Estimates suggest that irritable bowel syndrome affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States alone. This extremely common condition can affect the lives of its sufferers quite significantly, making it something that people desperately seek solutions for.
Currently, there are numerous ways to treat this condition and ease the symptoms. The question is whether they really work, and how effective these treatments actually are. Many of them involve adapting your lifestyle to try and treat the conditions naturally. But we all know that lifestyle changes are not easy, and they take time.
But what if there were another natural remedy out there to help relieve the symptoms of this condition, without you having to change your lifestyle significantly? Could CBD oil serve as a way to address the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?
First, let’s take a look at what this condition actually is.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): What Is It?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a medical condition that affects the body’s digestive system. Unfortunately, it is a chronic problem that often affects patients throughout their lives, causing a lot of pain, discomfort, and frustration. It can occur in people of all ages, and it tends to be more common in women.
The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but several theories link it to the digestive tract passing food through either too quickly or too slowly, oversensitive nerves in the gut, stress, or even genetics. What’s worse is that there is no real cure for IBS, although there are several ways to control the irritating symptoms.
Usually, IBS manifests itself through stomach pains or cramps (which may become worse after eating), bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. These symptoms can fluctuate, as sufferers often find they have good days and bad days. In addition to these more common symptoms, sufferers of IBS may also encounter flatulence, fatigue, nausea, and incontinence. Some research even suggests that IBS may be linked to depression and other mental health issues.
IBS Treatments: Traditional Options
Most medical practitioners will recommend one or more of the following traditional treatments to alleviate the symptoms of IBS. In reality, none of these treatments are highly efficacious, and what works for one individual might not work for the next. This brings a certain degree of trial and error into the process of treating IBS, sometimes elongating the discomfort while an individual finds the correct treatment.
Adjustments to Diet
There are suggestions that adjusting your diet can alleviate the symptoms of IBS. Generally, experts recommend avoiding things like fatty, spicy, or processed foods. It might also be a good idea to eat more than three portions of fruit per day and limit the amount of tea and coffee you consume. Cooking with fresh ingredients is also always a good idea, as is limiting alcohol and fizzy drinks.
Adjustments to Lifestyle
Apart from the above changes in dietary needs, many doctors also suggest other changes in lifestyle to reduce the symptoms. Since IBS may possibly be linked to stress, doctors recommend finding ways to relax in hopes that symptoms will disappear by themselves. Furthermore, some practitioners suggest getting plenty of exercises and living a generally healthy lifestyle in order to try and manage IBS.
People often use probiotics as a treatment for IBS. They are live bacteria and yeasts that may have several health benefits. Usually, they are administered as food supplements or found in yogurt.
Many people believe that probiotics restore the presence of natural bacteria in your gut, which may help to reduce the symptoms of IBS. If you want to try probiotics to treat IBS, doctors usually recommend taking them for at least 4 weeks to see if they help.
How Might CBD Help?
CBD oil is a quickly-growing industry. It makes use of the CBD compound found in the cannabis plant, which is non-psychoactive (unlike THC, the other well-known component of cannabis). CBD is also thought to have a number of health benefits, which are coming to light thanks to numerous studies currently being conducted.
CBD treatments work by targeting the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This biological system contains two primary endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. While the CB1 receptors, found predominantly in the brain, are stimulated by THC, CBD modulates CB2 receptors, found mostly in the immune tissues
In a 2008 review, the neurologist Ethan Russo suggested that IBS may be caused by an endocannabinoid deficiency. Endocannabinoids are the natural cannabinoids that occur within the body, produced through biological processes. This review presents a strong foundation for the belief that CBD may help to alleviate symptoms.
As revealed by the British Journal of Pharmacology in 2016, CBD has a positive effect on IBS symptoms. When administered, CBD interacts with the CB2 receptors found along the human digestive tract, causing a number of benefits. CBD causes spasms to ease along this tract and leads to improved intestinal motility (i.e. improves the movement of food and waste).
CBD Oil in Treating IBS
There are a range of different CBD oils out there, containing different quantities of CBD. It is best to start at a low concentration and work up until you find what quantity works best to reduce your symptoms.
Final Thoughts About CBD for IBS
IBS is a very uncomfortable condition that affects millions of people worldwide. There are a number of treatments out there that aim to help to alleviate the symptoms of IBS, but many patients still experience flare-ups of the condition despite diet and lifestyle changes.
Studies are currently showing that CBD oil may offer a solution to those looking for a simple, natural way to treat IBS. Although it does not offer a cure, many patients that have used CBD oil for this condition will testify to the positive effects that it has on the body.
Given these testimonials and pending upcoming research, it is highly plausible that CBD oil could be effective in managing irritable bowel syndrome symptoms with very few side effects.
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