How Cannabis Benefits Digestive Disorders

Photo Credit: Sue Clark/Flickr

Photo Credit: Sue Clark/Flickr

Digestive disorders are characterized by abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, inflamed bowels, nausea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Digestive disorders are categorized as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which include diseases like Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's disease. Due to the fact many cannabinoid receptors are located within the gastrointestinal system, smoked or ingested cannabis is able to reduce gastric and intestinal motility, which in turn regulates bowel movements and eases cramping.

Certain strains of cannabis have the ability to increase appetite, and a study conducted in Israel found cannabis increased weight and body mass index in IBD patients. Another study from Israel found IBD patients prescribed cannabis treatment reported improvement in general health perception, social functioning, and ability to work after only three months of treatment. Cannabis' anti-inflammatory properties can help IBD patients whose digestive tracts become inflamed and swollen. One NIH study found Crohn's patients treated with cannabis were less likely to need surgery or other drugs compared to patients who abstained from cannabis use. THC has soothing effects on nausea and vomiting, making it a viable treatment option for IBD patients suffering from these symptoms. 

This information has been adapted from Health MJ and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.