Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS as it’s better known, is a surprisingly common condition. It’s thought that between 10 and 15% of men and women in the United States suffer from IBS today.
IBS can be a very embarrassing condition because of the intermittent diarrhea and constipation that it causes. It is often accompanied by extreme bloating of the stomach and the vast majority of patients complain of abdominal pain which can be cripplingly intense.
The symptoms of IBS can be hard to spot. A few stomach cramps and the occasional constipation can seem random and meaningless. However, when the symptoms persist to a point where they interfere with the patients day to day life, it should eventually become clear that there is something not quite right.
When treating IBS, patients have little or no choice but to try to identify the foods which trigger their condition and make lifestyle changes that can relieve it to a degree. Eating smaller meals, more often can help.
However, some people believe that medical cannabis and it’s constituents can help to relieve these symptoms even more. This theory comes off the back of research which has linked IBS and other conditions to the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is a regulatory system which is found in the bodies of most animal species. This system of receptors is scattered throughout the skin and brain, among other parts of the body. It regulates key bodily functions such as pain modulation, skin health, brain development and mood.
The chemicals in cannabis are almost identical to those produced and processed by this system. Known as cannabinoids, they have been shown in studies and clinical trials to interact with the system and make it strong, more effective and more efficient.
The belief that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in IBS is the basis for the theory that cannabis could help to treat the condition. However, as of yet there is no scientific data to back this theory up. Researchers are currently investigating the effects of cannabis on IBS, but this research may take some time.
In the meantime, some IBS patients are choosing to treat their condition experimentally with cannabis. In states where medical cannabis is now legal, this seems a very low-risk option and many claim that they are seeing positive results. Hopefully the data will soon exists to back up these claims.