will help IBS symptoms.
Whilst we know that there are cannabinoid receptors in the gut, it is unclear whether targeting these will manage IBS symptoms.
It is also unclear as to what CBD oil dose / type or strength you would need. Or even how often you would need to take it.
Like with everything in life, there will always be a placebo effect. So we careful this doesn’t cost you a lot of money for a product which has no scientific backing.
Are Cannabinoids Used in Other Areas of Medicine?
Cannabis is currently used for adults suffering with nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy (6).
Whilst the use of cannabinoids in the management of IBS looks promising, further research is needed.
The use of CBD oil has no scientific proof behind it meaning that we don’t know if it works, what dose you should take, how often it should be take or even any potential longer term harm.
Kirsten Jackson is a UK registered Consultant Gastroenterology Dietitian and founder of The Food Treatment Clinic. She has undergone many qualifications to get where she is today, including a UK BSc Honours Degree in Dietetics and Post-Graduate Certificate in Advanced Dietetics. In addition to this, she has FODMAP Training from Kings College London University. Kirsten set up The Food Treatment Clinic in 2015 after first experiencing digestive problems herself. She felt that the NHS was unable to provide the support individuals needed and went on to specialise in this area before opening a bespoke IBS service. Kirsten also participates in charity work as an Expert Advisor for the IBS Network. In addition, she can be seen in publications such as Cosmopolitan and The Telegraph discussing IBS as an Official Media Spokesperson to the IBS Network.