Digestive problems are some of the most common health issues to affect individuals. In fact, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, between 60 and 70 million people suffer from some type of digestive system disease or disorder. It is also estimated that about 700,000 people in the United States suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) alone.
The most common issues with the digestive system include stomach aches, diarrhea, reflux, and constipation. More chronic and often serious disorders range from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and other gastrointestinal conditions. In addition to pain, dehydration, and long term digestive tract issues, all of these conditions can seriously affect people’s lives, leading to reclusiveness, anxiety, loss of self-confidence.
What makes the problem worse is that many people are uncomfortable discussing digestive problems, even with their doctors. These kinds of issues are not exactly considered polite conversation is the majority of social circles. This means that there are a lot of people suffering consistently from digestive issues who never seek out help.
Before we dive into some possible solutions for uncomfortable digestive disorders, let’s get a little background information about how our digestive systems function.
How Does Our Digestive System Work
Contrary to what most people commonly think, digestion does not only—or even chiefly—occur in the stomach. It’s a long process that begins in the mouth and ends at, well, you know. All the organs in between make up what we call the digestive tract. Digestion starts in the mouth where chewing and saliva begin to break down the food you ingest. That food is then pushed down the esophagus into the stomach, where acid further breaks down food into usable nutrients.
After the stomach comes the small intestine. This is where the majority of the nutrients in food are absorbed into the body as digestive juices from your pancreas, liver, and gallbladder break down food even further. By the time what’s left of your meal reaches the large intestine, the only job left is to absorb the water and expel the waste.
Digestive problems can result from issues or imbalances that occur at any point along this long and complicated journey.
How to Treat Digestive Problems
The problem is, digestive issues like diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome are not very well understood. They could be caused by something as simple as a slight change in diet or increased stress levels or bacteria and viruses.
If symptoms come on quickly and unexpectedly, then it is probably the result of a bacterial or viral infection. But if they occur consistently and chronically, there is not a clear cause that doctors and medical researchers can point to. As with most health problems, if the cause is unclear then the treatment is often unclear. For that reason, treatment is often centered on the improvement or amelioration of symptoms.
Apart from treatments aimed at the symptoms of digestive issues, the most effective way to treat these types of problems is by changing your lifestyle habits, diet, and, if necessary, stopping medications that may be causing you problems. Depending on what the specific condition you are suffering from is, you may want to cut back on fatty foods, eliminate the majority of greasy foods, avoid fizzy drinks, avoid foods that cause gas, avoid foods with a lot of sugar, and increase the amount of exercise you do.
CBD and Digestive Issues
Although the exact root causes are not completely understood, conditions like diarrhea and constipation are often the result of inflammation in the gut, large intestine, and other organs throughout the digestive tract. CBD is thought to possibly help certain digestive issues because of its widely reported ability to alleviate inflammation.
Put simply, inflammation is caused by your immune system and CB2 receptors (one of the key receptors found in the endocannabinoid system) are found throughout your immune system. When those receptors are activated they actually help by reducing an overactive immune response. Sometimes our bodies react too strongly or its response causes us discomfort. When it comes to our digestive systems, an overactive inflammatory response can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and Crohn’s disease. By activating the CB2 receptors, CBD may help these digestive conditions.
According to numerous pharmacological studies, there are thought to be high levels of endocannabinoids (specifically, anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol), CB1 receptors, and enzymes related to the endocannabinoid system throughout the digestive tract. Studies have also shown that CB1 receptors produce the relaxation of the sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus, the inhibition of gastric motility (the movement of food through the digestive tract), and the secretion of acid.
Gastric motility is especially important here, because overactive motility can lead to diarrhea or vomiting, while underactive motility may lead to constipation or also vomiting. The job of the CBD receptors is to maintain balance, or homeostasis, so by activating the CB1 receptors in the GI tract it is thought that they produce the necessary changes to prevent digestive problems.
Ginger May Also Help
At Urban Roots, our CBDigest capsules combine the anti-inflammatory and mediating effects of CBD with essential oils and other ingredients designed to aid digestion. One of the critical ingredients is ginger.
Across history and cultures, ginger and digestion go hand in hand. This root has long been used as a supplement you consume after eating or when the food you ate isn’t sitting well. And although ginger helping with digestion is still considered by some to be an “old wives’ tale”, there is actually a good deal of science to back it up.
The phenolic compounds in ginger have been shown to help relieve gastrointestinal (GI) irritation, stimulate saliva and bile production, and suppress gastric contractions as food and fluids move through the GI tract. Additionally, ginger appears to have a positive effect on certain enzymes found throughout the digestive system, which may help prevent constipation and even possibly reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Another area where ginger has been used both historically and today, is in treating the feeling of nausea. In fact, for many years, ginger was used to treat nausea and vomiting associated with seasickness. Chewing raw ginger or drinking ginger tea is a relatively common home remedy for nausea during both cancer treatment and pregnancy.
The relationship between ginger and morning sickness relief was the subject of a study that looked at 1,278 pregnant women and found that relatively small amounts of ginger successfully reduced their symptoms of nausea. There is also evidence that ginger may actually be more effective at treating sea sickness than prescription medication.
Conclusion: CBD and Digestion
There is still a lot of work and research to be done, but many people are reporting that CBD, especially when combined with other essential oils like ginger, helps ease symptoms of digestive problems or disorders. If you are suffering from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, constipation, or Crohn’s disease, CBD may be able to help.
However, there are times when you should head to the doctor’s as soon as possible. If you notice any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention right away, as they could be signs of a serious medical condition:
- A sudden, persistent change in the pattern of how your bowels work
- Bleeding from the bottom
- Severe worsening heartburn, indigestion or stomach pain
- Losing weight unexpectedly
- Difficulty swallowing
The above serious symptoms notwithstanding, CBD may be able to help alleviate some of the longstanding symptoms related to your gastrointestinal problems. It might be the answer to making your life easier, healthier, and more comfortable. Give Urban Roots’ CBDigest capsules for yourself to see if it helps improve your symptoms!