CBD Oil for IBS, How It Works and Is It Safe? a Guide

Posted April 5, 2021 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

CBD has been a topic of discussion recently for its many benefits. So, you might be wondering if you can take CBD oil for IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

Supplements, such as CBD, could bring relief from symptoms of IBS. So, in this article, we’ll explore whether CBD oil can help those with IBS.

CBD Oil for IBS? CBD oil may help alleviate some of the symptoms of IBS due to the connection between the endocannabinoid system and the gut. However, CBD oil is not regulated, so results may be variable and problematic. More research is required, so talk to a doctor before starting a course of CBD oil.

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, irritable bowel syndrome, more commonly known as IBS is the most common disease diagnosed by gastroenterologists. It is also one of the most common disorders seen by primary care physicians and affects almost 10-15 percent of the population.

So that we have a better understanding of whether CBD oil can help those who suffer from IBS, let’s start by exploring what CBD oil is.  

What is CBD oil? 

CBD Oil for IBS

Here’s the full guide on exactly what CBD is. But in short, CBD is the non-psychoactive ingredient in the Cannabis sativa plant.

It has become widely available in recent years and may help with many health conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome.

It is worth mentioning that because CBD is not psychoactive, it will not give you the “high” that marijuana is commonly known for.

How is CBD oil made? 

CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil. 

The result is an oil that contains high concentrations of CBD and can vary in levels of other cannabinoids or plant compounds.

Let’s discover more about how CBD oil works and whether it’s possible to help with the symptoms of IBS.

Related: What triggers IBS

How does CBD oil work? 

The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a biological system found in the brain and throughout the body that includes endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors.

Cannabinoids can be made inside our bodies naturally and are called endocannabinoids. These include anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol. 

Cannabinoids can also be found in plants, called phytocannabinoids. 

The most common ones come from the cannabis sativa plant including: 

  • THC delta-9-tetrahydrocannabidiol 
  • CBD cannabidiol 
  • CBN cannabinol 

CBD is currently gaining momentum in the health and wellness world, with some scientific studies confirming it may ease symptoms of ailments like chronic pain, anxiety, and even arthritis.

People use the term CBD to encompass many types of CBD extracts. CBD oils may have a range of cannabinoid profiles and medicinal or health benefits.

CBD oil is available in any of the following product forms:

  • Oil
  • Capsules
  • Vape oils
  • Tinctures
  • Edibles

Here’s the full guide on the most common methods of taking CBD oil.

How CBD oil can help with symptoms of IBS 

IBS is a functional digestive disorder that has a complex pathophysiology. In simple terms, multiple factors can cause IBS and disrupt the digestive system.

Other than the more obvious digestive symptoms such as:

  • Gas 
  • Bloating 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation 

Sufferers of IBS may also experience:

  • Altered gut motility. This refers to the movement of food from the mouth through the throat, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, and out of the body.
  • Visceral hypersensitivity, which is an increase in pain sensation experienced in internal organs, common in IBS sufferers, and mood disturbances.

According to research by DiPatrizio on endocannabinoids in the gut, he had this to say. 

evidence suggests that dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system might play a role in intestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, as well as obesity.” 

This could mean that taking CBD oil, which works with the endocannabinoid system, could alleviate the bowel inflammation identified in irritable bowel syndrome.

However, although more research is necessary, it is known that cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body.

CB1 is found primarily in the brain and CB2 in the immune cells, with many found in the digestive system, signifying the connection between CBD and alleviating irritable bowel symptoms.

CB1 receptors are primarily associated with memory processing, appetite, pain sensation, mood, and sleep, while CB2 receptors are involved with inflammation and pain.

Is it safe to take CBD oil for IBS?

CBD Oil for IBS

Although there is new research being carried out on the effectiveness of CBD oil for a wealth of benefits, possibly including IBS, there is a significant safety concern. 

This is because CBD oil is mainly marketed and sold as a supplement rather than medication, and there are no FDA regulations available for any CBD products. 

This means that you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients that may help with health issues such as IBS or that the dose listed on the label will be effective. 

In addition to this, CBD oil may contain other unknown elements. 

If you decide to try CBD for IBS, make sure you discuss it with your doctor to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking. 

Now that we’ve found out that taking CBD oil for IBS may help alleviate some of the symptoms, you might be wondering if there are any other ways to combat IBS symptoms. 

What are some other ways to help reduce IBS? 

  • Healthy diet: to help alleviate some of the symptoms of IBS, try to eat the healthiest, cleanest plant-based diet you can. A diet that is rich in vegetables plus whole grains, such as oats and quinoa. Try to limit or eliminate foods high in sugar, artificial sweeteners, and saturated and trans fats. These foods may include fatty meats, ready-made cookies, frozen pizza, margarine, and microwave popcorn.
  • Probiotic supplements: If you are suffering from some of the gastro symptoms of IBS, consider adding a probiotic supplement. A review published in March 2015 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology looked at more than 1,700 patients. It concluded that probiotics could reduce pain and severity of symptoms in people with IBS.
  • Psyllium supplements: According to a study published in September 2017 in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, psyllium supplements can help manage all three types of IBS. Stir a teaspoon of psyllium powder into your morning oatmeal or a glass of water. Whatever form of IBS you have, psyllium may help.
  • L-Glutamine: L-glutamine may be another over-the-counter supplement to try, alongside CBD oil for IBS. It’s an amino acid, sold as a powder and found in food and supplements. 
  • Deep breathing: Reducing stress with breathing exercises may also help calm down the gut nerves. 

Closing thoughts

We hope this has provided an overview of the use of CBD oil for IBS. As always, consult your doctor before proceeding. We can also assist with your medication needs.

If you’re having trouble affording any of your medications, enroll with us and see if you qualify to pay only $50 a month for each of your medications.



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