CBD for Intestinal Inflammation: Diseases, Therapeutic Benefits, and Uses

Man with upset stomach

Chronic intestinal inflammation or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may affect as many as three million Americans annually. Symptoms can be severe and often interfere with patients’ quality of life. 

There are several conditions related to intestinal inflammation including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s, and ulcerative colitis, with symptoms including chronic abdominal pain, bloating, gas, bowel urgency, loss of appetite, weight loss, and more. 

In rare cases, IBD can lead to fever, fatigue, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, or skin, eye, and vision problems. IBD, and other underlying conditions, can result in serious complications: Anemia, kidney stones, liver disease, malabsorption/malnutrition, osteoporosis, perforated bowel, and toxic megacolon to name a few.

Unfortunately, current standard treatments for IBD have a myriad of side effects like upset stomach, indigestion, fluid retention, headache, acne, skin rash, hypertension, hyperglycemia, eye/vision problems, infections, and even bone loss, and other musculoskeletal complications.

CBD has become a popular alternative treatment for intestinal inflammation. So, if you’re one of the millions of Americans tired of life revolving around your IBD symptoms, it’s worth reading up on this anti-inflammatory cannabinoid as an alternative therapeutic strategy.

Continue reading to find out how many people with IBD find CBD useful and how it might also help you manage your condition.

Please note this article is not medical advice. If you’re dealing with IBD or other intestinal conditions, it’s always good practice to speak with your doctor about possible treatments and ask if CBD is a good option for you.

What is CBD, and What are its Effects on the Bowels?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the most prominent naturally occurring and therapeutic compounds in hemp and cannabis plants. 

Unlike THC, CBD does not induce a ‘high’ or psychoactive effects. While not all CBD products are made equal, high-quality lab-tested CBD is available with verified contents and transparent THC levels so there are no unwanted effects.

When taken, the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) processes the CBD compound before the central nervous system and immune system receptors respond. One of the most notable immune system responses to CBD is a significant anti-inflammatory effect. As an anti-inflammatory compound, CBD can alleviate intestinal inflammation and resulting symptoms.

There is also evidence for the ECS’s role in maintaining gut homeostasis via immune and nerve receptors. In addition to improving GI-immune system balance, CBD promotes other ECS effects on the intestinal barrier and the brain areas in charge of maintaining gut homeostasis.

With side effects being relatively mild and limited for most people, tolerance is typically well-received. Though more research is needed to establish the side effect profile completely. But, when we explore the apparent therapeutic effects of CBD in practice, it seems to work in managing many people’s IBD. 

One survey showed IBD patients use marijuana at a rate of 12.3%, which is higher than the general population. Many patients attest to therapeutic effects of cannabis use such as lessened abdominal pain, improved appetite, and reduced nausea. Additionally, 32% of lifetime cannabis users with IBD said they used it specifically to relieve IBD symptoms. 

Other surveys suggest that up to 17.6% of IBD patients have used cannabis to ease symptoms, with 84% of cannabis users with IBD reporting less abdominal pain.

Since CBD is a promising potential treatment for IBD, let’s take a closer look at CBD’s mechanisms for fighting intestinal inflammation.

How CBD Works Against Intestinal Inflammation

Intestinal inflammatory conditions are a consequence of the body’s immune system response. The immune system’s job is to fight off infections, but sometimes it perceives food as a foreign substance, reacting with antibodies and causing inflammation and IBD symptoms.

This mistaken immune response may occur because of increased intestinal permeability or a leaky gut. That means that when food reaches the intestine, traces get through the barrier of cells lining the gut wall, triggering the immune system reaction of intestinal inflammation. 

When intestinal inflammation is ongoing or chronic, it leads to oxidative stress, cyclically increasing inflammation, and progressing IBD.

In addition to reducing the inflammation itself, CBD protects the intestinal barrier from inflammation and oxidative stress, slowing the cycle of intestinal inflammation.

When researchers studied CBD as a possible IBD treatment, they found that CBD reduced signs of oxidative stress by 25%, and its precursor cannabis plant compound, CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), reduced the oxidative stress markers by 30%. 

CBD use also seemed to protect the intestinal lining cells during inflammation and oxidative stress by reducing cell permeability and barrier damage. By maintaining the integrity of the intestinal lining against leaky gut, CBD stops another stage in the progressive cycle of intestinal inflammation.

Let’s explore how CBD’s various functions against IBD could help in the context of different intestinal inflammation conditions.

Common Diseases That Cause Intestinal Inflammation

Which conditions involve intestinal inflammation, what’s the difference between them, and can CBD help? If so, how?

Researchers don’t know the precise cause of IBS, but they suspect it’s a combination of the following factors: leaky gut or intestinal barrier permeability, dysfunction of GI muscle contraction, hypersensitive GI tract nerves, and miscommunication between the nerves in the gut and brain.

Surprisingly, inflammation is only found in a small number of IBS patients, although it’s not uncommon to have both IBS and IBD. In that minority of IBS patients with intestinal inflammation, there are increased inflammatory cells in the lining of the large intestine.

In experiments, CBD helped regulate motility in cases of the GI muscles moving food through the GI tract too rapidly or too slowly. CBD also reduced intestinal pain and inflammation in IBS sufferers.

  • Ulcerative Colitis- UC is an incurable intestinal inflammatory condition or IBD.

In ulcerative colitis, inflammation begins at the rectum and can spread to the colon, causing large intestine sores called ulcers. The disease often brings patterns of flare-ups interspersed with periods of remission.

During ulcerative colitis flare-ups, symptoms can include urgent bowel movements, blood in the stool, abdominal cramping, fatigue, nausea, weight loss, and anemia. Certain foods often worsen symptoms.

Ulcerative colitis is believed to result from an overactive immune response. This is reflected in the immunoreactivity in the colon lining, inflammatory cell infiltration, and leaky gut present in UC. 

There is evidence that CBD can counteract both inflammation and oxidative stress in UC. Also, when CBD suppresses the overactive immune response, it may help regulate gut permeability and intestinal damage from colon inflammation. Overall, CBD might improve quality of life for UC patients.

One of the likely causes of CD is autoimmune, where the immune system responds to bacteria in the digestive tract by attacking healthy cells. Similarly to UC, Crohn’s may present an overreactive immune response in the colon lining with infiltration of inflammatory cells.

There’s still a lack of significant, high-quality evidence for CBD causing major changes in Crohn’s Disease activity index scores, inflammatory parameters, or endoscopy scores. However, multiple studies have indicated significant quality of life improvements, likely due to CBD’s analgesic (pain relieving) properties.

One survey showed that, among Crohn’s disease patients, 48% had tried cannabis, roughly 16% currently used cannabis, and 50% of CD patients who’d tried cannabis cited IBD symptom relief.

Four Potential Therapeutic Benefits of CBD for Intestinal Inflammation

Let’s review all the potential benefits of taking CBD for inflammatory bowel disease.

Reduced Inflammation

Through its relationship with the immune system, CBD helps control intestinal inflammation, particularly in IBS and UC. By minimizing excess immune cells and oxidative stress, CBD stops the inflammation progression and manages related symptoms. 

Intestinal Permeability/’Leaky Gut’ Regulation

CBD intervenes in other intestinal inflammation factors by protecting the intestinal barrier’s integrity and mitigating its inflammatory damage.

Intestinal Motility

Especially in IBS, inflammatory bowel disease often involves intestinal motility problems, when the intestine moves food through too fast or too slow. CBD has been shown to help with both hypermotility and hypomotility.


Pain relief is one of the most well-known effects of CBD, so it’s not surprising that it can also ease IBD-related chronic pain. In one study, 83.9% of IBD patients had less abdominal pain as an effect of medical cannabis use.

Nausea Relief and Improved Appetite

CBD can also relieve the IBD symptoms of nausea and loss of appetite.

Minimal Side Effects

The typical treatments for IBD often have a host of serious side effects. CBD has far fewer and milder side effects in comparison. 35.7% of patients who tried cannabis for IBD thought the medical cannabis worked better than corticosteroids, and 43% reported fewer side effects.

How to Use CBD to Possibly Reduce Intestinal Inflammation

There are many ways to administer CBD, so it can be hard to know where to start or how much to take for relief intestinal inflammation.

  • Talk to your doctor first, especially if you already take other medications. There is a risk of drug interactions, so make sure CBD is safe for you before trying this alternative therapeutic strategy.
  • Pay attention to dosage. A review of studies on treating conditions with CBD found that patients tended to take up to 50 mg of CBD per day depending on body weight. Start with a low dose before increasing as needed.
  • Even if you don’t notice helpful effects right away, continue taking CBD consistently once or twice per day for two to four weeks, adjusting your dose if necessary.

Four Best CBD Products to Relieve Intestinal Inflammation

Here is some of the best CBD for intestinal inflammation from ulcerative colitis and other IBD symptoms.

CBD Oil- 1:1 Ratio Full Spectrum CBD Oil (1000mg CBD & CBG) 10x More Pain Relief – Peppermint Flavor

This may be the best CBD oil for ulcerative colitis or other intestinal inflammation. With under 0.3% THC, this formula contains the full spectrum of cannabis compounds, including CBG for improved potency, analgesia, and pain relief. Mix CBD tincture oil into a food or beverage, or simply administer it under your tongue to experience the effects fast.

CBD Cream- CBD Relief Salve 500mg

Apply topical CBD to the affected area so it can absorb locally into the tissues and systemically for full-body effects. This salve offers a special blend of anti-inflammatory ingredients, easing pain, and counteracting stress, which can exacerbate IBD.

CBD Gel- CBD & CBG Gell Roller 1000mg/1000mg

Another powerful CBD topical is the gel roller with CBG. It’s formulated for superior absorption with soothing ingredients like menthol all in a mess-free applicator. Roll the gel onto any body part suffering from pain or inflammation.

CBD Capsule- ReliefX CBD Capsules 750mg CBD + 750mg CBG

The simplest way to take CBD is in a capsule. Take it like any other pill or vitamin. Since each capsule has the same amount of CBD, you get a consistent dose each time for easy dose control.

FAQs About CBD for Intestinal Inflammation

Does CBD help intestinal inflammation?

Yes, CBD can help with intestinal inflammation, especially in the cases of IBS and UC.

How can I reduce inflammation in my intestinal tract?

Medication, CBD, dietary changes, and lowering stress levels can all help reduce intestinal inflammation.

Does CBD help IBS?

Yes, CBD can help with inflammation, pain, leaky gut, and intestinal motility problems from IBS.

Does CBD oil help intestinal problems?

Yes, CBD can preserve the intestinal barrier, regulate intestinal motility, and reduce gut inflammation and oxidative stress.

Which IBD Symptoms Effect You Most?

No matter which IBD symptoms have had or are having the biggest impacts on your life, hopefully you learned something new about CBD and how it might help reduce your pain and discomfort from intestinal inflammation and related diseass. 

Curious about potential quality of life improvements from CBD? Talk to your doctor and find out why 87.5% of IBD patients who tried cannabis for their symptoms said they would recommend it to other people with IBD. Here’s a trusted source to buy CBD for intestinal inflammation that’s hemp-derived and third-party lab tested.

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