The exploration of cannabis as a therapeutic option has included its use for chronic gastrointestinal conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Harvard Health reports potential benefits due to the plant’s anti-inflammatory properties. However, the body’s own endocannabinoids also play a role in managing intestinal health and fighting infections.
Research from Substance Use and Misuse indicates a complex relationship between cannabis use and IBS. While some studies suggest therapeutic benefits, it is essential to consider the potential for cannabis use disorder. Moreover, dietary adjustments, such as a low FODMAP diet, have shown to be effective in managing IBS symptoms, as noted by Dr. Jacqueline Wolf of Harvard Medical School.
Medical cannabis presents a variety of administration methods, from inhalation to edibles. However, it is important to weigh the rapid relief against the risks, like lung irritation and the need for frequent dosing. It’s clear that while cannabis may offer relief for some, it is not without its disadvantages and uncertainties.
The conversation around medical cannabis is evolving, with ongoing research and clinical trials. Patients considering cannabis for gastrointestinal distress should consult healthcare professionals to navigate the balance of potential benefits against risks, especially for those over the age of 55 where the risks may be greater.