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You are here: Home > FAQ > Gastric ulcer: Can cannabis be helpful in gastric ulcers?

Gastric ulcer: Can cannabis be helpful in gastric ulcers?

Franjo Grotenhermen

There are no clinical studies with cannabinoids in gastric ulcers. However, THC and other substances that bind to the cannabinoid-1-receptor (CB1 receptor agonists) inhibited the gastric acid production in humans and the formation of ulcers in animals.

Roger Pertwee

The nervous system of the bowel of several species, including the mouse, rat, guinea pig and humans, contains cannabinoid CB1 receptors that depress motility of stomach and intestine. (. )
Gastric acid secretion is also inhibited in response to CB1 receptor activation, although the detailed underlying mechanism has yet to be elucidated. Cannabinoid receptor agonists delay gastric emptying in humans as well as in rodents and probably also inhibit human gastric acid secretion. (. )
The extent to which the effects on gastrointestinal function of cannabinoid receptor agonists or antagonists/inverse agonists can be exploited therapeutically has yet to be investigated as has the extent to which these drugs can provoke unwanted effects in the gastrointestinal tract when used for other therapeutic purposes.
Modified according to: Pertwee RG. Cannabinoids and the gastrointestinal tract. Gut 2001;48(6):859-867.

Adami et al.

In anaesthetized rats the non selective CB-receptor agonist WIN 55,212-2 and the selective CB(1)-receptor agonist HU-210 dose-dependently decreased the acid secretion. (. ) Our results indicate that the antisecretory effects of cannabinoids on the rat stomach are mediated by suppression of the activity of the vagus nerve on the stomach through activation of CB1 receptors.
Modified according to: Adami M, et al. Gastric antisecretory role and immunohistochemical localization of cannabinoid receptors in the rat stomach. Br J Pharmacol 2002;135(7):1598-1606.

Sofia et al.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) inhibited ulcer formation in the rat. However, this antiulcer activity of THC was substantially less than for tridihexethyl chloride.
Modified according to: Sofia RD, et al. Evaluation of antiulcer activity of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol in the Shay rat test. Pharmacology 1978;17(3):173-177.

Nalin et al.

In 90 volunteers participating in a vaccine-development programme consumption of beer more than 3 days a week was linked with high stomach acid output, and smoking of cannabis greater than 2 days a week was linked with low acid output.
Source: Nalin DR, et al. Cannabis, hypochlorhydria, and cholera. Lancet 1978;2(8095):859-862.

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CBD and Ulcers: Here’s What You Should Know

CBD and Ulcers: Tanasi CBD tincture on kitchen counter

Posted on August 23rd, 2020

In recent years, many people have sworn by cannabidiol CBD as their go-to health supplement. Its amazing potential benefits to the medical community cannot be understated as it appears to help individuals with a wide and varying range of symptoms. So, with this comes the big question. Can CBD help with ulcers?

Ulcers are a serious medical condition: they can cause severe pain, and if left untreated, they can even be fatal, especially when they begin to bleed. This is an area where researchers are exploring the benefits of CBD for ulcers. Currently, doctors recommend certain drugs to manage ulcers, but these medications have side effects that can be harmful to your health. As a plant extract, however, CBD comes with few side effects. So, can CBD be used to help manage ulcers, without getting you high? For answers to this and other questions, read on for our guide to how CBD may help with ulcers, and who might consider this supplement.

What Is an Ulcer?

An ulcer is a sore that develops in or on your body. Ulcers don’t just show up in your stomach. They can originate in different areas, including your eyes, mouth, stomach, and legs.

Anyone can get an ulcer, but drinking or smoking adds to your risk. Infections, injuries, and diseases can also cause ulcers. Depending on where they develop, the ulcers will be named differently: if they deposit in your stomach lining, they are named gastric ulcers; if they land in the small intestine, they’re known as duodenal ulcers. Ulcers that form in your throat are referred to as esophageal ulcers. Regardless of location, some ulcers heal on their own, others will cause severe health disruptions unless they are treated.

Senior man showing a doctor his ulcer painCauses of Ulcers

So, how exactly can you get an ulcer? Many ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori), a bacterial infection. Contrary to what you may have heard, stress won’t give you an ulcer, but it can make an existing problem worse. Also, another common misconception is that eating spicy or acidic foods can trigger ulcer development. While it may seem true, that is not a fact. Yes, eating those types of food will exacerbate your ulcers and its symptoms, but the behavior won’t cause an ulcer to develop.

Using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin can also cause ulcers to develop. There is also a possibility of ulcers forming on tumors within your duodenum, pancreas, and even stomach. This phenomenon is referred to as Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome (ZES).

Symptoms of Ulcers

The most common symptom is chronic abdominal pain accompanied by a burning feeling. With gastric ulcers, you’ll experience pain as soon as you eat something. When it comes to duodenal ulcers, the pain sets in around two to three hours after a meal. Some other ulcer symptoms include:

  • Stomach pain that will wake you up at night
  • Bloating
  • Belching
  • Nausea
  • Significant weight loss
  • Bloody and tar-like stool
  • Bleeding complications in some patients
  • Back pain
  • Vomiting blood
  • Heartburn

Many ulcers do not trigger symptoms, especially in elderly patients. This can make diagnosis and treatment a challenge.

How Are Ulcers Diagnosed?

How can you tell if you have an ulcer? If you experience any of the above symptoms, call your doctor right away. A healthcare provider can give you an exam, and confirm your diagnosis with an endoscopy. This process involves having your doctor insert a thin, flexible tube that is attached to a camera inserted down your throat all the way to your stomach. Your blood and stool will also be tested for H.pylori. With these details, your doctor can confirm your ulcer diagnosis.

What Is CBD?

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is one of numerous compounds, called cannabinoids, that are derived from the cannabis plant. While cannabis use is often associated with getting high, THC, a different cannabinoid is responsible for that psychoactive experience. CBD, on the other hand, will not get you high. Instead, CBD has many potential benefits, and managing ulcers may be one of them. Using CBD could also have other digestive health benefits. It may target symptoms of Crohn’s disease and IBS.

Tanasi CBD gel caps and bottleCBD and Ulcers: Is There a Connection?

According to studies, CBD has been successful in combating ulcer symptoms . However, this research is still in its early stages, and more studies must be done to see how CBD impacts people with ulcers. We, therefore, recommend talking with your doctor before starting any CBD routine. This is especially important if you take any medications, since CBD may interfere with your prescriptions or other supplements. If, however, your doctor clears you for taking CBD with ulcers, here are some of the ways this supplement may help alleviate your symptoms:

It Helps Reduce Inflammation

CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS) by stimulating its receptors to do their job. The main job of the ECS is to maintain balance (homeostasis). It, therefore, boosts your bodily functions, mostly by controlling your anandamide levels. CBD helps your ECS retain anandamide, a messenger molecule in your body, thereby helping control your inflammation levels. It does this by blocking FAAH, which is a fatty acid that breaks anandamide down. Without that breakdown, your anandamide levels remain high and you enjoy reduced inflammation.

Aids in Managing Stress

Having ulcers is stressful, but stress will only worsen the condition. Enter your CBD routine: CBD may help control stress because, with increased levels of anandamide, your moods will be lifted. Logically, your depression and anxiety symptoms should lessen. Anandamide helps promote feelings of relaxation, and will help you feel at peace, and less cranky.

It Reduces Gastric Discharge

As CBD stimulates your CB1 receptor, it helps inhibit gastric acid secretions , according to studies. Therefore, CBD helps decrease your gastric acid and increases blood flow to your stomach lining, both of which can help soothe or prevent ulcer development.

What Are the Side Effects?

Does CBD have any side effects? When taking CBD, it is crucial to note that everyone is different, and how your body reacts to CBD will be different from another person’s experience. Still, according to the World Health Organization, CBD is safe to take, barring any interactions between the supplement and your existing medications. Therefore, it is crucial to talk to your doctor before taking CBD to ensure that you do not experience complications. Some mild side effects experienced may be tiredness, irritability, and dry mouth. Typically, these side effects are only seen when consumed in larger than recommended doses. Be sure to check for a dosing guide with your product and speak with your doctor about recommended dosing. If you experience any side effects, you may consider decreasing your dose and speaking with your doctor about what dose may be right for you.

Final Thoughts

While CBD may help manage the symptoms of ulcers, studies are still in the early stages of understanding its full effects. Always speak with your doctor before embarking on your CBD journey. Your doctor will understand if CBD interferes with any of your current medications and can help you determine a dosage that’s right for you. When taking CBD, it is advised to start with low to moderate doses and adjust until you achieve the desired results. Once you have medical clearance to sample CBD, we hope that our range of full-spectrum CBD products may help you find relief from painful ulcer symptoms.

Can CBD be used to help manage ulcers? For answers to this and other questions, read on for our guide to how CBD may help with ulcers.