If you suffer from digestive problems, then you probably often get the feeling as if your digestive health is an mis-treated by your doctor as is often classed as an “overlooked medical problem”. While it may not be on the same level as a debilitating condition, it does cause a significant level of pain and discomfort for millions of Americans. A survey commissioned by AbbVie Pharmaceuticals found that up to 74% of people live with a digestive problem such as abdominal pain, gas or diarrhea.
What most people don’t realize is that these seemingly innocuous symptoms could be a sign of a more serious condition. Incredibly, over 50% of Americans with a digestive problem don’t discuss it with a doctor. Even when they do, they end up with useless painkillers. The truth is, marijuana could be your best weapon against digestive problems; read on to find out why.
What Are Digestive Problems?
As the name suggests, a digestive problem is an issue with your body’s digestive system. Common problems include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn and GERD. Your digestive system is a large and intricate part of your body as it reaches from your mouth to your rectum. As well as helping the body absorb important nutrients, your digestive system gets rid of waste.
Symptoms of Digestive Problems
The symptoms of digestive problems vary depending on your condition and can range from the embarrassing to the excruciating. If you have chronic constipation, for example, you will experience bloating and abdominal pain. If you have IBD, symptoms include bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever. If you have Crohn’s Disease, symptoms include abdominal pain and weight loss.
Living with Digestive Problems
Once again, it depends on the nature of your digestive problem. People with IBS live in constant fear of having an embarrassing incident while those who live with Crohn’s Disease will suffer immense pain on occasion. At best, a digestive problem will make life awkward, and at worst, it can turn mealtimes into a nightmare because you feel as if there is a knife being stuck in your stomach.
Traditional Treatment for Digestive Problems
The differing nature of digestive problems means there are various medications on offer. Patients with IBS may receive laxatives, fiber supplements, or anti-diarrheal medications such as Imodium. If you suffer from bouts of diarrhea, you may receive an anticholinergic medication such as Bentyl to relieve bowel spasms. Side effects include dry mouth and blurred vision.
If you have Crohn’s Disease, the main goal is to reduce the inflammation that can trigger symptoms. Common anti-inflammatory drugs include corticosteroids and Oral 5-aminosalicylates. There is also a class of drug known as immune system suppressors which reduce inflammation by targeting the immune system. Some of these drugs carry serious side effects. For example, Natalizumab could lead to a brain disease called leukoencephalopathy which can cause death or disability.
These are scary side effects but fortunately, marijuana is available in many states, and it is associated with relieving the symptoms of digestive problems.
Research Involving Marijuana & Digestive Problems
Marijuana has a surprising number of positive effects on your digestive system. The THC in cannabis helps stimulate the hunger hormone ghrelin which is ideal for people with appetite problems.
Perhaps more pertinently, marijuana is capable of calming intestinal inflammation. If you have IBS or IBD, cannabis can help heal the intestine and promote weight gain. A 2012 study by Lahat, Lang, and Ben-Horin found that three months of marijuana use was enough to see weight gain in patients with IBD.
As you probably know, cannabis interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) which includes cannabinoid receptors known as CB1 and CB2. The body’s GI tract houses 80% of your immune system and contains cannabinoid receptors. You will find the CB1 and CB2 receptor in your gut so when you consume marijuana, the THC and CBD it contains activates the cannabinoid receptors.
It is also a well-known fact that cannabis is an excellent anti-nausea medication. A 2002 study by Darmani showed that THC could block nausea which is why marijuana works so well in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Of course, not every marijuana strain is created equal which is why you need to find the best one for digestive problems. We offer five possibilities below.
5 Best Marijuana Strains for Digestive Problems
1 – Trash (The Horny Marijuana Strain)
Also known as ‘Trash Kush,’ this indica dominant hybrid (70%) provides you with a delicious mint, earth and Kush taste which a hint of a fruity aftertaste. It is a cross of Purple Trainwreck and Afghani Hash Plant, and with a THC content of up to 19%, Trash is extremely potent.
It is the ideal marijuana strain if you need to eat something, but your appetite isn’t there. The high begins with a euphoric head rush with a strong feeling behind the eyes. Soon, you’ll feel hungry and aroused which makes Trash an excellent aphrodisiac!
2 – Blue Blood (The Royal Marijuana Strain)
This is an indica dominant hybrid (70%) and is a cross between Blueberry and OG Kush strains. Although Blue Blood can have a THC content of up to 20%, it is not the right strain to get high as the CBD content of 10% will counteract the marijuana’s psychoactive effects.
On the plus side, it is a great strain to use if you want to work. While it offers a rewarding body and head high that makes you feel like a king or queen, Blue Blood won’t leave experienced users feeling too sedated.
3 – Sour Flower (The Marijuana Strain That Puts Pep in Your Step)
This cannabis strain is descended from Super Silver Haze and at 18% THC; it is powerful enough to give you a nice high without completely debilitating you. It is a 50/50 hybrid which is especially popular in California, Oregon, and Arizona.
Be warned; Sour Flower gives you a strong head high from the outset, and it can give users a case of red eyes and dry mouth. As such, Sour Flower is best enjoyed at home, but it can give you an energy boost and also treat insomnia and depression along with any digestive problems you may have.
4 – White Cheese (The Sleep Lover’s Marijuana Strain)
This 50/50 hybrid is a cross between Super Skunk, Cheese, and Afghani strains. It has a THC of 16%, and while its 4% CBD content reduces the high a little, White Cheese remains a potent strain for newcomers.
As the name suggests, White Cheese offers a cream cheese flavor initially, and you should feel a head high soon after your first smoke. Next, you should feel any pain in your digestive system ease away, and you may even feel an urge to eat. Just be quick about it because White Cheese can send you to sleep fast!
5 – Hustler Kush (The Lethargic Marijuana Strain)
This indica dominant strain (70%) is a cross between OG Kush and Chewdawg 91 strains. In 2014, High Times named Hustler Kush as one of the 40 strongest strains ever! While its THC is not incredibly high at 19%, this strain will hit you fast and hard.
The initial head high brings with it a sense of motivation and creativity. Soon, this high spreads throughout the body and makes you feel aroused! It is ideal for treating inflammation because its effects last for hours.
Final Thoughts on Marijuana for Digestive Problems
If you’re one of the millions of Americans suffering from a digestive problem, try one of the five marijuana strains we’ve outlined above. An increasing body of research suggests that marijuana works wonders when fighting nausea, inflammation, and chronic pain.
Clearly, you may need to make some adjustments to your diet, but we would recommend against the consumption of prescription medication for anything other than the most severe digestive problems. The pain caused by digestive problems can be crippling and make it impossible to enjoy life, but the natural healing powers of marijuana could change everything.