Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic disease that affects the large intestine (colon), causing inflammation and small ulcers (or ulcers). Symptoms of UC include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, bloody stools, and the need to pass stools frequently.
There is no cure for ulcerative colitis, so treatment prioritizes symptom relief and outbreak reduction. Many people with ulcerative colitis resort to alternative treatments, such as cannabidiol (CBD), to control disease control and improve their quality of life.
Read on for more information on how CBD can be a useful adjunctive therapy in the treatment of UC symptoms.
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- 1 Inflammation, CBD and ulcerative colitis
- 2 CBD for ulcerative colitis symptoms
- 3 Are there any side effects?
- 4 How to use CBD for ulcerative colitis
- 5 How to buy CBD
- 6 A word from Verywell
Inflammation, CBD and ulcerative colitis
Cannabis plants contain chemicals called cannabinoids, which are plant-exclusive compounds. The two main cannabinoids are:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has psychoactive effects that make a person feel “high”
- Cannabidiol (CBD), which has no psychoactive effects, but which can provide a number of therapeutic benefits
Both CBD and THC interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). ECS is a complex biological system that regulates cardiovascular, nervous, and immune system functions.
CBD binds and activates brain receptors that create a therapeutic effect on the body, helping users find relief from painful symptoms without feeling impaired.
CBD has many therapeutic properties and is a known anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD can be a potential therapeutic treatment for ulcerative colitis.
CBD for ulcerative colitis symptoms
CBD has been explored in several studies as a potential treatment for ulcerative colitis. Research shows that CBD can help reduce inflammation of the gastrointestinal system caused by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis.
One study found that participants with UC who took 50 milligrams (mg) of CBD oil twice a day, increasing to 250 mg per dose if needed and tolerated, experienced significant improvements in their quality. of life. However, more research and follow-up studies are needed.
Another study looked at the effectiveness of CBD use in adults with ulcerative colitis. The study concluded that CBD extracts may help relieve the symptoms of IBD and UC.
Although more research is needed, the results of the current study show the promise that CBD may be beneficial for the treatment of ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Are there any side effects?
Although CBD is usually well tolerated, you may experience some side effects. Common side effects include:
- Mood swings (for example, irritability)
- Decreased appetite
- Dry mouth
CBD and liver
CBD is metabolized by the liver and large doses can cause liver toxicity. Talk to your doctor before using CBD. If you are using prescription medications, you may be advised to check your liver regularly for bleeding to ensure that CBD is safe for you.
How to use CBD for ulcerative colitis
While CBD will not cure ulcerative colitis, it can help make symptoms more manageable and reduce outbreaks.
There are many different forms of CBD and you may have to try different delivery methods before you find the one that works for you.
CBD is available at:
- Groceries (e.g. gummies, drinks with CBD infusion)
- Plants (for inhalation / smoking)
- Capsules and tablets
- Dyes and oils
- Topics (eg lotions, creams)
So far, CBD has only been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat epilepsy. As a result, there is no recommended standard dose of CBD for the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
Shopping for CBD
When you buy CBD, you will notice different types available. This includes:
- Full spectrum CBD: It contains all the natural components of the cannabis plant, including terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids and cannabinoids. Full-spectrum CBD products contain traces of THC. These compounds work in synergy in the body to achieve the desired therapeutic effects.
- Broad spectrum CBD: Similar to full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD contains compounds in the cannabis plant, but with all traces of THC removed, so you won’t experience any mind-altering effects.
- CBD isolates: The remaining cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are removed to create 99% pure CBD product.
For best results, look for broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD products. These can combine the effects of multiple cannabis compounds working together in synergy, creating an “entourage effect” to deliver the best health benefits.
Because CBD remains a relatively new therapeutic option for controlling various health conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, there is currently no standard recommended dose.
In one study, patients with ulcerative colitis were given 50 mg of CBD oil twice a day. Some participants were able to increase to 250 mg twice daily for a period of 10 weeks.
Another study also recorded daily doses of 50 to 250 mg of CBD capsules twice a day. Many participants were able to tolerate the higher dose and saw improvements, although the study authors suggested that more research was needed.
As with many medications, it is best to start with a lower dose and gradually increase the amount of CBD to determine the right dose.
Talk to your healthcare provider
It is important to talk to your doctor before adding any supplemental therapy, such as CBD, to the treatment of ulcerative colitis. They will be able to determine if CBD will be beneficial for your case and will recommend the right dose.
How to buy CBD
With so many options available, it can be daunting to buy CBD. CBD is generally safe and well tolerated, but the industry is poorly regulated and consumers should be aware of what to look for before buying CBD.
You will want to carefully read the label of all the products you are considering and search for:
- Amount of CBD per serving
- Suggested use / dosage
- Type (full spectrum, broad spectrum or isolated)
- List of ingredients
- Name of manufacturer and distributor
You may also want to consider:
- Cannabis source: Make sure the product you are purchasing comes from a company that guarantees the quality and safe cultivation of your plants. Look for products that come from organic hemp / hemp plants when possible.
- Certificate of Analysis (CoA): Certificates of authorization (COAs) are made using independent, accredited labels that verify testing of third-party products.
- Customer reviews: Testimonials from other users can tell you a lot about the effectiveness of a product.
Avoid products and suppliers that make broad, definitive statements or promises of a “cure” for something. If you are currently taking other medicines or supplements for UC, talk to your doctor before using CBD, as it may interact with other medicines you are taking.
A word from Verywell
People with ulcerative colitis may consider alternative treatments such as CBD to help control their symptoms. It is important to remember that while CBD can help improve symptoms, it will not treat or cure the disease.
CBD is best used as a supplemental therapy alongside conventional treatments recommended by your doctor, as well as dietary modifications. As with any supplement or medication, talk to your doctor before testing for CBD.
Frequently asked questions
What are the benefits of CBD for gastrointestinal diseases?
Cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help them control the symptoms of gastrointestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis. Research suggests that CBD is a promising therapeutic for inflammatory bowel disease, which helps reduce mucosal lesions, ulcerations, and inflammation associated with IBD. CBD can also help control gastrointestinal pain, as well as secondary symptoms that occur with IBD, such as anxiety, nausea, and sleep disorders.
Which strains of CBD help with inflammation?
The cannabis plant (for smoking / vaporizing) comes in different strains, with different levels of CBD and THC. CBD-dominated cannabis strains can provide the best relief for inflammation. These strains tend to be high in the terpene called myrcene, which helps reduce inflammation.
How is CBD used for ulcerative colitis?
There are many methods of CBD delivery, including groceries (e.g., gummies), flowers, oils, tinctures, clichés, and suppositories. Finding the right one may require a little trial and error. The best method depends on your personal preferences and how quickly you need relief. For example, you may get relief from painful symptoms before vaporizing oil versus consuming an edible food. Start with smaller doses and increase the amount you use until you find the amount that gives you relief from symptoms. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you start using it.