UTI, short for Urinary Tract Infection is an infection in any part of your urinary system. While most infections involve the lower urinary tract, the bladder, and the urethra, a urinary tract infection can appear in a number of places including your kidneys, ureters, urethra, and bladder.
UTI is relatively common in women, but men may also suffer from Urinary Infections. It is estimated that UTIs account for as many as 8.1 million visits to doctors every year. Furthermore, women have a 40%-50% chance of having a UTI at least one time in their life as the urethra in women in shorter than in men, allowing bacteria to easily access the bladder.
Causes of Urinary Tract Infections
One of the major causes of Urinary Tract Infections is lack of hygiene. It’s as simple as that. From when we are children, we are taught to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom, and there is a good reason for that. As the urethra is located extremely close to the anus, it is susceptible to infection from bacteria that are found in the anus. Bacteria from large intestines, such as E. coli. Once they enter the urethra, they speed up the transport tubes infecting everything in its path. The bacteria tend to find a home in the bladder causing infection. Women are especially prone to Urine infections as they have shorter urethras.
Cystitis and urethritis in men tend to occur due to either obstruction to the urethra by the prostate or an infection of the prostate which then spreads to the bladder and urethra.
Sexual intercourse may lead to cystitis, a relatively common lower urinary tract infection. Although cystitis is not normally a serious condition, it is extremely uncomfortable and can result in complications if not dealt with.
Major Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary Tract Infections can be extremely discomforting. The following symptoms are common:
- A burning sensation when you urinate.
- The urge to frequently urinate.
- Pressure or uncomfortable pain in your lower abdomen or back.
- Dark or bloody urine.
- Feeling constant fatigue or tired.
Conventional Remedies for UTIs
The standard prescription for UTIs is antibiotics. The process is quite simple. You go to your primary care physician and explain the problem. Your doctor will most probably send you for a UTI test, where you will be asked to give a urine sample. In addition, your doctor will advise you to drink lots of water to help flush the infection out of your system. Some people also drink cranberry juice, soda, ginger tea or even parsley water.
There are several measures which can be taken to avoid the risk of UTI. Hygiene is the first and the most important. It is extremely important to wash around the urethra, vagina, and anus to get rid of any unwanted bacteria. It is also best to avoid wearing any sticky clothes, such as nylon tights or tight pants. Most importantly maintain a healthy diet and physical exercise routine.
Marijuana and UTIs
Few studies have been conducted on the connection between cannabis and UTIs, but those that have conducted studies have released surprising findings suggesting that Cannabis may treat pain caused by Urinary Tract Infection. In a recent study, published in the American Journal of Clinical and Experimental Urology it was found that CB1R activation, which occurs through the consumption of cannabis can help fight pain arising from cystitis.
Another study, led by Zun-Yi Wang and Dale Bjorling suggested that cannabinoids (a group of active compounds found in marijuana) could reduce inflammation and urinary frequency. According to their study which was conducted on mice, activation of the CB2 receptors, through cannabis consumption seemed to reduce the swelling and bladder weight.
Is Marijuana an Effective UTI Remedy
As marijuana is still classed as a schedule 1 drug, meaning it’s thought to have no medical value, it is still not conclusive as to which cannabis strains can help assist with UTI.
Indica dominant marijuana strains are believed to have a soothing effect on the pain related to UTIs. Furthermore, CBD tinctures (extracts of cannabis) are becoming more common among medical patients as CBD healing properties (compared to THC which is best known for providing a euphoric high), are assumed to course through your digestive system healing anything in its path. The validity of this claim is still largely up for debate, but it’s definitely something worth keeping an eye on.
Whether you decide to use marijuana as a treatment for UTI or not, it is always best to consult with your primary or medical doctor before any cannabis consumption. It is also important to note some marijuana strains may have the opposite effect, irritating the infection and making it spread throughout your urinary tract and bladder.
And lastly, it’s worth pointing out that some people have had success drinking loads of cranberry juice (which is a natural antioxidant) in order to help pass a UTI. The natural properties of the juice are known to help eliminate the oxidative agents that result in inflammation, and also to help rid all inflammatory substances of the body through the excretory system.
(And on an interesting side note, this is only one of the reasons why people have been known to drink large amounts of cranberry juice. Drug test results have also been known to be skewed by excessive consumption, so keep this in mind if you have a screening coming up that you’re worried about passing).