If you are suffering from Gastroparesis, learn more about your marijuana-related treatment options. Find out how CBD can be used to treat the symptoms of Gastroparesis. Patients hospitalized with gastroparesis who used cannabis had better clinical outcomes, such as a reduced length of hospital stay.
Gastroparesis and CBD
Vomiting, nausea and feeling full even if you’ve only eaten a little food may be signs that you suffer from a condition known as gastroparesis. This rare disorder prevents the stomach from emptying properly leading to a whole slew of gastrointestinal issues.
Symptoms of Gastroparesis
Doctors aren’t always sure what causes patients to develop gastroparesis. It’s believed that in most cases it’s caused by damage to the vagus nerve, which controls the movement of muscles in the stomach. It’s the vagus nerve’s responsibility to signal muscles to contract, pushing food into the small intestine. If the nerve is damaged, food stays in the stomach for longer than normal.
The most common ways patients develop an injury to the vagus leading to gastroparesis is by diseases, infection or surgery in this area of the body. Some symptoms that may develop in patients with gastroparesis include:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Feeling full too soon or lack of appetite
- Abdominal bloating and pain
- Changes in sugar levels
- Weight loss and malnutrition
Unfortunately, there is no cure for gastroparesis. Patients who suffer from this condition struggle with symptoms for years, and it can even be a lifetime ailment. The disorder can lead to other serious complications, including decreased quality of life. Although some medications do help mitigate symptoms, cannabidiol (CBD) could be the treatment that gastroparesis patients need.
How Gastroparesis Affects the Endocannabinoid System
Researchers have just recently discovered how influential the endocannabinoid system is to many bodily functions. It’s this system’s job to bring balance and equilibrium to the body. It does this through a series of receptors found throughout the body. The endocannabinoid system plays a role in sensations of pain, mood and even digestion.
Cannabinoid receptors found in the gastrointestinal system are called CB1 receptors, and they regulate many essential functions, including:
- Food intake
- Nausea and vomiting
- Motility, or the movement of food through the GI system
- Pain sensation within GI organs
- And more
Although the negative symptoms associated with gastroparesis are associated with the condition’s impact on the vagus nerve, the side effects could be exacerbated due to low levels of the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids and fewer active endocannabinoid receptors. This leads to increased levels of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
How CBD Regulates the Endocannabinoid System of Patients With Gastroparesis
Cannabis is an amazing plant, and its healing properties are undeniable. The cannabinoids contained within it mimic our body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids, which are essential to proper bodily homeostasis. CBD is a cannabinoid in marijuana that can be extracted and used medicinally. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another cannabinoid in cannabis, it has no psychoactive properties. This means CBD will not get users high.
CBD can be used to treat several different medical conditions effectively, including gastrointestinal disorders like gastroparesis. Since there is no cure for this condition, doctors attempt to manage its negative side effects using various treatment methods. CBD makes up for any cannabinoid deficiencies a patient may be experiencing due to their gastroparesis.
CBD binds to endocannabinoid receptors in the gastrointestinal system, which allows these types of medications to modulate nausea and vomiting and to act as an analgesic to any abdominal discomfort the patient may be experiencing.
Forms of CBD for Patients With Gastroparesis
Most patients with gastroparesis must visit a professional nutritionist to discuss diet changes. Although this helps, they also are prescribed a series of medications, including drugs to increase stomach motility and prevent vomiting and nausea. However, many of these drugs lose their effectiveness over time, and some can even cause serious side effects.
CBD meds are all-natural and don’t produce the high commonly associated with medical marijuana. Although further testing will prove the effectiveness of these holistic treatments, research has shown very mild side effects associated with CBD. And unlike other medications, CBD can tackle multiple symptoms related to gastrointestinal issues like gastroparesis.
CBD also comes in multiple forms, so patients can find something to suit their individual symptoms and lifestyle preferences. Some common types of CBD products include:
- CBD oil and tinctures
- Vaporizer products
The Best CBD Products for Patients With Gastroparesis
Though there are many kinds of CBD products on the market, not all of them may be appropriate for patients with gastroparesis. This condition makes ingesting food difficult, which means edible CBD products may be ineffective since it requires patients to eat CBD-infused foods and wait for the digestive process to send the meds into their bloodstream. Gastroparesis patients suffering from nausea and vomiting may not be able to do this.
Topicals are also ineffective for this condition, as they typically focus on external issues that can be treated by applying creams or ointments to the skin.
The best CBD products for gastroparesis patients are either tinctures or vaporizers. Tinctures can be placed under the tongue and are absorbed into the bloodstream, and vaping CBD allows patients to inhale the beneficial medications. Both methods are quick and effective.
Learn More About CBD and Gastroparesis at MarijuanaDoctors.com
CBD is still federally banned because it is derived from the marijuana plant. However, you can make an appointment with a marijuana doctor in your state to discuss CBD medications and receive a recommendation for your state’s medical marijuana program.
Learn More About Gastroparesis
Learn more about Gastroparesis and what makes medical marijuana an effective treatment for Gastroparesis’s symptoms.
Cannabis Use Disorder in Patients With Gastroparesis Associated With Better Hospitalization Outcomes
Patients with gastroparesis and a history of cannabis use disorder have a lower income and are younger but also have generally better clinical and health care-associated outcomes than those without cannabis use disorder, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.
Investigators assessed comorbid conditions and demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related outcomes of patients hospitalized for gastroparesis with and without a history of cannabis use disorder. Data were obtained from the US National Inpatient Sample (NIS) for admissions regarding gastroparesis diagnosis from 2008 to 2014.
Patients with a diagnosis of gastroparesis were identified based on International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) and were then classified by whether they had a history of cannabis use disorder with ICD-9-CM codes.
Researchers identified a total of 1,473,363 patients (aged ≥18 years) with gastroparesis, including 33,085 (2.25%) with a history of cannabis use disorder and 1,440,278 (97.75%) without. Of these patients, 112,091 had a principal discharge diagnosis of gastroparesis.
Logistic regression analysis controlling for multiple factors showed that routine discharge to home occurred more frequently for patients with gastroparesis and cannabis use disorder (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.24; 95% CI, 1.20-1.28; P <.001), with decreased length of hospital stay (aOR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.34-0.39; P <.001), and reduced in-hospital mortality (aOR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.34-0.39; P <.001).
Participants with gastroparesis and cannabis use disorder had a higher proportion of alcohol use disorder, depression, and psychoses.
The researchers noted that it was not possible to analyze information regarding longer-term outcomes that could significantly affect admission patterns, socioeconomic status, or health-related outcomes. Other study limitations included the potential for ICD-9-CM coding bias and the inability to generalize the results to an outpatient setting.
“Further study into qualitative and longitudinal outcomes of patients with cannabis use disorder who are discharged following hospitalization for gastroparesis would help better shine a light on this worsening issue,” the researchers wrote.
Disclosure: Some of the study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.