Problems surrounding digestion and gut health are common. These gastrointestinal issues can range from mild to severe and include conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn, diarrhea, indigestion, bloating, and constipation. Many people in New Zealand experience these issues at some point in their lives, which various factors, including certain medications, stress, and diet, can cause. Medicinal cannabis became legal in New Zealand with a doctor’s prescription in 2018, and is now regulated by the Ministry of Health. This has created new treatment opportunities for people with certain medical conditions, digestive issues included. 

       You should note that It is important for individuals with digestive issues to seek medical attention if symptoms are severe or persistent, as untreated digestive issues can lead to more serious health problems.


Can CBD Oil Help with Gut Health?


       Evidence suggests that cannabis, specifically cannabidiol (CBD), may be able to help with specific digestive issues. CBD is a compound found in cannabis that does not have psychoactive effects or produce the “high” associated with cannabis. One study found that CBD oil may help reduce inflammation in the digestive system, which can benefit people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. 

       In addition, CBD has been shown to have anti-nausea and anti-vomiting effects, which may be beneficial for people with digestive problems such as vomiting or nausea. The various digestive issues we have consulted with are varied and include:

  • Inflammatory conditions – such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Gastro-intestinal cancers
  • Colitis
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Poor appetite
  • Digestion issues
       However, it is essential to note that the research on the use of cannabis for digestive issues is still in the early stages, and more research is needed to understand its potential benefits and risks fully. It is also important to note that cannabis is not legal in all countries, including New Zealand, and its use may be restricted. It is always essential to speak with a healthcare provider before using any new treatment, including cannabis. 

How Do Cannabinoids Interact with the Body?


       Medicinal cannabis affects the body through its interactions with the endocannabinoid system, a network of receptors and neurotransmitters involved in a range of physiological processes in the body. It is made up of endocannabinoids, chemicals that bind to cannabinoid receptors and influence functions such as pain, appetite, mood and memory. This system plays a part in maintaining a balance and stability across your bodily processes. 

       The endocannabinoid system helps to regulate homeostasis in the body, including in the digestive system, where it may affect nausea, gut movement, and inflammation. Some research suggests that deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system may contribute to conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and related disorders and that consuming cannabinoids such as cannabis flower or CBD oil may help to reduce pain associated with these conditions.

       There are two main types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are found in the immune system and gut motility. When cannabinoids bind to these receptors, they can alter the endocannabinoid system’s activity and affect various physiological processes in the body.

       Gut motility refers to the movement of muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, which helps to move food through the digestive system and allows the body to absorb nutrients. Some cannabinoids can stimulate this CB1 receptor. Stimulation of the CB1 receptor may have a number of effects on the digestive system, including reducing nausea, slowing the emptying of the stomach, and reducing stomach acid. THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana, is known for its ability to stimulate the CB1 receptor and cause hunger, a phenomenon often referred to as “the munchies.” However, it is important to note that the research on the effects of cannabinoids is still limited and further studies are needed to fully understand their potential benefits. Listed below are some of the ways medicinal cannabis can help with your digestive issues:

1. Inflammatory conditions – such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
It is thought that CBD may be able to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the production of certain pro-inflammatory molecules and by increasing the production of anti-inflammatory molecules.

2. Irritable bowel syndrome
Some studies have found that cannabis use was associated with improvement in IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain and bowel movements. However, the research in this area is still limited and more studies are needed to fully understand the potential effects of medicinal cannabis on IBS.

3. Gastro-intestinal cancers
Medicinal cannabis may be prescribed to people with gastro-intestinal cancers such as colon, rectal, or stomach cancer. In these cases, medicinal cannabis may be able to help reduce inflammation, pain, and other symptoms associated with these conditions.

4. Colitis
There is some evidence to suggest that medicinal cannabis may be able to help with colitis and other types of IBD. Cannabis contains a number of chemical compounds called cannabinoids, some of which have anti-inflammatory properties.

5. Abdominal pain and bloating
There is some evidence to suggest that medicinal cannabis may be able to help with abdominal pain and bloating. Due to some of the cannabinoids present in medicinal cannabis have analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory properties.

6. Poor appetite
Cannabis contains a chemical called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that is known for its ability to stimulate the CB1 receptor, which is a type of cannabinoid receptor found in the brain and central nervous system. When THC activates the CB1 receptor, it can increase appetite and cause hunger

Your Personalised Treatment Plan


       Overall, the evidence on the use of cannabis for bowel symptoms is limited and more research is needed to fully understand its interactions with the body. However, some research suggests that cannabis may be helpful for managing chronic pain, which is a common symptom of gastrointestinal disorders, and that it has anti-inflammatory effects, particularly CBD oil. At the Cannabis Clinic, our team of professionals is dedicated to helping you find the perfect treatment plan for your needs. We understand that everyone’s needs are different, and we strive to provide personalized care that is tailored to your unique situation.

       Our team is comprised of experienced healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable about the potential benefits and risks of cannabis as a treatment option. We will work with you to understand your specific digestive problems and health goals, and we will help you to determine the best treatment for you. The goal here is to help you find the best treatment plan for your needs and to support you on your journey to better health. We are here to answer your questions and to provide you with the guidance and support you need to lead a healthier and discomfort free life.

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