Irritable Bowel Syndrome

cbd and irritable bowel syndrome
Written by Stefan K.

CBD and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

If you constantly experience symptoms such as diarrhoea, flatulence, abdominal pain, constipation or the unpleasant feeling that your stomach is never properly empty, then you may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a condition which affects the digestive system. An additional, very painful, symptom which often occurs is stomach ulcers. Triggers for IBS are manifold – for example stress, physical strain, genetic predispositions and, in the case of industrialised countries, nutrition. Generally speaking, in the case of irritable bowel syndrome, CBD can be helpful against all of these symptoms. 

A healthy gastrointestinal tract is inhabited millions of important microorganisms. Together, these constitute what is called the gut flora. Studies have shown that by means of the communication which takes place between the gut flora and the brain, stress and anxiety can result in stomach aches or even severe nausea. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) can help in such situations. The ECS exerts an influence on the intestinal flora and the sensation of hunger. In this way, CBD can have a soothing effect in cases of irritable bowel syndrome. 

Causes of irritable bowel syndrome

It is probably the case that everyone, from newborns to old people, has experienced intestinal and stomach-related problems at one time or another. We are all familiar with stomach aches or increased pressure in the stomach, which is periodically relieved by breaking wind. 

The diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome is usually preceded by the following symptoms. Briefly, these are disturbances to intestinal peristalsis, the increased permeability and immune activity of the intestinal mucosa, infections of the gastrointestinal tract, disturbances to the gut flora, serotonin imbalance, and stress. Stress is not only a cause of irritable bowel syndrome, but can unfortunately also act so as to reinforce the other causes. CBD also increases the release of serotonin thereby regulating its levels. 


In the case of IBS, CBD can be used against those causes which arise due to inflammation, stress, and nerve-related conditions. 

How IBS medication works

It appears that no panacea for irritable bowel syndrome has yet emerged from the laboratories of pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical approaches to dealing with IBS are as diverse as the causes of this condition. For example, in those cases where IBS involves diarrhea, tannins, bile acid sequestrants or loperamide are usually used. However, if prolonged constipation is a symptom, laxatives can help. The active substances in such cases are usually sodium picosulphate or bisacodyl. The “problem” here: these substances are usually sold in the less-than-pleasant form of suppositories whilst CBD, in the form of CBD oil and CBD liquid, is significantly more pleasant to use. 

Interestingly, substances which help the body to relax are particularly helpful. In this regard at the very least, the use of CBD against IBS is of relevance. In contrast to THC, which is another active substance derived from the hemp plant, CBD is completely legal, does not cause intoxication and is not addictive. When used against IBS, an advantage of CBD is that the stomach and intestines have their own endocannabinoid system. Exogenous CBD as well as the body’s own endocannabinoids can dock on to this nervous system and thus exert a positive influence on the gut flora. 

CBD and IBS – How cannabidiol can help

In cases of irritable bowel syndrome, CBD oil can provide relief. Specialists consider IBS to be a fundamentally incurable condition.  Before using CBD against IBS, both the patient and the doctor involved should be sure that the symptoms are specifically indicative of irritable bowel syndrome, and nothing else. Confusion can easily arise. In this regard, a practical aspect of using CBD against irritable bowel syndrome is that this hemp product can be taken in so many different ways in order to deal with the different symptoms, such as in the form of CBD oil or CBD e-liquids (taken using e-cigarettes). CBD is known by a different name in Asia, but has been successfully used there for many hundreds of years against all kinds of illnesses of the gut and stomach.

Another point also speaks in favour of using cannabidiol to treat IBS. Concentrated CBD can be used against irritable bowel syndrome specifically in order to reduce diarrhoea and the abdominal cramps that usually accompany it. 

CBD is particularly well known both for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. These two positive characteristics commend CBD for use against irritable bowel syndrome and its causes. In cases of IBS, CBD is thus very successful when it comes to relieving the foci of inflammation in the stomach and intestines. Many IBS researchers now even believe that there is a direct, linear relationship between irritable bowel syndrome and the nervous system in the human spinal cord. Due to the influence that CBD has on IBS via the endocannabinoid system as part of the nervous system, it has been concluded that part of the influence of CBD on IBS can be explained in this way. 

As already mentioned, irritable bowel syndrome may also be associated with nutritional problems related to the western industrialised diet. In cases of irritable bowel syndrome, CBD has demonstrated in many documented cases that it can completely counteract food intolerances

In addition to dealing with physical causes both internally and externally, CBD also has a psychological impact in cases of irritable bowel syndrome. CBD is currently being successfully deployed against both anxiety disorders and depression. The use of CBD as a legal mood enhancer is therefore also a good approach to use in those cases where irritable bowel syndrome is caused by psychological problems. 

Crohn’s disease is also a form of chronic inflammatory bowel disease. In the case of this illness, swellings and inflammations appear along the entire length of the digestive system – beginning with the oesophagus (rarely) and continuing all the way to the small and large intestine. Just as CBD is used for irritable bowel syndrome, it is also useful against Crohn’s disease. As the disease also affects the intestine and is generally triggered by inflammation, CBD is a good choice for treatment due to its anti-inflammatory properties. 

The decisive factor in the use of CBD against Crohn’s disease is that CBD promotes the aforementioned endocannabinoid system, a system whose functionality is reduced when movement within the gastrointestinal tract does not take place as it should. In the case of Crohn’s disease, the resulting symptoms can be alleviated using CBD. In the case of Crohn’s disease, just as with other irritable bowel conditions, you should always consult your doctor before taking CBD and other active substances. According to many product reviews, Crohn’s disease can be treated effectively by combining CBD with prescription THC in medicinal cannabis. 

In cases of irritable bowel syndrome, CBD offers a natural alternative to pharmaceutical products. Many symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are the result of inflammation and stress – both of which can be significantly alleviated and to a great extent inhibited by the properties of CBD.  


  • In cases of irritable bowel syndrome, CBD offers a natural alternative to pharmaceutical products.
  • Many symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are the result of inflammation and stress – both of which can be significantly alleviated and to a great extent inhibited by the properties of CBD.

Further Studies

Taking products containing cannabinoids may result in interactions with various medications. If you are already taking medication, the use of CBD and other cannabinoids should be discussed with your doctor beforehand.

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About the author

Stefan K.

Stefan K.

Stefan is not only a valuable part of the CannaTrust magazine but also convinces with his sound knowledge about the effects of cannabinoids. As an author in Austria he gathered valuable experiences when writing for 'Stadtblatt Salzburg'. He got in contact with cannabis through several positive media reports. Nowadays he writes about everything around the most popular cannabinoid these days: CBD.