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Every tenth visitor suffers from some kind of intestinal disease. The thought stops you, because intestinal diseases cause troublesome symptoms, which are usually underestimated, despite the fact that they strongly interfere with life. This article explains what the different intestinal diseases IBS and IBD are, how the endocannabinoid system works behind them, and whether CBD oil could be of any help to them.
What are IBS and IBD?
Both IBS and IBD are both intestinal diseases that occur mainly in welfare states. IBS means irritable bowel syndrome and IBD includes inflammatory bowel diseases such as colitis, Crohn’s disease and microscopic colitis.
IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome)
IBS, i.e. irritable bowel syndrome, is a disease that strongly affects life, and it is estimated that one in ten people in Finland suffers from it. It is more common in women than men and occurs mainly in young people and adults. IBS is a very unpleasant disease, but it is not dangerous or gets worse over time. Often, IBS symptoms are wave-like. (1)
IBD (Inflammatory bowel disease)
Inflammatory bowel diseases have become more common in recent decades. Colitis, i.e. ulcerative inflammation of the colon, is clearly more common than Crohn’s disease, while microscopic colitis is rarer than both of them..
Colitis (Colitis ulcerosa)
Ulcerative colitis, or colitis, as the name suggests, is an inflammation of the colon that causes ulceration of the colon. Colitis is a chronic disease that usually starts by the age of 35 or at the age of 50-60. Colitis is more common in men and is partly hereditary. Colitis is caused by challenges related to the intestinal microbiome, nutritional factors and environmental influences, the contribution of which to the onset of colitis is relatively little understood. (2)
Burrill Crohn’s disease is the second most common inflammatory bowel disease. It occurs in people of all ages and the prevalence is approx. 2/1000 people. In Crohn’s disease, the entire intestinal area can be inflamed, and inflammation does not occur only on the surface of the intestine, but in all its layers. (3)
Typical IBS symptoms are pains felt on different sides of the stomach, as well as variability of bowel function. Some are more prone to diarrhea and others to a hard stomach, but variability between these is also very common. The bowel may not empty properly, and in the evenings, abdominal swelling and flatulence are bothersome. (1)
The symptoms of IBD are slightly different depending on whether it is colitis or Crohn’s disease. Bloody stools and abdominal pain are common to these diseases.
The most obvious symptom of colitis is diarrhea lasting for weeks, which is usually bloody and mucous. Abdominal pains and increased need to defecate are also the most common symptoms. People with colitis may have a fever and general fatigue caused by inflammation in the body. Colitis is distinguished from Crohn’s disease by colonoscopy, which is used to find out whether the inflammation affects only the colon or the entire intestine. (2)
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease include (bloody) diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss, fever and rectal bleeding. People with Crohn’s disease often also have other diseases such as joint diseases, fatty liver, osteoporosis, eye infections, etc., which indicate that lifestyle may have an effect on the onset of the disease. (3)
Reasons behind intestinal diseases
IBS does not seem to have any specific underlying cause. The intestine works poorly and reacts strongly to many foods, but studies do not find any explanation for this. In people suffering from IBS symptoms, the intestinal microbiome is not as extensive as in a healthy intestine, but the reason for the loss of microbes is not known either. Sometimes IBS symptoms are associated with mental health challenges, such as anxiety or depression. (1)
In IBD, intestinal challenges are always caused by inflammation in the intestine. IBS and IBD are similar in symptoms, but they differ from each other precisely through inflammation, for which no explanation can be found in the studies either. The emergence of inflammation in the body is not something that happens overnight and is usually largely a result of lifestyle. (2,3,4)
Medicine does not always provide answers to questions related to the origin of diseases. It is understandable in the sense that not everything has been scientifically proven yet and many things may be just guesswork. However, it is fair to share information openly and give possible reasons for the outbreak of diseases, even if it is not yet written in stone. Today, information is easy to search and is available for and against almost everything possible, but within this flood of information it can be impossible to find out the possible reasons behind intestinal diseases. There are certainly many reasons, and since people are all different, there are certainly a number of different reasons behind every disease that breaks out. One-sided bad fats, additives, fillers, plant protection agents, chemical fertilizers, etc. containing food is certainly one of the reasons. The use of antibiotics that has crossed generations may play a role in this problem as well as the increased rush and stress.
Stress is thought to be one of the factors in the emergence of intestinal disease, and according to experience, the amount of stress is directly proportional to the incidence of irritable bowel symptoms. CBD oil can have an effect to stress and its mitigation.
Intestinal diseases cannot be cured by medical means and are considered end-of-life diseases. It is true that intestinal disease recurs easily, but getting the intestines in good condition is not necessarily an impossibility. There is no curative treatment or medicine for these diseases, but with the help of diet, herbal products and exercise, the symptoms can even be completely relieved.
Irritable bowel treatment
If the IBS symptoms are mild and there is no blood in the stool, you can first try to treat the symptoms with home remedies (1), but if the stool becomes more permanent diarrhea, contains blood or the weight loss is severe, you should see a doctor. The aim is to treat the irritated intestine with the help of diet, because a healing medicine or treatment has not yet been invented. Medicines are used to relieve symptoms, such as laxatives and anti-depressants. (1,5)
Treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases
Ulcerative colitis is a disease that cannot be cured medically, but its symptoms are alleviated as much as possible with the help of various medicines. If the drugs are unable to cure the inflammation, an alternative is offered to cut a piece of the intestine.
Crohn’s disease is treated e.g. with the help of steroids and immunosuppressive drugs and sometimes also with surgery. Diet also plays an important role in the treatment of Crohn’s disease, as people with it are prone to nutrient deficiencies. (3)
Read about experiences of Crohn’s disease support treatment using CBD.
Over the years, people suffering from various intestinal problems have tried many ways to make themselves feel better, because there is no curative treatment or medicine that removes the symptoms. Carbon tablets are an old way to treat the gut, because carbon absorbs impurities and other toxins that disturb the intestines. Carbon tablets are safe to use and are used by many health-conscious people after eating food that is not normally part of their diet. Before starting use, you should pay attention to the subject carefully and ask your nutritionist or natural health expert for advice.
Minimizing stress-causing factors in life is important. The use of lactic acid bacteria and the importance of suitable dietary treatment are also emphasized.
There is a lot of information available. For example, the Take care of your stomach site offers both tips on various methods worth trying to alleviate symptoms, as well as stories from others suffering from the same symptoms.
In the case of all intestinal diseases, it is good to consult a professional who is familiar with the situation, who can recommend a suitable diet, supplements and herbal preparations, taking the situation into consideration. It is possible to get rid of the symptoms!
The IBS/IBD Diet
Dietary treatment is always recommended for IBS symptoms. The basic building blocks are adding soluble fiber to the diet, consuming lactic acid bacteria and avoiding certain foods containing slow carbohydrates. The recommended diet is the FODMAP diet, which is followed for a few months. After that, you can gradually try to return to a normal diet, but if the symptoms return again, the intestines have not had time to calm down enough and the diet should be continued. In addition to FODMAP, e.g. a gluten-free plant-based diet, the elimination diet of functional nutrition coaches and the instructions of those familiar with the subject through experience may alleviate the symptoms or even eliminate them completely. (5,6)
The FODMAP diet means avoiding slowly absorbed carbohydrates and insoluble fibers. Slow-absorbing carbohydrates include e.g. cabbage, onion and legumes, sweets and products containing sweeteners such as xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol and lactose i.e. milk sugar.
It is recommended to add soluble fibers to the diet, such as psyllium and various lactic acid bacteria from flaxseed. (5)
The FODMAP diet is widely known and information about it is easy to find. Books, blogs, etc. have been written on the subject. and it is also known on the side of stores focusing on nutritional therapy and natural health.
Gluten-free, plant-based diet
The symptoms of many IBS are aggravated by gluten, even if the tests do not show celiac disease. You can try leaving out all grains and dairy products, eggs and red meat from your diet. You should also avoid everything processed and with additives and leave coffee, alcohol and soft drinks completely on the store shelf, at least for a while. If the gut microbiome is very weak, raw vegetables and fruits can cause stomach cramps and poorly digested food in the stool. In the beginning, you should eat so that the main focus is on cooked vegetables and add raw vegetables and fruits to your diet steadily. Being gluten-free and eating easily digestible foods may help both IBS and IBD sufferers.
Other good advice expensive
Biohackers, known as health experts, have also talked for a long time about the symptoms related to intestinal diseases and how to correct them with the help of diet. They offer e.g. 7-week course compiled by doctor Olli Sovijärvi for people suffering from various stomach problems. The course is called stomach in shape – online coaching and you can find it in the biohacker store.
Functional nutrition coaches have long experience in correcting intestinal-related challenges, and turning to them is also a good option.
The endocannabinoid system and IBS/IBD
The endocannabinoid system is a system that balances the functioning of the body, which is involved in almost all processes that take place in the body. It is a background influencer, an observer whose task is to make sure that everything goes as it should.
The endocannabinoid system sometimes gets disturbed, which manifests itself in various diseases and symptoms. In a way, it’s the other way around; no disease is caused by an imbalanced endocannabinoid system, but lifestyle, trauma, stress, etc. burden the body’s processes, which eventually also shows up in the functioning of the endocannabinoid system as a “disturbance”, a situation where endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors or their disintegrating molecules are produced or broken down either too much or too little. A condition in which there are too few endocannabinoids or cannabinoid receptors is called clinical endocannabinoid deficiency and is also thought to be the underlying cause of intestinal diseases. You can read more here of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency .
The endocannabinoid system regulates, among other things, the brain-gut axis. The cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, which belong to the endocannabinoid system, and a number of other receptors in the body, such as receptors belonging to the TRPV family, participate in the sensory transmission of external and harmful stimuli from outside the body. In the brain, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for e.g. from vomiting and from nausea. (7,8)
Endocannabinoids have many important functions in the gut. They have been shown e.g. reducing gastric acid hypersecretion, slowing down intestinal function and promoting the intestinal microbiome.(7,8)
Decreased levels of anandamide have been observed in people with intestinal disorders. (8)
CB1 receptor occurs e.g. in the enteric nervous system and intestinal epithelium. Activated CB1 receptor e.g. reduces the release of acetylcholine and adjusts the bowel function to suit digestion by preventing excessive muscle movement. (7,8)
The CB2 receptor has been found in the enteric nervous system, but it is mainly found in the immune cells of the gut. The CB2 receptor is involved in reducing the production of inflammatory cells in the intestinal immune cells, regulating intestinal motility and the speed of movement of goods moving in the intestine. (7,8)
CBD and IBS
CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound found in hemp called a cannabinoid. According to decades of research, cannabinoids have numerous therapeutic properties that positively affect the health of people and animals.
Intestinal diseases are complex and therefore challenging to treat, and CBD alone certainly cannot cure them. Changes related to diet and exercise are necessary and CBD can serve as a good support both psychologically during the changes and physically in the body’s healing process.
According to studies, CBD has numerous impressive properties, and in relation to the intestines, it e.g. relieves the inflammatory state of the body , reduces the activity of small muscles, giving food more digestion time and increases the production of the endocannabinoid anandamide.
Read here more about the effect of CBD on the intestines.
CBG and IBS
CBG (cannabigerol) is also a phytocannabinoid found in hemp, which according to research has effects on health and intestinal well-being. (9)
IBD in dogs and cats
Inflammatory bowel diseases also occur in pets and the causes are largely the same as in humans; deterioration of the quality of food, problems caused by the environment, such as abundant vaccinations, and finally, a sensitive intestine that starts to react to ordinary things, such as food.
The symptoms are also comparable to those in humans. Symptoms in animals include diarrhea, malaise, vomiting, stomach rumbling, weight loss and poor appetite.
Also, diet therapy is primarily used to treat animals. CBD oil has also been found to be suitable for treating animals such as dogs and cats. CBD has a similar effect on animals as it does on humans, so CBD oil could be a good support alongside diet therapy. (10)
Intestinal diseases are very unpleasant diseases and they cause symptoms that make life difficult. There are several different types of these diseases and they are roughly divided into two, inflammatory and other intestinal diseases. IBS, i.e. irritable bowel syndrome, is the most common of these, and the IBD diseases colitis and Crohn’s disease are rarer. It is possible to get the symptoms under control with the help of diet, herbal products and light exercise, in other words, with a change in lifestyle. CBD and CBG are cannabinoids that may be of significant help in supporting the treatment of these conditions.
- Reho T.. 2021 Duodecim health library. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk00068. Referred to on 1/30/2023.
- Tunturi S.. 2020. Duodecim health library. Ulcerative colon inflammation (Colitis ulceroca). https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk00088. Referred to on 1/30/2023.
- Fell S. 2020. Duodecim terveyskirjasto. Crohn’s disease (regional enteritis). https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk01110. Referred to on 1/30/2023.
- IBD and other intestinal diseases Ry. https://ibd.fi/tietoa-sairauksista/ibd/. Referred to on 1/30/2023
- Antikainen A. and Männikkö R.. 2020. Duodecim health library. Nutritional treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk01265. Referred to on 1/30/2023.
- https://ravintovalmentajat.fi. Referred to on 1/30/2023
- Brugnatelli V., Turco F., Freo U and Zanette G.. 2021. Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Manipulating the Endocannabinoid System as First-Line Treatment. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Brugnatelli %20V% 5BAuthor%5D. Referred to on 1/30/2023
- Hasenoehri C., Taschler U., Storr M and Schicho R.. 2016. The gastrointestinal tract – a central organ of cannabinoid signaling in health and disease. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Taschler %20U% 5BAuthor%5D , Cited 01/30/2023
- Borrelli F., Fasolino I., Romano B., Capasso R., Maiello F., Coppola D., Orlando P., Battista G., Pagano E., Marzo V. and Izzo A.. 2013. Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295213000543?via%3Dihub. Referred to on 1/30/2023
- Canine inflammatory bowel disease or CIE. https://evidensia.fi/hoitovinkit/koiran-tulehduksellinen-suolistosairaus-eli-ibd/. Referred to on 1/30/2023