Perhaps the worst part of suffering from a debilitating disease is not knowing where the pain comes from, or what is causing it. This is the case with hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome daily.
More commonly known by its abbreviation, IBS is an extremely frustrating disease. Imagine getting checked out and tested again and again to be told that there is nothing wrong with your system, and that the exact cause of this illness cannot be pinpointed or treated.
This is mainly why people suffering from IBS are always on the lookout for new and better ways to treat or better manage their symptoms and ailments.
Luckily for them, recent research in the usefulness of medicinal marijuana has shown promising results, indicating that it can treat IBS along with a wide range of other conditions as well.
But how does medicinal cannabis treat IBS? And what are the best strains for doing so?
Both of these are good, relevant questions we will be answering in this article. But before that, let’s take a deeper look into the disease and what IBS really is.
What exactly is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is one of the most common, long term, gastro-intestinal disorders in the world. Unlike Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (IBD), which includes Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, conditions which can be easily marked and measured, IBS cannot be that easily traced or diagnosed. Its main causes and origins remain unknown to us even today, despite a large percentage of the population suffering from it every day.
But while we don’t know the causes of IBS, its symptoms are all too common and can quickly become chronic. They include:
While most of these seem very common, for people with IBS, these symptoms are either never ending or occur more often than is normal. Which is why traditional treatments fail to be effective, and there simply is no long term cure for the condition. Let’s take a look at some traditional IBS treatments.
Traditional Treatments for IBS
While there are a number of different alternatives that people suffering from IBS can choose from, their levels of effectiveness leaves a lot to be desired. Some of the common, treatments for IBS include
- Probiotics: Many different sorts of bacteria can be found in the stomach, where they play a key role in the digestive system and maintaining the health of the gut and intestines. However, certain kinds of bacteria can be harmful, and if present in larger quantities than normal, can adversely impact the gut. Which is why probiotics are so commonly used to treat symptoms of IBS, since they can help regulate the digestive system
- Prescription Drugs: Several over the counter drugs, including anti-diarrheals, laxatives, and antispasmodic drugs can help treat bloating, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and even fatigue. Which is why many doctors commonly prescribe various orthopaedic drugs to IPS patients.
But the fact remains that while these drugs are effective at treating the occasional symptoms, they cannot be taken regularly, as the human body naturally develops immunity towards them. Which is where cannabis comes into play.
Cannabis and IBS
Ever since it was legalized, the usage of medicinal cannabis has gone up exponentially, and so has the amount of research conducted on the topic. But despite this increase, the research is still in its infancy, though the results look extremely promising.
According to a 2020 publication, the body’s endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the treatment of IBS using cannabis. The endocannabinoid system or “ECS”, as it is more commonly known, is a network of receptors linked to various cells in the body, which is activated by our own internal, cannabinoid transmitters.
Researchers found out that cannabinoids like THC and CBD, which are commonly found in most cannabis flowers, can be used to manipulate this system and unleash a wide range of medicinal effects. The study concluded that CBD, a non-psychedelic compound found in cannabis, can be used to alleviate symptoms of IBS.
Similarly, another paper published in 2017 highlighted the usefulness of high THC sativa dominant strains in treating and providing relief against numerous gastrointestinal infections.
As a result, we can safely conclude that while more research is needed, cannabis can be used to treat and alleviate symptoms of IBS. All that remains is figuring out which strains are best suited for doing so.
Let’s take a look
5 Best Strains for IBS
This sativa dominant strain has been aptly named, and hits you like a train after just a few tokes. A combination of two heavy sativa strains, Trainwreck itself is up to 80% sativa with THC levels between 18% and 21%. It possesses a heavy cerebral and mild body based high, and is perfect for treating a wide range of conditions including chronic pain, PTSD, anxiety, stress, insomnia, Crohn’s disease, and many different symptoms of IBS as well.
Commonly referred to as the perfect medicinal strain, the Blue Dream strain is an extremely famous, high quality strain. Only slightly sativa dominant, this infamous strain boasts insanely high THC levels, between 23% and 25%, combined with 2% CBD and 1% CBN. As a result, it possesses a quick setting and energizing cerebral high, which is accompanied by a mellow, relaxing body high as well. It is quite commonly used to treat stress, chronic pain, moderate cases of depression, sleep disorders, and more recently, IBS.
A timeless classic, Jack Herer is one of the most famous strains in the whole world. A pure sativa strain, Jack Herer possesses up to 21% THC and 1% CBN content, and provides its users with a heavy, but clear headed cerebral high. Due to this, the strain is perfect for daytime use, and is quite commonly used to treat conditions such as ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, bipolar mood disorder, depression, migraines and gastrointestinal disorders.
An evenly balanced hybrid, containing equally high amounts of CBD and THC, Cannatonic is not your typical cannabis strain. Containing 12% CBD, 17 – 19% THC, and up to 1% CBN, Cannatonic is a purely medicinal strain. It provides a deep, relaxing and cerebral high, and is best suited for treating conditions such as epilepsy, chronic pain, IBS, PTSD, etc.
Another timeless classic, the Citrus Haze strain is a long-time favorite in the medicinal cannabis community. With a fresh lemony-orange scent and taste, extremely high THC levels, and a euphoric and energizing high, the strain is commonly used to treat a large number of conditions, including IBS.