CBD and Ulcers: Here’s What You Should Know
Posted on August 23rd, 2020
In recent years, many people have sworn by cannabidiol CBD as their go-to health supplement. Its amazing potential benefits to the medical community cannot be understated as it appears to help individuals with a wide and varying range of symptoms. So, with this comes the big question. Can CBD help with ulcers?
Ulcers are a serious medical condition: they can cause severe pain, and if left untreated, they can even be fatal, especially when they begin to bleed. This is an area where researchers are exploring the benefits of CBD for ulcers. Currently, doctors recommend certain drugs to manage ulcers, but these medications have side effects that can be harmful to your health. As a plant extract, however, CBD comes with few side effects. So, can CBD be used to help manage ulcers, without getting you high? For answers to this and other questions, read on for our guide to how CBD may help with ulcers, and who might consider this supplement.
What Is an Ulcer?
An ulcer is a sore that develops in or on your body. Ulcers don’t just show up in your stomach. They can originate in different areas, including your eyes, mouth, stomach, and legs.
Anyone can get an ulcer, but drinking or smoking adds to your risk. Infections, injuries, and diseases can also cause ulcers. Depending on where they develop, the ulcers will be named differently: if they deposit in your stomach lining, they are named gastric ulcers; if they land in the small intestine, they’re known as duodenal ulcers. Ulcers that form in your throat are referred to as esophageal ulcers. Regardless of location, some ulcers heal on their own, others will cause severe health disruptions unless they are treated.
Causes of Ulcers
So, how exactly can you get an ulcer? Many ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori), a bacterial infection. Contrary to what you may have heard, stress won’t give you an ulcer, but it can make an existing problem worse. Also, another common misconception is that eating spicy or acidic foods can trigger ulcer development. While it may seem true, that is not a fact. Yes, eating those types of food will exacerbate your ulcers and its symptoms, but the behavior won’t cause an ulcer to develop.
Using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin can also cause ulcers to develop. There is also a possibility of ulcers forming on tumors within your duodenum, pancreas, and even stomach. This phenomenon is referred to as Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome (ZES).
Symptoms of Ulcers
The most common symptom is chronic abdominal pain accompanied by a burning feeling. With gastric ulcers, you’ll experience pain as soon as you eat something. When it comes to duodenal ulcers, the pain sets in around two to three hours after a meal. Some other ulcer symptoms include:
- Stomach pain that will wake you up at night
- Significant weight loss
- Bloody and tar-like stool
- Bleeding complications in some patients
- Back pain
- Vomiting blood
Many ulcers do not trigger symptoms, especially in elderly patients. This can make diagnosis and treatment a challenge.
How Are Ulcers Diagnosed?
How can you tell if you have an ulcer? If you experience any of the above symptoms, call your doctor right away. A healthcare provider can give you an exam, and confirm your diagnosis with an endoscopy. This process involves having your doctor insert a thin, flexible tube that is attached to a camera inserted down your throat all the way to your stomach. Your blood and stool will also be tested for H.pylori. With these details, your doctor can confirm your ulcer diagnosis.
What Is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is one of numerous compounds, called cannabinoids, that are derived from the cannabis plant. While cannabis use is often associated with getting high, THC, a different cannabinoid is responsible for that psychoactive experience. CBD, on the other hand, will not get you high. Instead, CBD has many potential benefits, and managing ulcers may be one of them. Using CBD could also have other digestive health benefits. It may target symptoms of Crohn’s disease and IBS.
CBD and Ulcers: Is There a Connection?
According to studies, CBD has been successful in combating ulcer symptoms. However, this research is still in its early stages, and more studies must be done to see how CBD impacts people with ulcers. We, therefore, recommend talking with your doctor before starting any CBD routine. This is especially important if you take any medications, since CBD may interfere with your prescriptions or other supplements. If, however, your doctor clears you for taking CBD with ulcers, here are some of the ways this supplement may help alleviate your symptoms:
It Helps Reduce Inflammation
CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS) by stimulating its receptors to do their job. The main job of the ECS is to maintain balance (homeostasis). It, therefore, boosts your bodily functions, mostly by controlling your anandamide levels. CBD helps your ECS retain anandamide, a messenger molecule in your body, thereby helping control your inflammation levels. It does this by blocking FAAH, which is a fatty acid that breaks anandamide down. Without that breakdown, your anandamide levels remain high and you enjoy reduced inflammation.
Aids in Managing Stress
Having ulcers is stressful, but stress will only worsen the condition. Enter your CBD routine: CBD may help control stress because, with increased levels of anandamide, your moods will be lifted. Logically, your depression and anxiety symptoms should lessen. Anandamide helps promote feelings of relaxation, and will help you feel at peace, and less cranky.
It Reduces Gastric Discharge
As CBD stimulates your CB1 receptor, it helps inhibit gastric acid secretions, according to studies. Therefore, CBD helps decrease your gastric acid and increases blood flow to your stomach lining, both of which can help soothe or prevent ulcer development.
What Are the Side Effects?
Does CBD have any side effects? When taking CBD, it is crucial to note that everyone is different, and how your body reacts to CBD will be different from another person’s experience. Still, according to the World Health Organization, CBD is safe to take, barring any interactions between the supplement and your existing medications. Therefore, it is crucial to talk to your doctor before taking CBD to ensure that you do not experience complications. Some mild side effects experienced may be tiredness, irritability, and dry mouth. Typically, these side effects are only seen when consumed in larger than recommended doses. Be sure to check for a dosing guide with your product and speak with your doctor about recommended dosing. If you experience any side effects, you may consider decreasing your dose and speaking with your doctor about what dose may be right for you.
While CBD may help manage the symptoms of ulcers, studies are still in the early stages of understanding its full effects. Always speak with your doctor before embarking on your CBD journey. Your doctor will understand if CBD interferes with any of your current medications and can help you determine a dosage that’s right for you. When taking CBD, it is advised to start with low to moderate doses and adjust until you achieve the desired results. Once you have medical clearance to sample CBD, we hope that our range of full-spectrum CBD products may help you find relief from painful ulcer symptoms.
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