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Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Marijuana: Does Marijuana Help With IBS?

by in Medical Marijuana, Written by Dr. Daniel November 9, 2022

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a common gastrointestinal condition across America. Data shows that 10-15% of people worldwide may have it. Uncomfortable and long-lasting, IBS can hurt the quality of life of those affected. However, relief from IBS may be possible with marijuana. But how does marijuana help with IBS?

Keep reading as we explore the link between medicinal cannabis and IBS.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine. The main symptoms of IBS are usually diarrhea, constipation, or a mix of both. IBS can sometimes be confused with other conditions that affect your intestines, like Crohn’s Disease or celiac disease.

Other symptoms of IBS include cramping, bloating, weight loss, rectal bleeding, fever, nausea, abdominal pain, and anemia. Fortunately, there is no evidence that IBS affects bowel tissue or makes the person who has it more likely to get colorectal cancer. However, since these symptoms are similar to other bowel-related illnesses, you should talk to a doctor about them.

People who have IBS and other gastrointestinal illnesses may be able to find some relief through medical marijuana. But how does marijuana help with IBS?

Endocannabinoids and IBS

A cannabis plant

There are lots of chemicals in cannabis that affect the way a marijuana IBS treatment works. Our bodies seem designed to use cannabis. The human body has an “endocannabinoid system” that receives signals from some of the chemicals in marijuana. These chemicals can be all over the body, including our digestive systems. This system has inspired researchers to explore the link between medicinal cannabis and IBS and seek potential weed treatments.

There is also a lot of ongoing research to answer the question, “does marijuana help with IBS?” The first link between cannabinoid receptors and IBS was proposed in 2004 by researcher Ethan B. Russo. His research suggested that the pain and inflammation of certain bowel conditions, including IBS, can be blocked by cannabinoid chemicals.

Because IBS is associated with other issues, like fibromyalgia and migraines, which cannabis can also treat, there seems to be a connection between them. This link makes a lot of sense. Because other conditions seemed to be associated with IBS in many cases, it looks as though several chronic issues could benefit from cannabis-based treatment. It does not cure IBS, but it seems cannabis might be helpful for many people suffering from that type of symptom.

Does Medical Marijuana Help With IBS?

One of the main arguments in favor of medical marijuana in IBS treatment is that there is evidence that cannabis can affect how our guts work. Existing studies are promising because they show that marijuana might help relieve the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases like IBS, ulcerative colitis, and others. When we use cannabis, the endocannabinoids help protect the digestive system from inflammation and acids in the stomach.

More research is necessary on the link between medicinal cannabis and IBS. However, studies on modified cannabinoids such as dronabinol (derived for cancer patients) are promising. Human bodies seem to appreciate the more natural method of treatment. Despite the need for more research, the future of IBS marijuana-based treatment is bright.

It appears that marijuana does help with IBS, and it has the potential to aid other similar conditions and provide some form of relief.

Medical Marijuana Legalities

A brown wooden gavel on a table

It is important to note that the legal status of medicinal marijuana differs from state to state. For example, 18 qualifying conditions in Arkansas allow patients to apply for a state marijuana card. Though Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not currently on this list, multiple illnesses similar to IBS, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and fibromyalgia, are.

Check your state’s laws to see if you can use marijuana legally to help with your IBS. If you are dealing with IBS or another chronic bowel condition, you should speak to a doctor. IBS may be associated with another disease where medical marijuana is a potential relief option.

Get Relief From IBS With Ozark MMJ Cards

Now that you know marijuana does help with IBS, you may be wondering how to access medical marijuana. At Ozark MMJ Cards, we provide medical marijuana certification and tips on submitting your paperwork to the government. Check our service areas to see if we can help you get certified, or contact us for more info!

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