The word ulcer is always associated with gnawing pain that sometimes can be unbearable to deal with. With marijuana (cannabis) so widely being accepted for treating all sorts of medical conditions, it is almost natural to look at Cannabis and Ulcers. But let us first understand what ulcers are.
What are ulcers?
Stomach ulcers or gastric ulcers are sores in the stomach line. It is a type of peptic ulcer and can also manifest in the small intestines. A peptic ulcer is a disease that is acidic and therefore very painful. Most ulcers are found in the first layer of the inner lining. When they go deeper through the stomach or duodenum, it is called a perforation and becomes a medical emergency.
What causes ulcers?
There are quite a few things that can cause ulcers. People who drink or smoke too much are at risk. If a person takes too often Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Naproxen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs they are also at high risk. It is also believed that stress may cause ulcers, but it refers to highly stressful situations.
A major factor of ulcers is chronic inflammation because of the presence of the bacterium Helicobacter Pylori that habitats in the antral mucosa. The immune system has a hard time to get rid of this bacterium and it can then cause a chronic active gastritis.
Marijuana and ulcers — treatment and effect
Patients suffering from severe pain, appetite loss and nausea could find a broad-spectrum relief from cannabis in treating the ulcer. Medical marijuana is helpful to treat a variety of symptoms and diseases with regards to gastrointestinal disorders.
How does it work?
The active compounds of cannabinoids impact the cells in the body through the endocannabinoid system. About 80% of the immune system is found in the GI Tract. There are also cannabinoid receptors in the GI tract and the ECS plays a major role in the gastrointestinal system. It includes the following:
- Regulate stomach acid
- Visceral sensation ( perceive bodily organs)
- Move food through and out through a bowel movement
- Satiety (feeling full)
Both CB1 and CB2 receptors are present in the gut where CB1 receptors are active on nerves that connect the gut to the brain. CB2 receptors increase when the gut is inflamed and are more common in the immune system.
Treatment of ulcers
There are at present no clinical studies on medical marijuana and ulcers, but THC and other compounds that bind to the CB1 receptors inhibit the gastric acid production in humans and prevention of ulcers in animals.
According to ongoing research proves that the body’s own cannabinoids known as anandamides affect the neurological systems that control the GI system. Internal and external cannabinoids control gastrointestinal motility and inflammation. It also decreases inflammation and gastrointestinal fluid secretion.
The cannabinoids in marijuana bind with the cannabinoid receptors in the GI tract and cause muscle relaxation, analgesia, reduction of inflammation, increased nerve-muscle coordination and relief of spasms.
From the explanation above, Marijuana and ulcers could form a very effective relationship in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. As more focus is placed on the exact role cannabis play, more and more people could turn away from ulcer medications with harmful side-effects.