Backed up; clogged pipes; no matter how you word it, being constipated is as uncomfortable to talk about as it is to experience. The list of reasons it can happen is vast and the possible victims are, well, everyone. One treatment won’t be right for everyone, and it may take some trial and effort to find the right one.
Whether you’re new to the troublesome condition or it’s a chronic problem, we offer you a new approach to dealing with it: CBD. CBD and constipation are two terms that you might expect to see on opposite ends of a medical magazine. Brought together, they can offer some surprisingly relieving effects.
We’ll take a look at some obvious, shocking, and downright uncomfortable reasons why constipation occurs, and the potential for CBD to come to the rescue.
What Causes Constipation?
Constipation is a common condition consisting of irregular/infrequent bowel movements. Infrequent bowel movements can cause pain in the abdomen as bodily waste builds and sits in the bowels, unable to pass through.
Like we said, dirty and uncomfortable, but nonetheless a likely part of the human experience. Constipation can occur as a result of many influences such as poor diet, lack of fiber, stress, inactivity, or other underlying diseases.
Constipation is a symptom, not a diagnosis. Since there is such a range of reasons why someone would experience constipation, it seems fitting there would be a range of treatments.
While over-the-counter medicines exist to work against occasional constipation, some people might prefer to avoid using laxatives. Laxatives, or stool-softeners, might help move things along. Sometimes, it can lead to moving on too quickly resulting in (arguably) even more distressing diarrhea.
Sometimes, laxatives can also end up backing you up even more. At face value, they’re harmless, omnipresent as somewhat of an in-case-of-emergency medicine cabinet staple that’s constantly pushed out of sight. Sometimes they save the day. Sometimes they pose a real threat.
In an effort to keep things moving and aggressively ward off weight, some people reach for laxatives. This is not only dangerous in the short term, but extensive use of laxatives can cause dehydration in the body and perpetuate the problem.
Easing one symptom shouldn’t come at the expense of inviting another. There are much more natural and effective ways to encourage bowel movements.
Might we suggest CBD?
Why Our Bodies Want Cannabis
Quick relief from anything is hard to come by, but the right supplement can put an action in motion by alerting your body to what it needs to do. CBD is known for its potency in the body as a chief navigator of the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a role in several functions of the body. It’s believed to have bearing on our emotional state, our levels of hunger, our response to pain, and is present predominantly in the brain and nervous system.
This multi-functional, cannabinoid-based system is so powerful because of its network of receptors. The CB1 and CB2 receptors that make up the ECS are not only found in the brain, but in every organ system in the human body.
The digestive system plays a vital role in our health. The gut is at our core, both literally and figuratively. In order to sustain life, we must eat food and drink water. After it goes in our mouths, it stops by the gut.
If the gut is upset, things don’t go as planned and the rest of the body suffers. Bowel blockage can set a ripple upset through the rest of the body.
CBD and Constipation
The interconnectivity of our organs helps to keep everything in balance. When the balance is off, it isn’t always easy to find the source, even if it seems to be just constipation.
Using CBD can help to alleviate symptoms and set things back on track. So far, the FDA doesn’t officially recognize it as a treatment for anything save seizures, but people are quietly turning to it as a home remedy.
At its core, CBD calms. The ECS receptors work against the fight-or-flight responses of stress and anxiety, prompting a sense of ease and quiet. They also work against inflammation, providing relief for those even with chronic pain.
The connection of CBD and constipation lies here. Something as simple as stress can make for a troubled gut. As CBD travels around the body, it can quiet the mind and release the muscles from too much tension. Just like it quiets the mind from choosing fight-or-flight responses, it tells pain messages to be at ease.
CBD, the Soothsayer
As mentioned earlier, constipation is not a sickness so much as it is a symptom. There is usually something larger at work. CBD has offered mounting evidence of its effects against inflammation of all sorts.
When it comes to the bowel, CBD has been considered exceptionally beneficial of late. People who suffer from ulcerative colitis–a chronic inflammation of the digestive-tract–are turning to CBD for relief. Some studies suggest that a lack of cannabinoids in the body could cause such inflammation.
It’s still not clear if a lack of CBD causes inflammation, but reports allude that it can ease it.
CBD has also shown signs of improving symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The syndrome can mark episodes of both diarrhea and constipation. Introducing CBD can allow for a relaxation of the inflammation and a relieving pass of the intestinal blockage.
The Entourage Effect
Movement of the colonic muscles could also be promoted by a combination of CBD and its psychoactive sister, THC. Though THC isn’t legal country-wide (yet), full-spectrum CBD could deliver just enough to experience the effects.
Legally, CBD has to be drawn from the hemp plant. The hemp plant is classified as a member of the cannabis family that produces THC in concentrations only as high as 0.3%. In these low doses, your body receives just enough to reap the therapeutic benefits without inducing a high.
In Opposition of Antidepressants
The link between your feelings and your bowels may seem like a stretch, but the interconnections on our bodies elude that there may be a strong connection. Stress can wreak inexplicable havoc on the body.
It’s for stress, too, that CBD can come in handy. Having knots in your stomach is a real thing. Allowing CBD to calm the nerves could bring you a step closer to relieving constipation.
A study on lab mice showed that obsessive-compulsive behavior, displayed through the burying of marbles, was reduced in mice treated with CBD. Mice that were given selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, SSRIs or antidepressants, also showed decreased compulsion to engage in the activity.
SSRI treatment over the course of the next week showed weakened effects. CBD’s effects showed no such sign of degradation.
Creating a happy gut is all part of promoting smooth bowel movements. Providing the endocannabinoid system with the relaxing effects of CBD could be one promising step for dealing with the discomfort of constipation.