Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome – The Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Even though the medical evidence that cannabis can effectively treat the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome is sparse, many clinical experiences have revealed its effectiveness. The very first study that was conducted in connection with medical marijuana and irritable bowel syndrome was done as early as 2003. 

The author of this study theorized that irritable bowel syndrome as well as other health conditions were as a result of a deficiency in the amount of the body’s own cannabinoid chemicals. To support this theory, the author pointed out to the fact that irritable bowel syndrome is mostly seen alongside fibromyalgia and migraine headaches, which are two conditions which have also been theorized to involve the body’s endocannabinoid system.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome abbreviated as IBS is a common medical condition that often affects the large intestine. People with this condition often suffer from a series of symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, excess gas, mucus in stool, cramping as well as diarrhea or constipation, or both. It is worthy to note that only a small number of people with irritable bowel syndrome show severe signs and symptoms.

Some individuals can manage the symptoms by controlling their diets, lifestyle as well as stress levels. However, there also exist medications that can cure more severe symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Even though the exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not yet known, certain factors play a role in it. Some of such factors include muscle contractions in the intestine, severe infections, abnormalities in the nervous system, as well as changes in the bacteria in the gut. IBS can also be triggered by certain conditions, including food, stress and hormones.

People who are at risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome include young people under the age of 50, females as well as people with a history of IBS in their families. Irritable bowel syndrome is also associated with poor quality of life as well as mood disorders. Besides, most people with IBS often develop complications like chronic constipation and diarrhea, which could in turn cause hemorrhoids. Some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can be prevented or controlled through counselling, mindfulness training as well as progressive relaxation exercises.

Over recent years, many patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome have moved to consuming medical cannabis in a bid to control their symptoms more naturally. To understand how medical marijuana helps in alleviating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, it is first of all necessary to also understand the endocannabinoid system and its role in the human body. The endocannabinoid system is made up of a bunch of receptors on various cells, which are triggered by the internal cannabinoid neurotransmitters in the human body. Thus, because human beings have internal cannabinoids in their system, it is possible for them to use cannabis-derived cannabinoids to treat illnesses.

According to a study that was published by Neuro Endocrinology Letter in 2008, irritable bowel syndrome just like migraine, fibromyalgia and other related conditions suggest an underlying clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that could conveniently be treated with cannabinoid medicines.

Another study that was published in 2016 by Neuropharmacology revealed that the main non-psychotomimetic component of marijuana known as cannabidiol (CBD) exhibits anxiolytic-like properties, thereby suggesting that CBD can help reduce stress-like symptoms which are always associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Similarly, in 2016, a review of illnesses that are probably related to Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency was conducted. According to this review, GI propulsion, secretion, and inflammation in the gut are all modulated by the endocannabinoid system. This assertion has provided a rationale for medical cannabis to be used as an alternative treatment of IBS. The researchers of this study equally pointed out to the fact that GI propulsion is under tonic control of the endocannabinoid system, and that as far back as the 19th century, medical cannabis was one of the first clinical interventions for chronic diarrhea that was associated with cholera.

Studies from animals have also revealed that endocannabinoids affects gut motility and visceral hypersensitivity, both of which are factors that contribute to the pain, bloat, feelings of fullness as well as bathroom problems that most people with irritable bowel syndrome usually face. Besides, the endocannabinoid system also protects the stomach from inflammation and stomach acids that are associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

Despite the evidences pointing to the effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating irritable bowel syndrome, scientists have opined that more research needs to be done on the subject in a bid to have a better understanding and to come up with a bigger picture on how it could be universally accepted.


Mayo Clinic
Very Well Health

Marijuana strains reported to help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

  • LSD
  • Cannatonic
  • Pink Kush
  • Tangerine Dream
  • Harlequin

How To Get Medical Marijuana


If you are interested in trying cannabis to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome or other medical conditions, you will first need to consult with a certified doctor to get a medical marijuana card. To get started, simply fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and a physician or clinic representative will contact you as available.

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