Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a common medical condition that affects the large intestine. It’s considered chronic, though symptoms can be lessened or managed. According to the National Institutes of Health, IBS affects 11 percent of the global population. In fact, it’s the top diagnosis by gastroenterologists, but because many people with the disorder don’t seek medical help, it remains underdiagnosed. Women are more likely to develop IBS than men, and it typically appears in people younger than 50.
IBS is associated with abdominal pain, bloating, and changes to bowel movements, whether that’s constipation, diarrhea, or both. Symptoms don’t always present consistently, and can flare up in response to triggers like eating certain foods, stress, and hormonal changes. The cause isn’t known, but IBS is a functional gastrointestinal disorder, meaning it’s a condition related to the brain-gut connection. In that sense, the nervous system may play a role, as well as changes in the gut bacteria.
Doctors usually treat IBS with recommended lifestyle changes, medication, or a combination of both. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of cannabis may help ease symptoms as well. To help you better understand how cannabis, including CBD oil or medical marijuana, might aid in the treatment of IBS, we at cannabisMD will continue to provide you with a wealth resources informed by emerging research.