If you are suffering from Diverticulitis, learn more about your marijuana-related treatment options. Find out how CBD can be used to treat the symptoms of Diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is defined as inflammation in the diverticulum (intestine), often resulting in hernia-like pockets or bulges in the intestine’s walls
Diverticulitis & CBD
The marijuana compound cannabidiol (CBD) can treat numerous symptoms, including gastrointestinal issues. Find out how this cannabinoid can help patients with diverticulitis.
Many people form small pouches in their intestines called diverticula. Diverticula do not cause harm on their own, but they can get infected. When you have an infection in your diverticula, you have diverticulitis, which causes uncomfortable symptoms.
Diverticulitis can have a fast or slow onset of symptoms. The infection causes pain in the lower-left abdomen for many patients. A patient with diverticulitis can also experience diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, nausea or fever. Patients who have chronic diverticulitis sometimes have mental health symptoms because of the added stress that comes with the condition.
The severity of diverticulitis varies by case. When you have mild diverticulitis, you may need antibiotics, a liquid diet and over-the-counter painkillers. Complicated diverticulitis can cause colon damage and needs professional care. You can use CBD to relieve some of the symptoms of any degree of the condition.
Diverticulitis and Cannabinoid Receptors
Just as we have a digestive system, we have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). This network of receptors and cells aids in functions all over our bodies. The ECS creates and processes cannabinoids, the compound found in cannabis. Its CB1 and CB2 receptors bind to cannabinoids to help other systems regulate themselves. CB1 and CB2 receptors appear in the gut, making cannabinoids a powerful tool in treating digestive issues.
CB1 receptors manage the connection between the gut and brain. These two parts of the body communicate with one another through the vagus nerve, which has plenty of CB1 receptors that respond to cannabinoids such as anandamide. Cannabis medicine activates these receptors, sending benefits to your gut and brain. Conditions like diverticulitis can impact your body’s need for cannabinoids in the vagus nerve and gut.
The ECS also has a role to play in immune response. It manages the levels of pro-inflammatory cells in irritated and infected tissue. Certain cannabinoids can reduce inflammation and relieve the resulting symptoms.
Reducing Inflammation and Digestive Issues With CBD
CBD reduces pain and inflammation to relieve the symptoms of diverticulitis. Instead of attaching to receptors like most cannabinoids, CBD boosts other parts of the system. It blocks FAAH, a fatty acid that breaks down the endocannabinoid anandamide. The ECS creates anandamide to regulate mood and the pain response.
When CBD blocks FAAH, your body can increase its anandamide levels. The higher amount of anandamide reduces the amount of pro-inflammatory cells in your immune system. When it reaches your diverticula, it attaches to the receptors on them to mitigate their immune response. While scientists don’t understand the full reason, CBD also decreases bowel motility, relieving diarrhea symptoms.
Addressing the Causes of Diverticulitis Using CBD
Some cases of diverticulitis develop as a side effect of painkillers. If you have recurring cases of diverticulitis caused by your medication, CBD can help. CBD can act as a supplement or replacement for painkillers that cause diverticulitis. Since it reduces inflammation, it also addresses the pain caused by the inflammatory response. The anandamide preserved by CBD regulates pain signals, lowering their severity.
Choosing the Right CBD Medicine
Patients have a wide selection of CBD products to try. Online and brick-and-mortar stores sell CBD oil all over the United States. If you decide to buy CBD oil, remember to check the product label and research the seller. CBD oil comes in various concentrations, and some of them offer more relief than others. You can also join your state’s medical marijuana program or visit a recreational dispensary. Registered patients and adults over 21 can find CBD medication at many of these providers.
When searching for a CBD product, medicines that travel through your intestine will provide the most relief. Suppositories disperse the medication through your bowels without passing through other parts of the body, so you can use the CBD right where you need it. Ingested medicine also works for digestive issues. Edibles, pills and tinctures will go through your stomach first, making them ideal for preventing nausea.
A doctor with medical marijuana training can guide your decision-making process. They will help you get a medicinal cannabis card if you need it. Even if you don’t plan on becoming a registered patient, they will understand how CBD can relieve your symptoms. Find doctors in your area using our physician directory.
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Learn More About Diverticulitis
Learn more about Diverticulitis and what makes medical marijuana an effective treatment for Diverticulitis’s symptoms.
Can CBD Help Diverticulitis Symptoms? A Guide to CBD & Diverticulitis
How Might Diverticulosis Symptoms be Prevented? Diverticulitis is defined as inflammation in the diverticulum (intestine), often resulting in hernia-like pockets or bulges in the intestine’s walls. This can cause serious health complications, depending on the level of severity one experiences, making diverticulitis a chronic and challenging disorder to live with. As all of us get older, our immune system becomes weaker, and a healthy lifestyle is harder to maintain. Surprising as it may sound, CBD may have great potential to supplement symptoms of diverticulitis. A myriad of research shows that along with potential analgesic properties, CBD may possibly help those suffering from symptoms of bowel inflammation, loss of appetite, and nausea. Scientists have already discovered that our body has the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which maintains our overall well-being. This system may be the key to targeting such severe disorders as diverticulitis.
Diverticulosis vs. Diverticulitis
Diverticulosis, or diverticular disease, is a pathological process in the colon in which multiple diverticula (saccular protrusions) form in the wall of the intestine. Diverticula can range in size, from being as small as a pea to much larger. Diverticula are formed due to increased gas, waste, or liquid pressure on weakened areas of the intestinal wall. Besides, diverticula can form during straining during bowel movements, such as constipation. Most often, diverticula form in the lower part of the colon (known as the sigmoid colon).
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Diverticulosis usually does not cause any symptoms, and is usually only diagnosed after one is scanned for a different medical reason. Some people may experience abdominal discomfort or cramps; however, this disease has a tendency to progress fast. It is essential to see the differences between diverticulosis, diverticulitis, and diverticular disease:
- Diverticulosis occurs when you experience no symptoms, but still have diverticula in your intestinal walls.
- Diverticulitis (which we will be focusing on today) occurs when diverticula are infected or inflamed, causing severe health symptoms.
- Diverticular disease is something of a middle ground, where one has symptoms caused by diverticula in the intestines, however they are not inflamed or infected.
Diverticulitis is an inflammatory process that occurs against the background of an infection in one or more diverticula. Typically, diverticulitis develops when stool accumulates in the same area as diverticula,where bacteria multiplies and causes infection.
Diverticulosis in general is fairly common, affecting 10% of people over 40 and 50% of those over 60. Doctors believe that the risk of diverticulosis rises with age, and may reach almost 100% in people over 80, making it more common amongst the elderly.
Possible reasons and Risk factors
The possible causes of diverticulitis are poorly understood, and may vary from person to person. It has long been thought that diverticulitis develops when a small hole ( known as micro or macro perforation) occurs in the diverticulum, leading to the release of intestinal bacteria that cause inflammation. However, new evidence may suggest that in some patients, acute diverticulitis is more inflammatory than infection-based. Many attribute their diverticulitis symptoms to other factors, like:
. For the intestines to work correctly, a person needs to consume a sufficient amount of dietary fiber, as this helps your body produce softer stools that are easier to pass. On the contrary, harder stools put more pressure on the colon as it moves the stool down, leading to weak spots in the muscle wall that allow diverticula to develop.
- Complications set against a background of intestinal infections. The risk of a problem arising in the face of weakened immunity (caused by infection) is incredibly high.
- Decreased muscle tone and deterioration of peristalsis – as a rule, this happens alongside many age-related changes, then colon diverticulitis manifests itself.
- Dysbiosis, which also entails a general decrease in immunity.
- Worms or other similar intestinal parasites. The mucous membrane of gut cells is damaged by the parasites- and because of this, diverticulitis of the sigmoid colon begins.
- Genetics is also thought to be a significant factor.
Many of the factors causing intestinal diverticulitis can be avoided if you lead a healthy lifestyle and regularly monitor your condition. For example, people who sit a lot, barely move, and have weak muscles are at high risk for diverticulitis. In contrast, developed abdominal muscles help the intestines to function properly.
Anyone who does not keep themselves well-hydrated is also at risk – without enough moisture, the intestine contents become too dense, damaging its walls. Those who do not follow basic hygiene rules and poorly monitor their health in general are also in danger.
While diverticulosis doesn’t generally come with symptoms you’ll notice in daily life, diverticulitis is caused by an infection or inflammation within your intestine. As such, you may notice these symptoms of diverticulitis:
- Pain in the lower abdomen. It may feel like a biting pinprick, and bother only a specific place. It can hurt for several days before fading and then starting anew. The sensation usually increases with sharp muscle contractions, such as during laughter, coughing, or physical activity.
- Increased painful sensations after a bowel movement, which may include feeling pressure.
- Stool disorders – intestinal diverticulitis may manifest itself as constipation and/or diarrhea.
- The presence of blood in the feces- usually, the bleeding is not very abundant, and is observed in only a tenth of patients.
- A fever and chills. When it comes to diverticulitis, symptoms of this nature are rare, but they are also possible.
- Lack of appetite – not wanting to eat, or not wanting to eat as much as usual.
- Nausea, vomiting, and general weakness of the body – these signs of diverticulitis may seem very similar to food poisoning symptoms.
Methods of diverticulitis treatment depend on the severity of the patient’s condition. Sometimes, antibiotics and pain medications are prescribed, but in some cases diverticulitis patients may need surgery in addition to dietary changes. To potentially help symptoms of diverticulitis, many turn towards CBD supplements as a natural, no-side effects dietary additive.
How Might Diverticulosis Symptoms be Prevented?
The most important thing when it comes to preventing diverticulosis (or even reducing its possible complications) is doing your best to ensure regular bowel movements- in other words, get rid of any constant constipation. As part of the proper maintenance of regular bowel movements, it is recommended that you:
- Do exercise that engages the abdominal muscles.
- Eat an adequate amount of dietary fiber- roughly 30 grams per day, according to the NHS. Foods rich in fiber include whole-grain bread, cereals, and crackers, berries, fruits, vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, spinach, carrots, asparagus, zucchini, beans), brown rice, bran, peas, and beans. Foods high in fiber help prevent constipation and may even provide other health benefits. It lowers blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels, and may reduce the risk of developing certain intestinal disorders.
- Drink a sufficient amount of liquid (at least eight glasses a day).
- Achieve adequate hours of sleep and rest.
The Endocannabinoid System and Gut Inflammation
You may wonder what CBD has to do with our inner body processes like digestion and inflammation, and the answer is simple. Our body has a unique Endocannabinoid system that produces endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made by the body and not the cannabis plant), known as anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG). Generally, this system is a crucial part of our body which controls many inner processes like homeostasis, appetite control, pain perception, sleep cycle, mood, and even immune response.
The importance of the Endocannabinoid system can not be overstated as it plays a vital role in many of our most vital systems. As was mentioned above, our endocannabinoids interact with specific cannabinoid receptors- CB1 and CB2. As both of these receptors are present all over the body (CB2 in immune cells and CB1 mainly in the brain, CNS, and in the nerves connecting your gut to your brain), they can be valuable in both pain and inflammation management, making CBD a potential supplement for diverticulitis. Interestingly, CB1 receptor activation may reduce gastrointestinal (GI) inflammation in various animal models.
So, what roles might the ECS play in the work of the gastrointestinal tract? It turns out, quite a few:
- Regulation of stomach acid
- Visceral sensation (ability to perceive body organs)
- Satiety and the feeling of being full
- GI tract motility (ability to move food automatically)
- Pain perception
- Inflammation processes, such immune responses to bacteria invasion, worms, erosions, or chronic diseases
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The Potential of CBD for Diverticulitis Symptoms
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive chemical compound, one of over one hundred cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis plants. CBD is a major phytocannabinoid and can be as high as 40% in plant extracts. However, many people when it comes to CBD products due to the “high” effect produced by recreational cannabis. Such a psychoactive effect is not caused by CBD, but by another phytocannabinoid known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Instead, CBD may supplement certain unwanted symptoms of diverticulitis. There are three main ways CBD for diverticulitis may supplement symptoms of the condition.
Unfortunately, there are few studies on the direct correlation between CBD’s possible effects on diverticulitis. However, CBD has already shown a potential capacity for reducing symptoms of pain. Studies by Ethan B Russo et al. from 2008 present a great review on various cannabis-derived drugs, which may include CBD as an active ingredient. The FDA approved an Investigational New Drug application to conduct advanced clinical trials for cancer symptom-related pain in January 2006. In general, it seems CBD’s potential pain-relieving properties have been well-tolerated in trials with few noticeable side effects.
Several studies by Massa and Monory 2006 published in the British Journal of Pharmacology demonstrated a vital role the ECS may play in intestinal pain when it comes to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) through its perceived control on various pain-related systems.
In 2011, animal studies by Linda A Parker showed that CBD may have an antiemetic effect (meaning it may prevent symptoms like from feeling nauseous). CBD may interact with CB1 receptors and 5-HT3 (serotonin receptors) in the dorsal vagal complex (DVC) (located in the muscles beneath the diaphragm), which mediates vomiting symptoms. In this study, based on animal models, anandamide and the endogenous cannabinoids like CBD were thought to have possible effects on the 5-HT3 receptors in the DVC, providing a mechanism through which symptoms of nausea may be controlled.
Digestive Inflammation Reduction
Findings from a 2012 laboratory study by A Alhamoruni suggest that certain endocannabinoids, acting via CB1 receptors, may play a role in mediating changes in inflammation, as well as implying that certain phytocannabinoids may have therapeutic potential for symptoms associated with inflammation.
Another study by Francesca Borrelli et al.,2009, published in the Journal of Molecular Medicine, showed in mice tests that oral CBD administration could reduce IL-1beta and IL-10 levels, which are the primary immune response agents to inflammation in the body. In certain cells, CBD purportedly reduced signs of inflammation. Another experiment on mouse models by Ester Pagano implied that CBD may have potential when it comes to mucosal inflammation and hypermotility in intestinal inflammation.
Forms of CBD
Hundreds of CBD companies offer various ways to consume CBD oil and other products. Some of them may be more effective in addressing diverticulitis, but ultimately, the best way to consume CBD depends on what feels best for you. Let’s see what the different ways of taking CBD are:
CBD Oils and Tinctures
Using tinctures is probably the most prevalent way of intaking CBD. Who hasn’t heard of a classic CBD oil? This type of CBD is administered sublingually (placed under the tongue), stays there for up to a minute, and is then swallowed. Since some of the CBD may be absorbed by the sublingual gland, the compound may find its way to the bloodstream fairly immediately. Usually, any potential effects are perceived after around 20 minutes, and may last up to 6 hours.
CBD Edibles and Capsules
You can also ingest CBD orally, in the form of CBD infused gummies, snacks, sweets, drinks, capsules, and other edibles. This is probably the most straightforward and familiar method for most people, but it takes longer for the potential effects to occur. This is due to the fact that the CBD must pass through the digestive system, where some of the compound may be degraded before it can be properly absorbed by the body.
Vaping CBD is another favourite option. You can put CBD in a portable vaporizer, which heats the compound to a temperature required for vaporization. When you inhale the vapor, CBD may enter the bloodstream fairly instantaneously. As a result, using a CBD vape may be the best way to take CBD for people who want instant possible results. However, the potential effect isn’t as long-lasting when compared to the above forms of CBD.
How to Choose the Best CBD Product
Another critical factor to consider is the actual concentration of CBD in the product. Besides various shapes and tastes of CBD, it is essential to understand that there are also several types of CBD on the market:
CBD Isolate is CBD in its purest form. The extraction process removes or filters out all plant compounds except cannabidiol, removing terpenes, flavonoids, plant parts, chlorophyll, organic matter, and other cannabinoids. CBD isolate can be used to make CBD oils, cosmetics, vape liquids, and even be added to food. Of course, it’s THC-free, which is a major benefit for many people. CBD isolate is commonly used by people who want to reduce symptoms of anxiety and inflammatory processes with a natural antioxidant.
Full-spectrum CBD. This extract is passed, purified, and decarbonized to remove foreign impurities from the compound, but maintains all the original plant cannabinoids (including trace amounts of THC). That gives a synergistic ‘entourage’ effect of potentially enhancing therapeutic actions and effects on the human body. Depending on the raw material, it can have a different cannabinoid profile- but will certainly include cannabinoids like CBGA, CBDA, CBV, CBG, CBC, CBN, CBD and THC in different percentages. Many of these cannabinoids may be beneficial to the body and potentially provide various therapeutic effects. Of course, the THC level is fairly negligible (no more than 0.2%), and you are not likely to receive any psychoactive effects from the compound. However, some drug tests can show the presence of THC in the body even in trace amounts, which can be undesirable. In this case, it is worth looking at other extracts with lower or zero levels of THC.
Broad-spectrum CBD may be an excellent in-between, having almost all of the original plant cannabinoids present in the final product- without the THC.
Important things to remember
If you are a CBD newbie, there are few basic rules you should know before purchasing the product:
- Always shop from reputable CBD brands– One of the easiest ways of ensuring you purchase good quality CBD products is by purchasing your CBD products from reputable suppliers. Responsible brands guarantee you are buying CBD products that adhere to the necessary regulations. They only make their CBD products from the accepted industrial hemp plants, and are happy to provide you with a full certificate of analysis and ingredient list, or evidence of even seed-to-sale tracking.
- Third-party lab tested – Every CBD product you purchase should be third-party lab tested and have a Certificate of Approval (COA) that confirms the quality of the CBD, the ingredients, their concentrations, and the precise concentration of CBD in the product. By purchasing third-party lab-tested CBD products, you’re assured of the quality of ingredients and CBD concentration.
Possible Side Effects of CBD
It is essential to be aware of the potential side effects of CBD before starting to use it. While rare and often minor, it’s important to be informed regarding any supplements you take.
Therefore, it is vital to take CBD vigilantly and consciously. Start with a low dose, and build up gradually. If you notice any unwanted side effects, reduce the amount. Among the most common side effects are:
- Mouth dryness- While the chances are low, CBD may cause thirst, dry mouth, or “cotton mouth”.
- Lowered blood pressure- If a higher CBD oil dose is taken, a slight drop in blood pressure may be one of the potential side effects. However, this condition is not thought to be permanent or fatal, usually lasting only a few minutes. Nevertheless, if you are currently taking blood pressure medications or blood thinners, we recommend you consult your doctor before trying CBD for the first time.
- Dizziness- This is often caused by a drop in blood pressure when high doses of CBD are taken. However, this potential effect is also temporary, and can usually be reversed with a cup of tea or coffee, or simply giving yourself a few minutes to sit or lie down.
- Drowsiness- A lot of people add CBD to their drinks and coffee in the morning as CBD is purported to be a possible wakefulness-inducing agent. However, at higher doses, CBD may affect people in different ways and cause drowsiness. In such cases, avoid driving or operating heavy equipment – reduce the dose of CBD you are taking.
Altogether, it may be said that, although CBD-related research has achieved remarkable progress in the last decade, there is still a lot of work to do. CBD is thought to show great promise in supplementing symptoms of diverticulitis, from pain and anxiety to gut inflammation and nausea. However, remember that CBD is not an approved treatment for diverticulitis, and you should always consult your doctor before trying CBD alongside mainstream medications.
Verified by a health professional
Anastasiia Myronenko is a Medical Physicist actively practicing in one of the leading cancer centers in Kyiv, Ukraine. She received her master’s degree in Medical Physics at Karazin Kharkiv National University and completed Biological Physics internship at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Germany. Anastasiia Myronenko specializes in radiation therapy and is a fellow of Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists.