Medical Marijuana as Treatment for IBS
First, I would like to start off with the fact that it has taken a lot of courage for me to even write about such a sensitive subject. However, I feel that it is important to bring awareness and provide proper knowledge regarding marijuana and its medicinal value when used as treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
As much as I would like to start off with discrediting the social stigma that surrounds the medical use of marijuana, I figured it would be too typical to do so. With the amount of unbiased-scientific research that proves its beneficial values, the increasing number of states in America (and many other parts of the world) that are legalizing the plant for medical use (and some for recreational use), and for the fact that there has not been any recorded deaths caused by marijuana alone in history; there is no need to try to convince people that marijuana is not as bad as the media and propaganda make it out to be. I am fighting myself to advocate against the negative stereotypes because I am a firm believer in marijuana as an herbal medicine and its other uses as a natural resource. However, my sole purpose with this article is to talk about the benefits of natural remedies, specifically medical marijuana, and how it helps with my IBS.
For thousands of years, herbs have been used as a main source of medication in many countries around the world. There are a large number of herbal therapies that are practiced for many different ailments. For instance, turmeric and ginger have widely been used to help with symptoms caused by arthritis and acid reflux. Many people prepare the roots of these plants in the form of tea or food as a way of consuming the medication. Aloe is also used as a natural treatment. This plant can be prepared in a form of a drinking liquid to help reduce bloating, or even used as a skin applicator for acne and rashes. Another is chamomile, which helps with many symptoms caused by irritable bowel syndrome, such as bloating and indigestion. Thanks to unbiased scientific research, it has been proven that marijuana has many chemical properties that allow it to have great medicinal value as well.
To be able to discuss the medical benefits of marijuana, I must talk briefly about the chemical compounds in the plant, known as cannabinoids, and how they work to trigger the cannabinoid receptors that are already present in our bodies. A lot of people are familiar with the most common cannabinoids called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which are the components, along with many others, that help in alleviating pain. According to Crescolabs, which is a company that provides educational resources regarding medical marijuana, “THC, is also known for being an effective reliever of pain and nausea, which are two of the most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. CBD, the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid works as a powerful anti-spasmodic that also produces calming effects in patients.” To further explain the mechanism, when these cannabinoids enter our system they create a reaction that stimulates two cannabinoid receptors; CB1 and CB2. As a result of the CB1 receptors being activated, which are found in the nervous system, digestive tract, etc., the human body then undergoes a process that allows it to feel the ‘pharmacological effects’ produced by marijuana. These effects include “gastroprotection, reduction of gastric and intestinal motility and reduction of intestinal secretion”. This is great news for IBS sufferers because depending on if you’re going through bouts of constipation or diarrhea, medical marijuana can help relax your intestinal muscles so that it’s easier to have a bowel movement. Not only does medical marijuana help IBS patients, it also has been extremely beneficial to patients who suffer from other illnesses, such as Crohn’s Disease, Arthritis, GERD, and many others. (To find more information on the research being done on the effects of medical marijuana, refer to these websites:
For me personally, medical marijuana has changed my life significantly since I found out I had IBS. Just about every morning I suffer from nausea, instant diarrhea, and lots of cramps and sharp pains, but as soon as I take my medication (medical marijuana) my symptoms, especially my nausea and cramps, quickly start to fade. Also, I’m naturally a positive person, however as you can imagine, IBS makes it easy to be depressed due to the daily struggles it creates, but the ease that medical marijuana provides to me aids in maintaining my sense of optimism. I find that having a positive attitude helps me develop the strength to be able to fight through each day, even if I’m going through a bad flare up. Although it is nearly impossible to overdose on marijuana, I’ve been prescribed to only intake a small amount, which is more than enough to help with pain relief. Overall, when consuming marijuana appropriately (and legally), the effects can be very beneficial to an IBS patient if he/she is willing to go that route.
- Di Carlo, Guilia, and Angelo A. Izzo. "Cannabinoids for Gastrointestinal Diseases: Potential Therapeutic Applications." Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs 12.1 (2005): 39-49. Web.