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Can CBD be used to treat IBD and Crohn's disease?

Can CBD Treat Crohn's Disease?

CBD may be a powerful ally in treating chronic intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease and colitis. Not only that but migraines, fibromyalgia, and other conditions related to gut health may also respond to treatment with CBD. Medical studies have shown that all of these conditions may result from a deficiency in endocannabinoids (cannabinoids created by your own body) that may be corrected by CBD.

Humans have known since ancient times that cannabis has beneficial effects on the gut. In fact, cannabis, the plant from which CBD is derived, has a long history of being used for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastroenteritis, diarrhea, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease and intestinal pain. CBD’s potency as an anti-inflammatory has made it a prime candidate for testing in chronic inflammatory laboratory paradigms and clinical studies.

The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in IBD

The human body possesses a vast endocannabinoid system (ECS) with receptors found in all major organs. Endocannabinoids regulate many physiological functions including immune responses in the gut. The body produces endocannabinoids in response to a variety of conditions. Phytocannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids such as CBD) bind to endocannabinoid receptors mimicking the effects of the endocannabinoids they are lacking.

Studies have shown that endocannabinoid receptors are distributed throughout the gut. The ECS is involved in the regulation of nutrient intake, nausea, gastric secretion and gastroprotection, GI motility, ion transport, visceral sensation, intestinal inflammation and cell proliferation in the gut.

Below are listed 9 studies compiled by Project CBD which show CBD to be effective at reducing inflammatory responses in diseased guts. Further research is essential to clarify the specific mechanisms driving the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD so that therapeutics can be developed to target inflammatory diseases such as IBD.

9 Studies Showing CBD’s Effects on IBD, Chron’s, and Colitis

1) Cannabidiol in inflammatory bowel diseases: a brief overview. - This minireview highlights the importance of CBD as a promising drug for the therapy of inflammatory bowel diseases IBD.

2) Cannabis finds its way into treatment of Crohn's disease. - In this placebo-controlled study, cannabis was shown to produce significant clinical benefits in patients with Crohn's disease.

3) Cannabidiol reduces intestinal inflammation through the control of neuroimmune axis. - This study investigated the effect of CBD on intestinal biopsies from patients with ulcerative colitis and from intestinal segments of mice with chemically-induced intestinal inflammation. CBD markedly counteracted the inflammation.

4) Cannabidiol, a safe and non-psychotropic ingredient of the marijuana plant Cannabis sativa, is protective in a murine model of colitis. - This study investigated the effect of cannabidiol on colitis. Colitis was chemically induced in mice. CBD reduced colon injury. The study concluded that CBD is a safe compound which prevents experimental colitis in mice.

5) Cannabinoids and the gut: new developments and emerging concepts. - This study looked at cannabinoid receptors and their localization in the gut, the proteins involved in endocannabinoid synthesis and degradation, and the presence of endocannabinoids in the gut in health and disease.

6) Endocannabinoids and the gastrointestinal tract. - This study claimed that the endocannabinoid system may represent a new promising therapeutic target against GI disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases (eg, Crohn's disease), functional bowel diseases (eg, irritable bowel syndrome), and secretion- and motility-related disorders.

7) Cannabinoids and gastrointestinal motility: animal and human studies. - This study showed that cannabinoids can reduce gastrointestinal motility in randomized clinical trials, and determined that modulation of the gut endogenous cannabinoid system may provide a useful therapeutic target for disorders of gastrointestinal motility.

8) Manipulation of the Endocannabinoid System in Colitis: A Comprehensive Review. This review showed that atypical cannabinoids are upregulated in inflammation, and their presence and stimulation attenuate colitis, whereas cannabinoid receptor antagonism and cannabinoid receptor deficient models reverse these anti-inflammatory effects.

9) Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions? -This study examines the concept of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD), and the prospect that it could underlie the pathophysiology of migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and other functional conditions alleviated by clinical cannabis.