Is cbd oil safe for ulcers

CBD Oil for Stomach Ulcers – May 2022

Can CBD oil help with stomach ulcers, and if so, how?

Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are a type of peptic ulcer disease. ‘Peptic’ ulcer is the umbrella term for any ulcer affecting the stomach and the small intestines.

The stomach usually produces acid to help with the digestion of food and protect against bacteria and other microbes.

Meanwhile, cells on the inside lining of the stomach and first portion of the small intestine (duodenum) produce a natural mucus barrier to protect the tissues of the body from this acid.

There is usually a balance between the amount of acid that the body makes and the mucus defence barrier – as well as the amount of base produced by the pancreas.

Ulcers may develop if there is an alteration in this balance, allowing the acid to damage the lining of the stomach or duodenum.

Stomach ulcers are characterized by open sores in the lining of the stomach. While small ulcers may not cause noticeable symptoms, larger ones can cause pain and discomfort (1)

  • Discomfort or burning pain in the upper abdomen
  • Feeling bloated
  • Burping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Weight loss and lack of appetite
  • Dark black stools

CBD for Stomach Ulcers: What The Research Says

There is evidence that cannabinoids like CBD and THC have a positive physiological impact on stomach pathology, including ulcers.

According to research , there is evidence that CB1 receptor stimulation with cannabinoids inhibits gastric acid secretion in humans and experimental animals (2) .

Studies have shown that CBD can decrease gastric acid and increase blood flow to the lining of the stomach.

Researchers of a 2016 study published in Current Neuropharmacology found that direct activation of CB1 receptors by cannabinoids effectively reduces both gastric acid secretion and gastric motor activity and decreases the formation of lesions on the stomach lining (3) .

A study examined how cannabinoids impact the gastrointestinal tract of some species, like the mouse, rat, guinea pig, and humans (4) .

In another study published in Pharmacology Journal, researchers found that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) inhibited ulcer formation in animal models (5) .

Although the studies did not focus on the cannabinoid CBD, the results are still encouraging. The authors believe the endocannabinoid system represents a promising target in the treatment of gastric mucosal lesions, ulceration and inflammation.

CBD for Pain Relief

Prescription medication is not the only reliable scientific solution to treating conditions, such as stomach ulcers.

Chemical-based painkillers have even been known to cause stomach ulcers in the first place.

According to the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom, taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can cause stomach or duodenal ulcers, particularly if these pharmaceuticals are taken for an extended period or at high doses (6) .

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Meanwhile, CBD may also help provide effective pain relief from the invasion of stomach ulcers.

Studies have shown that CBD may have promise in helping provide pain relief. CBD may be useful in treating different types of chronic pain (7) .

Chronic pain, particularly neuropathic pain, is a problem that is difficult to treat, according to the author of a study on neuronal mechanisms for neuropathic pain (8) .

CBD for Nausea

Nausea is a feeling or urge to vomit. It can develop for several reasons, including medications, chemotherapy, food poisoning, morning sickness, general anesthesia, and migraines (9) .

Nausea and vomiting both play an essential, defensive role by rejecting the ingestion or digestion of potentially harmful substances.

Cannabis has long been known to prevent or regulate nausea and vomiting from a variety of causes (10) .

The studies demonstrated that primary cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), have both been useful at regulating vomiting and nausea because they interact with cannabinoid receptor 1 (CBB1) of the endocannabinoid system.

Activating the CB1 receptor suppresses vomiting, as noted in the review published in the journal Psychopharmacology (11) .

Studies have shown that CBD’s effectiveness at producing anti-nausea effects may also be in part of its indirect activation of the 5-HT-1A autoreceptors in the “vomiting center” or “chemoreceptor trigger zone” of the brain stem (12) .

Activation of 5-HT1A heteroreceptors in these areas releases serotonin (13) .

Serotonin is found mostly in the digestive system, although it is also in blood platelets and throughout the central nervous system.

Serotonin is sometimes called “the happy chemical” because it contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness.

Conclusion

CBD’s purported therapeutic benefits may help with symptoms of stomach ulcers. However, more research is needed to validate the results of the studies.

WHO states that CBD “is generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile.” (14) Still, the long-term effects of CBD remain unknown, and the compound may also interact with other pharmaceuticals.

How CBD/THC Can Help Treat Ulcers

There are a variety of ways people attempt to find relief from ulcers, including diet changes, over-the-counter pills or pharmaceutical medications, but many people are turning to more natural methods. This is now leading to many asking how CBD (Cannabidiol) or a combination of CBD and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) can help treat ulcers.

According to the Harvard Medical School, ulcers affect more than 4 million people in the United States each year; 1 in 10 individuals develop an ulcer at some time.

Different Types of Ulcers

While you may hear the term ulcer used in general terms. There are several types of ulcer depending on their location in the body. A peptic ulcer is a sore on the lining of your stomach, small intestine or esophagus. An esophageal ulcer occurs in the lower part of your esophagus. A peptic ulcer in the stomach is called a gastric ulcer. A duodenal ulcer is a peptic ulcer that develops in the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). An esophageal ulcer occurs in the lower part of your esophagus.

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GERD and its Relationship to Ulcers

The underlying issue for both GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), commonly referred to as acid reflux and ulcers is the same—acid. The backup, or reflux, of stomach acids into the esophagus that occurs with, can wear away (erode) the lining of the esophagus and cause sores, called ulcers.

A common misconception is that stress or spicy foods cause ulcers. While they do not cause ulcers, they can make your symptoms worse. With an ulcer, you feel a burning stomach pain (epigastric) that occurs 1-3 hours after eating, especially spicy food.

Common Symptoms of Ulcers

The most common ulcer symptom is burning stomach pain. Stomach acid makes the pain worse, as does having an empty stomach. The pain can often be relieved by eating certain foods that buffer stomach acid or by taking an acid-reducing medication, but then it may come back. The pain may be worse between meals and at night. Other symptoms include:

  • Feeling of fullness, bloating or belching
  • Intolerance to fatty foods
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea

How CBD and/or THC May Help

Our stomachs contain cannabinoid receptors that are part of the endocannabinoid system. These receptors bind with the cannabinoids in cannabis. When this happens, the CB1 receptor tells the stomach to stop producing stomach acid, thus helping relieve acid reflux.

Cannabis/cannabinoids protect the gastric mucosa by virtue of its antisecretory, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and vasodilatory effects. As far back as 1978, it was shown that acute and long-term cannabis treatment reduced the rate of gastric ulceration in rats that were put under stress using restraints.

A review of the gastrointestinal effects of cannabinoids in 2001 states “The digestive tract contains endogenous cannabinoids (anandamide and 2-arachidonylglycerol) and cannabinoid CB1 receptors can be found on myenteric and submucosal nerves.

Activation of CB1 receptors inhibits gastrointestinal motility, intestinal secretion, and gastric acid secretion.” The study concludes that “The enteric location of CB1 receptors could provide new strategies for the management of gut disorders.”

In addition to affecting stomach acid, the muscle relaxant properties of cannabis make it useful for treating acid reflux. The stomach sphincters become more relaxed thereby reducing reflux.

When the CBD reacts with the endocannabinoid system, it reduces the secretion of acids that would otherwise cause actual burn when dealing with the symptoms of acid reflux. There are also anti-inflammatory properties in CBD which make it a useful treatment in individuals with acid reflux.

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Cannabis can also reduce stress and help patients relax, which is also beneficial in the treatment of ulcers.

“THC, in particular, is really useful for ulcers because there are some theories that ulcers show an altered activity of endocannabinoid receptors,” says Three Wells Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Deborah Malka. “THC, in particular, is stimulating and it actually can help normalize the activity of the endocannabinoid receptors in the gut, and for ulcers that’s really important.”

Choosing the Right Strain

These three indica-dominant cannabis strains below are commonly used by people with gastrointestinal pain based on their reputation for alleviating pain and relaxation:

  1. Holy Grail Kush
  2. Hash Plant
  3. Gigabud

Choosing the Right Delivery Methods and Dosage

The delivery method people choose varies by person. Below are the most common:

  • Smoking: You’ll experience the quickest relief when you smoke your cannabis, but like all forms of smoking, you run the risk of irritating your lungs or throat with smoking.
  • Vaporizing: Like smoking, vaping also offers you with fast relief, but it doesn’t expose you as much to the harmful effects of smoking.

“Smoking is…irritating to the airways and your throat. I would stick with vaporizing if you wanted to inhale it all, and avoid smoking altogether for your upper GI symptoms, says Dr. Malka.

  • Tinctures: Tinctures allow you to measure your exact dose. Plus, you can add cannabis tinctures to your food or drinks or take them sublingually for quick symptom relief.

“A tincture is a good method of delivery to treat upper digestive disorders because it is absorbed directly into submucosal tissues upon swallowing,” Dr. Malka says. “Tinctures can also be delivered as a mouth spray for immediate relief.”

  • Capsules: While slower acting, you might choose capsules if you’re looking for a more controlled dose.

As far as dosage, “you don’t need a lot,” Dr. Malka says. “I would start with maybe 5 mg of THC three times a day. You can do that by tincture, by edible or sublingual mouth sprays to get your THC dose.

“As always, if you’re bothered by the psychoactivity (of THC) you can add CBD to the mix, so 5 mg of THC and 5 mg of CBD three times a day would be a good way to start.”

Possible Side Effects

Side effects will vary based on the ratio of CBD and THC and the dosage, but, in general, side effects of CBD may include paradoxically, sedation or problems with sleep, gastrointestinal distress, or dry mouth and eyes. Side effects of THC may include dry mouth, dry/red eyes, hunger, drowsiness and impaired memory.

If you’ve been suffering from ulcers and over-the-counter or pharmaceutical remedies haven’t worked, or you’re looking for a more natural option, CBD and THC may be something to explore.