Pros and Cons of Using CBD for IBS & CBD for Digestion

WRITTEN by Caleb

 | Last revised

Oct, 2022

CBD is healing everything from anxiety to chronic pain, so you might be curious whether it can help calm chronic digestive symptoms.

IBS is a functional gastrointestinal disorder that causes recurrent symptoms such as bloating, cramping, discomfort, and changes in bowel movements.

Anyone suffering from a gut issue – which, let’s face it, is the majority of people these days – knows how uncomfortable it can be and just how much it impacts day-to-day life.

So, the million-dollar question: Can CBD help relieve cramping, bloating, and abdominal pain associated with chronic gastrointestinal disorders?

Let’s find out.

What is IBS?

Irritation bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition characterised by:

  • Abdominal pain, cramping and gloating
  • Diarrhea and Constipation
  • Excessive gas
  • Stool mucus

It is thought to be caused by:

  • Inflamed intestines, or muscle contractions in the intestine
  • Infection
  • Gut bacteria changes
  • Irregularities in the nervous system

Can CBD help with IBS and digestion? Let’s see what the science says.

CBD for IBS: What the Science Says

A 2016 study on mice suggests CBD has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects that help treat IBS.[1]

Another study on mice indicated that high dosages of CBD reduced intestinal inflammation and excessive gastrointestinal tract movements (hypermotility).[2]

This second study also suggested CBD was more effective in combination with other cannabinoids in what’s called the entourage effect. Adding in a little THC may be the missing piece to getting the best results.

A 2011 study found CBD to be an antiemetic (nausea-preventing). The researchers found CBD’s indirect activation of the 5-HT1A receptors was responsible for this.[3]

According to the researchers, CBD’s activation of 5-HT1A receptors reduced the release of serotonin in the brain, resulting in nausea-preventing properties.

Serotonin is a hormone involved with bodily functions like nausea and bowel movements. We produce a majority of our serotonin in the gut.[4]

What About the Endocannabinoid System?

A 2020 study published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience suggested that patients with IBS could find relief by targeting the endocannabinoid system.[5]

The specifics involved manipulating the CB1 and CBD 2 cannabinoid receptors.

According to the study, researchers could correlate CB1 receptor activation with inhibited gastrointestinal motility.

What about CBD for Digestion?

Assuming you don’t have IBS, almost everyone still experiences poor digestion from time to time. Studies suggest CBD helps digestive issues by maintaining good gut health.

Of course, some of CBD’s most commonly reported side effects are nausea or diarrhea. So what’s going on here? This may be your central nervous system returning to intestinal homeostasis.[6]

What about CBD and Colon Cancer?

In vitro studies (test-tube experiments) on colon cancer cells and CBD showed an exciting relationship.

Despite the presence of toxins, CBD maintains the gastric mucosal barrier. This barrier is the stomach’s natural defence against acids and ulcers. [7]

Cannabis and colon cancer is a topic worth exploring further. Studies on mice suggest CBD can inhibit tumour growth.[8]

A cannabis plant against a black backdrop

Pros and Cons of CBD for IBS & CBD for Digestion

With some scientific backing, we’re now better at assessing the pros and cons of CBD for IBS and CBD for digestion.

The Pros

  • You don’t have to smoke CBD (unless you want to). If your stomach can handle a little sugar, then CBD gummies for digestion may be beneficial. Likewise, a tincture or topical cream can get CBD into your system.
  • CBD gets the thumbs up from the World Health Organization as safe and non-addictive[9]
  • CBD can help relieve cramping, bloating, and abdominal pain associated with IBS and poor digestion
  • CBD balances out our endocannabinoid system, including our digestion and bowel movements.
  • CBD’s anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, analgesic, and anxiolytic features can potentially treat digestive issues like IBS.
  • CBD’s safety profile is better than some pharmaceuticals prescribed for IBS[10]
  • You won’t feel high since it doesn’t bind directly to your cannabinoid receptors, and you can’t build up a tolerance.
  • People suffering from IBS or other digestive issues may feel anxious about their situation. CBD has the benefit of reducing these mental health concerns.

The Cons

  • We need more research on whether CBD directly treats IBS or its symptoms. Studies on CBD and IBS so far are limited to treating symptoms.
  • CBD side effects include diarrhea, nausea, and changes in weight or appetite. The very thing people suffering from IBS or other digestive issues want to avoid.
    Patients with IBS may be on other medication that interacts negatively with CBD. If you are on medication for digestive issues, we strongly suggest you talk to your doctor first.

Where to Buy CBD Oil for IBS Australia?

Where can I buy CBD for digestion in Australia? And how much CBD oil should I take for IBS? What is the best way to take CBD oil for IBS?

First, let’s address the second two questions: how much CBD oil should you take? And what is the best way?

It’ll all depend on your digestion issues, whether you’re already on medication, your metabolism, and how you’ll be consuming CBD.

The bioavailability of CBD varies depending on whether you’re smoking or vaping it. Or eating CBD combined with food or alone in capsule form. You may find rubbing a CBD topical cream on your belly helps you sleep at night.

All these questions will determine your proper dosage. We suggest you keep track of your regimen in a journal or work with a health care professional if you’re already on IBS medication.

Now on buying CBD oil in Australia.

You can go through the TGA and purchase through a pharmacy. Or you can try the black or “green” market.

The Australian green market has high-quality products, but be sure to do your own research before purchasing.

Whichever route you choose, CBD for IBS and CBD for digestion are safe and natural remedies worth trying.

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1. D C Hammell, L P Zhang, F Ma, at el., "Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis".
2. Ester Pagano, Raffaele Capasso, Fabiana Piscitelli, at el., "An Orally Active Cannabis Extract with High Content in Cannabidiol attenuates Chemically-induced Intestinal Inflammation and Hypermotility in the Mouse".
3. Linda A Parker, Erin M Rock, Cheryl L Limebeer, "Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids".
4. Suhrid Banskota, Jean-Eric Ghia, Waliul I Khan, "Serotonin in the gut: Blessing or a curse".
5. Viola Brugnatelli, Fabio Turco, Ulderico Freo, Gastone Zanette, "Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Manipulating the Endocannabinoid System as First-Line Treatment".
6. Daniele De Filippis, Giuseppe Esposito, Carla Cirillo, "Cannabidiol reduces intestinal inflammation through the control of neuroimmune axis".
7. Stefano Gigli, Luisa Seguella, Marcella Pesce, "Cannabidiol restores intestinal barrier dysfunction and inhibits the apoptotic process induced by Clostridium difficile toxin A in Caco-2 cells".
8. Masoumeh Honarmand, Fatemeh Namazi, Ali Mohammadi, Saeed Nazifi, "Can cannabidiol inhibit angiogenesis in colon cancer?".
SpringerLink .
9. N/A, "CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Critical Review Report".
10. N/A, "Medications for IBS".
About IBS.


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Disclaimer. While we strive to relay the most factual education available, this shouldn’t replace official medical or legal consultation and recommendation. This is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Happy days.

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