Digestive disorders are one of the most prevalent causes of disability in the workforce and contribute to 25% of necessary surgeries (1). Cannabis and the endocannabinoid system play a crucial role in digestion. Evidence suggests that cannabinoids are important for regulating contraction of the gastrointestinal tract and that they modulate inflammatory responses to maintain balance within the gut. Cannabis has been used as a remedy for a variety of conditions, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and conditions of intestinal inflammation and motility such as irritable bowel syndrome and irritable bowel disease (2) Receptors for the ECS exist throughout the intestines and there is evidence to suggest that when the ECS is not functioning well in the body, digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and obesity may prevail (3).
IBD includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and affects about 1.4 million people in the US and IBS is a very common disease that affects about 40 million people in the US (4). Common symptoms of both cause an urgent need to have a bowel movement, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Numerous studies have demonstrated that using cannabis can decrease unpleasant symptoms and has been linked with a significant decrease in the need for surgical intervention. While cannabis may interact with certain medications, it can be used successfully for most people as an adjunct therapy, enabling patients to work closely with their doctors to develop a program that includes cannabis to help control unpleasant symptoms.
Cannabis may also be considered as a primary or adjunctive therapy for nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and with drug treatments for AIDS. Many patients report that their suppressed appetite, nausea, and vomiting is greatly remedied by cannabis and that it enables them to eat and keep food down where they may have otherwise been unable to do so.
Smoking cannabis is a very effective way to get cannabis rapidly into the bloodstream, but the long-term damage that smoking causes makes it a poor drug delivery system, particularly for very sick patients. Cannabis tinctures are a great alternative because they are easy to have on hand and convenient to take. Additionally, it is the easiest product to titrate a very specific dose, as you can calculate precise amounts of cannabinoids to ensure that you have a regular and predictable dose delivery into the bloodstream.
Humboldt Apothecary has a new product offering, our “Drinking Bitters” is specific for supporting good digestion and healthy intestines. The bitter flavor comes from a combination of different medicinal plants that actually support production of hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes, and bile flow to help normalize imbalances in the gut. These herbs work synergistically with cannabis to establish a very useful product that is great to incorporate into your daily wellness routine. Take it before or after meals for best results.
And if you are hesitant to try Drinking Bitters, or can’t find it in a store near you, we recommend Our Sweet Jane THC or Sweet Jane CBD 1:1. The cooling mint and cannabinoids in these products may help relieve digestive symptoms such as pain, poor appetite, constipation, and bloating.