Can CBD alleviate Ulcerative Colitis (UC) in humans? Well, for decades, humans have been using aminosalicylates as the primary remedy for treating colitis. In other quarters, physicians have prescribed medications such as antibiotics and corticosteroids to suppress symptoms of UC and reduce inflammation in IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) patients. However, physicians prescribe such medications to help improve their patients’ quality of life for the most part.

The jury is still out on the exact medication to treat this condition, including its causes. But scientists have explored CBD oil and discovered that it contains anti-inflammatory properties that can remedy this condition. That leads us to the question: Can CBD oil be an alternative treatment for Ulcerative Colitis (UC)? Well, before we answer this question, let’s first understand what UC is.

What is Ulcerative Colitis (UC)?

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the colon and causes sores and persistent ulcers in the digestive tract. This condition falls into the broader category of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Ulcerative colitis predominantly affects the intestines and damages the inner lining of the colon. As a result, a patient will experience frequent bowel movements mostly accompanied by chronic pain.

With regards to what causes this condition, it is not yet fully understood. But adults aged 30 t0 40 years are more susceptible to this condition, which generates more than $15 billion in the United States government spending on healthcare.

Causes and Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

What causes inflammatory bowel diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease is not yet known. But physicians suspect that the causes can be linked to hereditary factors. To back up this theory, scientists hypothesize that UC is an autoimmune disease that results from one’s immune system attacking healthy body cells instead of foreign/intruder cells, thus causing chronic inflammation. Either way, nothing concrete can be said as to what the exact cause of UC is. However, the following symptoms are associated with Ulcerative colitis:

  • Chronic abdominal pain.
  • Low body energy and fatigue.
  • Loose bloody stool and frequent bowel movements.
  • Diarrhea
  • cramping.

What is the Conventional Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis?

Medically speaking, Ulcerative Colitis is a theoretically incurable condition. However, physicians prescribe medications aiming to suppress the inflammation and reduce abdominal pain, improving their patients’ quality of life. For most UC patients, the go-to medication is aminosalicylates, but doctors, in other cases, can prescribe corticosteroids or antibiotics.

Some severe cases of UC may require surgical operations to remove the most damaged parts of the colon. And in the worst-case scenario, the colon may need to be surgically removed to cure the condition. But that’s a risk many wouldn’t want to take.

Why People are Turning to CBD for Ulcerative Colitis

As mentioned earlier, ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the colon, thus causing sores and persistent ulcers in the gut. The result being; one experiences persistent abdominal pain and frequent bowel movements. And while aminosalicylates, antibiotics, and corticosteroids are commonly prescribed to UC patients, studies have shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that could cure colitis. Overall, study reports have shown that CBD oil may:

  • Help prevent colon injury.
  • Minimize intestinal damage.
  • Reduce disturbance in the colon.

However, most of the research has been based on animal subjects. Meaning, scientists are yet to establish sufficient evidence to suggest that CBD oil can alleviate Ulcerative Colitis in humans. Studies have predominantly been based on rodents, and the success exhibited has left physicians hoping that CBD oil could be an alternative treatment for ulcerative colitis.

Can CBD Oil Alleviate Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?

The cause of UC is not yer clear. However, scientists have linked the development of this condition to genetics. They believe that ulcerative colitis is more likely to develop in genetically susceptible persons as their bodies respond to environmental triggers. The absence of a cure and the lack of knowledge base of the causes of UC have had doctors prescribe symptoms-suppressing medications to improve their patients’ quality of life.

But the good news is, researchers have hypothesized that CBD oil could be an effective alternative for UC because it has remarkable anti-inflammatory properties. And while at that, a 2019 report from the National Institute of Health revealed that CBD oil has both pain-relieving (analgesic) and anti-inflammatory properties on the digestive tract – and benefits the patient without causing any traces of intoxication.

According to the U.S government’s patent on medical cannabis and CBD, cannabinoids possess antioxidant properties that are useful in treating oxidation, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. And although few clinical trials exist on whether CBD oil can treat ulcerative colitis, preliminary reports on studies in the last decade have shown promising results, which has offered hope that CBD oil can be an alternative treatment for ulcerative colitis.

Studies Investigating Use of CBD Oil for Ulcerative Colitis

To mention a few:

  • A 2018 study analyzed the efficiency of CBD oil in adults aged 18 years and older suffering from ulcerative colitis. The study report suggested that CBD extracts can alleviate symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
  • An investigative clinical trial conducted on rodents showed that the topical application of CBD could alleviate colon inflammation resulting from ulcerative colitis.

The Pros and Cons of Using CBD Oil as Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis

The Pros

  • A 2018 study established that CBD oil is non-addictive and may be used to fight against substance abuse.
  • CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that could alleviate symptoms associated with Ulcerative Colitis.
  • In the United States, anyone of legal age could purchase CBD products without the need of a prescription, as long as they do so in states where this is legal.

The Cons

  • There are few clinical trials to investigate the efficiency of CBD oil in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. The majority of those have been done in rodents.

Using CBD can cause adverse side effects such as nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and headaches.

Julia Davis

Mental health expert
MS, University of Latvia

I am deeply convinced that each patient needs a unique, individual approach. Therefore, I use different psychotherapy methods in my work. During my studies, I discovered an in-depth interest in people as a whole and the belief in the inseparability of mind and body, and the importance of emotional health in physical health. In my spare time, I enjoy reading (a big fan of thrillers) and going on hikes.

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