CBD oil for Ulcerative Colitis

What is Ulcerative Colitis, and how does it compare to Crohn's Disease?

Ulcerative Colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the rectum and colon (the large bowel).

There are two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. However, while these two diseases have similarities, they are not the same condition.

The main differences between ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease is that Crohn’s disease inflammation can affect any part of the digestive tract and extend into the muscle wall. Whereas, ulcerative colitis only occurs in the surface of the colon lining.

What causes ulcerative colitis?

The cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown. However, it’s believed that one agent or a combination of agents can trigger the body's immune system to produce an inflammatory reaction in the intestinal tract.

These triggers can include:

  • Viruses
  • Antigens
  • Bacteria 

Studies on inflammatory bowel disease have also highlighted that a combination of hereditary, genetic, and/or environmental factors may also result in the development of ulcerative colitis. Another explanation is that the body's own tissue is causing an autoimmune response. 

It’s important to get the inflammation under control as it can cause damage the intestinal wall. This can then lead to a number of symptoms that can be harder to live with and manage.

Related reading: Can CBD help you sleep?

Signs and symptoms

The severity of the symptoms will vary depending on how much inflammation is in the rectum and colon and how severe the it is. For some people, the condition can have a significant impact on their everyday lives.

The main symptoms of ulcerative colitis are:

  • Recurring diarrhea
  • Blood, mucus or pus in faeces 
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Emptying the bowels frequently
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Occasionally other symptoms can occur. These may include reddening of the eyes, joint pain, skin lesions, loss of appetite, irritability and depression.

Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis

As this is a chronic condition, it means that it is ongoing and a life-long condition. 

People that suffer from ulcerative colitis will often find that they can have periods of good health known as ‘remission’. There will also be times when symptoms are more active; this is a ‘relapse’ or a ‘flare-up’.

The main goal of treatment for ulcerative colitis is to reduce the inflammation that triggers the signs and symptoms. In some cases, treatment may lead not only to symptom relief, but also to long-term remission and reduced risks of complications. Treatment usually involves either drug therapy or surgery.

Treatment can include one or a combination of the following:

  • Immune system suppressors
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-diarrheal medications
  • Pain Reliever
  • Calcium and Vitamin D supplements
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Iron Supplements
  • Surgery
  • Clinical Trials

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Although IBS has a similar name, it’s important to note that Inflammatory Bowel Disease isn't the same as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a common condition that causes symptoms such as:

  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

The other type of inflammatory bowel disease is ulcerative colitis. (Links to page)

CBD Oil and ulcerative colitis

Sufferers of ulcerative colitis have started turning their heads towards medical cannabis or CBD Oil in order to relieve the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and make the condition more manageable.

Currently, there's limited amount of solid research on Cannabis for ulcerative colitis. As a result, we are unable to make any medical claims about cannabis whatsoever, only describe it as a ‘food supplement’.

However, in order to understand how Cannabis can help ulcerative colitis, it’s important to understand how Cannabis oil works for the body as a whole.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Each person has something called an endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is responsible for keeping all of our bodily systems in balance with one another.

An example of how this works is that when our bodies detect a threat, they release stress chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline to help us stay alert, focused, and also to help us protect ourselves better.

Furthermore, our muscles can tense up to help us defend ourselves. We may also breathe faster and harder in order to pump oxygen through our bodies, and our heart rate rises. Once the threat is gone, your body has to rebalance itself and this is where the endocannabinoid system comes into play.

The endocannabinoid system controls and regulates how quickly to release neurotransmitters. It slows them down or speeds them up as necessary in order to return to and maintain internal homeostasis after you’ve handled a threat.

This system is quite possibly the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health. It’s made up of receptors embedded all over your body. When cannabinoids stimulate the receptors, scientists believe our bodies communicate more effectively with themselves.

Our endocannabinoid systems promote homeostasis affecting everything from sleep, appetite, pain, inflammation, memory, mood, and even reproduction. To sum up, the endocannabinoid system helps modulate the regulation of homeostasis across all major body systems ensuring that all systems work in sync with one another.

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The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and Disease

Studies on the endocannabinoid system have found that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in many diseases. As the endocannabinoid system helps bring balance to the body, it’s no surprise that scientists have observed changes in endocannabinoid system activity in a number of diseases.

Everything from neurodegenerative disorders to rheumatoid arthritis and cancer have shown changes in endocannabinoid levels and greater receptor expression. This suggests that the endocannabinoid system may be an effective target for restoring balance in the body and promoting good health.

Research into cannabis decades ago first led scientists to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system. As a result of this initial research, it also led to its name ‘cannabinoid’.

CBD and the Endocannabinoid System

One thing many people don’t know is that our bodies naturally produce its own cannabinoids; these are endocannabinoids (endo meaning ‘inside’). As with any other nutrient, sometimes we can become a little deficient and need some extra help.

This is where cannabis can help, as the cannabis plant also produces cannabinoids, these are phytocannabinoids (Phyto meaning ‘plant’). These phytocannabinoids interact and aid/ restore the endocannabinoid system in our bodies.

How does CBD oil help with ulcerative colitis?

Various research has revealed that small doses of natural cannabinoids help support the endocannabinoid system and enhance its signaling. This suggests that small, regular doses of naturally occurring cannabinoids might act as a tonic to our most central physiologic healing system.

The cannabis plant has been commonly used in a variety of ways for thousands of years for a wide-range of ailments and conditions worldwide. In more recent times, cannabis and its derivatives are now receiving more research as a potential therapy for ulcerative colitis disease.

Research on the effects of cannabis for ulcerative colitis suggest that CBD oil works to ultimately:

  • Balance the immune system
  • Calm/ reduce inflammation
  • Support healthy neurological function
  • Promote mood support
  • Reduce Pain

Where can you buy CBD Oil?

The best place to buy CBD oil in the UK is CBDpuroil.com, as they only stock broad spectrum CBD, which is lab tested to be 0% THC content. This may help with your concern about workplace drug testing, as well as the pyschoactive properties of THC.

Learn more about the full benefits of broad spectrum CBD oil here.

*One study on cannabis and IBD stated: “studies show different levels of elements of the ECS in murine and human IBD models. Further delineation of mechanism of action is needed to determine whether these results are pathologic or reactive effects to inflammation. However, cannabinoids appear to have a clear role in gut pathology and offer a potential target for drug intervention in the treatment of IBD.” (NCBI: Therapeutic Use of Cannabis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease).

Learn about CBD oil benefits here.