Medical Marijuana and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that leads to abdominal pain and cramping, changes in bowel movements, and other symptoms. IBS is not the same as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.  In IBS, the structure of the bowel is not abnormal.

Abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea are all typical symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Although IBS is not dangerous, the symptoms can be very painful and bothersome. Most people who have IBS have a mild form, which they can cope with quite well.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

It is not clear why patients develop IBS. Sometimes it occurs after an infection of the intestines. This is called postinfectious IBS. There may also be other triggers.

The intestine is connected to the brain. Signals go back and forth between the bowel and brain. These signals affect bowel function and symptoms. The nerves can become more active during stress, causing the intestines to be more sensitive and squeeze (contract) more. Stress, feeling mentally or emotionally tense, troubled, angry, or overwhelmed can stimulate colon spasms.

IBS can occur at any age, but it often begins in the teen years or early adulthood. It is twice as common in women as in men.

About 1 in 6 people in the U.S. have symptoms of IBS. It is the most common intestinal problem that causes patients to be referred to a bowel specialist (gastroenterologist).


Symptoms range from mild to severe. Most people have mild symptoms. Symptoms are different from person to person.

The main symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain, fullness, gas, and bloating that have been present for at least 3 days a month for the last 3 months.


Alternative medicine

Due to unsatisfactory results from medical treatments for IBS up to fifty percent of people turn to alternative medicine. Alternative treatments include yoga, acupuncture, probiotics, the use of beneficial bacteria, peppermint oil, the multi-herbal extract Iberogast, and cannabis.

Medical Marijuana relieves IBS symptoms
Many IBS patients have found that the cramping, abdominal pain, and irregularity of bowel movements are relieved with marijuana.  Marijuana has been shown to decrease intestinal muscle spasms, decrease nausea, and increase appetite.  There are also reports that marijuana works well as an anti-inflammatory, helping to alleviate inflammation in the bowel.  Marijuana is well known to help relieve anxiety and induce a relaxed state for most people;  this relief of anxiety has been reported by some patients to help calm the symptoms of IBS triggered by stress.  Many patients use a combined natural approach of dietary changes, stress-reducing activities like yoga or meditation, and marijuana with good improvement in most if not all their symptoms.

Mayo Clinic, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Constituents in marijuana called cannabinoids interact with receptors (called CB1 receptors) in the enteric nervous system (the part of the nervous system that directly controls the gastrointestinal system) and with CB1 receptors in the brain.  The cannabinoids in marijuana that contribute to its ability to treat the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and, possibly, cannabidiol (CBD).  People with irritable bowel syndrome should use marijuana strains that contain a relatively high concentration of THC.  THC binds to CB1 receptors on cells in the gut and brain and acts as an agonist to inhibit emptying of the stomach and transit of food through the intestines .  CBD appears to have little effect on intestinal motility on its own, but it synergizes the effect of THC .  Cannabinoids that activate CB2 receptors (agonists) like CBD may alter intestinal mobility under pathophysiological conditions .

“Indica strains of the plant are most beneficial  for Treating symptoms of IBS due to their muscle relaxing properties”.   Strains:   Auntie Em, Blackberry, Black Domina, Bluberry, Chemo, Blue Fruit, G13, Mandala No. 1, Purple Kush, Ultimate Indica, Santa Maria, Super Silver Haze.

Cannabinoids and the gastrointestinal tract

Department of Physiological Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, 55099 Mainz, Germany.

In the past centuries, different preparations of marijuana have been used for the treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, such as GI pain, gastroenteritis and diarrhea. Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; the active component of marijuana), as well as endogenous and synthetic cannabinoids, exert their biological functions on the gastrointestinal tract by activating two types of cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1 receptor) and cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2 receptor). While CB1 receptors are located in the enteric nervous system and in sensory terminals of vagal and spinal neurons and regulate neurotransmitter release, CB2 receptors are mostly distributed in the immune system, with a role presently still difficult to establish. Under pathophysiological conditions, the endocannabinoid system conveys protection to the GI tract, eg from inflammation and abnormally high gastric and enteric secretion. For such protective activities, the endocannabinoid system may represent a new promising therapeutic target against different GI disorders, including frankly inflammatory bowel diseases (eg, Crohn’s disease), functional bowel diseases (eg, irritable bowel syndrome), and secretion- and motility-related disorders.

IBS relief using CBD rich Sour Tsunami strain

“I am a IBD & IBS patient that has been doing the high CBD sour tsunami hemp oil treatment now since march 4th along with my other diet and supplement regiment.  Within a few days great relief to spasms, pain, bleeding and bowel incontinence had been seen.  Now up to full dosage and a few weeks into treatment I have much greater relief.  Down to one bowl movement a day (from 10-20), and stools are now formed and solid.  I have fully adjusted to meds.  and now have energy during day, more stamina, and sleep unbelievably well at night.  Some nights I can get eight to ten hours straight of real REM sleep which has helped healing tremendously.  The other effects worth noting are the emotional effects.
The oil also keeps any stress and anxiety so common with IBD and IBS under control better than any other meds.  out there and totally safe.  The high CBD medicine makes it possible to have great relief, healing and still function during the day with no restrictive effects.  I can now leave my bathroom and house and get things done and feel human again!   So far,   I cannot  say enough about the effectiveness of this treatment.   I still have a few weeks to go.

– H.J, Northern California

Use whole plant extracts.  Indica x hybrid or Indica x Sativa hybrid  {you want high CBD/ THC medicine} Teas, Tinctures, Vaporizer, Edibles , Cannabutter, Suppositories.
Strains for IBS symptoms:  Sour Tsunami, Super Skunk, Super Lemon Skunk, Pure OG Kush, GDP, Trainwreck, OG Kush, Aurora, Blueberry, Green Crack, Cripple Creek.