Updated on May 21, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
For many years, healthcare specialists have been treating gastritis with medicines, such as protein pump inhibitors and H2 antagonists, to reduce the amount of the acid the stomach produces. However, some people experience side effects from these medicines.
Fortunately, cannabis has been used to help treat medication side effects as well as treat gastritis symptoms. Researchers are studying how well medical marijuana treatment for acute gastritis works for easing pain, inflammation and other symptoms of the condition.
How/Why Marijuana Can Be an Effective Treatment for Acute Gastritis
People have cannabinoid receptors both in their gut and brain. It’s thought they’re an essential part of the healing process of a gut that’s damaged. Studies show cannabinoids heal stomach inflammation and slow gut motility, which reduces muscle cramp pain that leads to diarrhea.
Medical marijuana for acute gastritis has been shown to relieve acute gastritis-related pain in patients. Medical weed improves the appetite in patients and eases their pains, aches and stress associated with their condition.
Cannabis also doesn’t pose a risk of addiction like other conventional medications. However, depending on dosage and strain, some patients experience slowed reaction times, paranoia, dry mouth, red eyes, increased heart rate and drowsiness as some of the side effects of marijuana.
What Side Effects and Symptoms of Acute Gastritis Can Medical Marijuana Treat?
Common acute gastritis symptoms that cannabis for acute gastritis treatment helps with include:
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
Some ways it helps these and other symptoms include:
- Nausea: Inflammation in the gut in acute gastritis is what causes nausea, and this prevents normal digestive system functioning. Small doses of medical weed used regularly can help eliminate nausea.
- Vomiting: The feeling of nausea is what usually causes the vomiting. However, vomiting may also occur due to indigestion. You can use cannabis for acute gastritis to stop nausea and help improve digestion and other bodily functions — which can prevent vomiting.
- Weight Loss:Weight loss occurs quickly in acute gastritis because the person affected isn’t able to eat properly due to their nausea. Even when they’re able to consume some food, they end up vomiting it out. So, when you use medical pot, it helps nausea and vomiting, which, in turn, helps prevent weight loss. Also, since marijuana is associated with “the munchies” and often causes people to eat more, it helps with weight gain.
- Abdominal pain: Medical cannabis is an effective pain reliever and often used in various disorders where chronic pain is a symptom. Therefore, doctors also recommend it for the pain caused by acute gastritis. The herb interrupts the pain pathway, relieving the pain sensation.
- Diarrhea: Diarrhea is another common issue in those struggling with acute gastritis. Consuming foods can lead to ingestion of particular microorganisms that may bring on bouts of diarrhea. Using marijuana for acute gastritis acts like a bactericidal drug, killing the numerous diarrhea-causing microorganisms.
Using small doses of medical cannabis regularly can help eliminate acute gastritis. However, you need to choose the right strains to relieve your symptoms optimally and keep in mind that medical marijuana is not without side effects if it’s misused. If you dose incorrectly, you could develop certain side effects, as described above.
Best Strains of Marijuana to Use for Symptoms of Acute Gastritis
Some medical cannabis for acute gastritis strains to try are:
- Strawberry Haze
- Super Lemon Haze
You may also try other strains for more specific symptoms like inflammation, nausea, appetite, pain or anxiety and depression, such as these options:
- Super Lemon Haze (Hybrid)
- Northern Lights (Indica)
- Lavender (Hybrid)
- White Fire OG (Hybrid)
- ACDC (Hybrid)
- Blackberry Kush (Indica)
- Remedy (Indica)
- CBD Shark (Hybrid)
- Blue Haze (Hybrid)
- Green Crack (Sativa)
- Jack Herer (Sativa)
- Harlequin (Sativa)
- White Diesel (Hybrid)
- Fruit Loops (Hybrid)
- Orange Kush (Hybrid)
- Pineapple Express (Hybrid)
Best Methods of Marijuana Consumption to Use for Side Effects and Symptoms of Acute Gastritis
There’s a best delivery method for using marijuana and acute gastritis treatment for each person, including those who are looking for a bit of discretion. Cannabis ingestion methods generally fall under a few broader categories: oral methods, inhalation and topical.
Methods of use may include:
- Raw cannabis
- Juicing cannabis
Smoking may not be the best method for you if you have respiratory conditions, like asthma or COPD.
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What Is Acute Gastritis?
Acute gastritis is where you experience sudden swelling or inflammation in your stomach lining. It can cause nagging, severe pain. This pain, however, is temporary and typically only lasts for brief periods of time. Gastritis is acute when it’s short-lived, but it can become chronic.
Gastritis is not the same as gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis affects both your intestines and stomach, causing symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Gastritis affects your stomach only and could cause symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
Causes of Acute Gastritis
Acute gastritis can occur when your stomach lining is weak or damaged. When you have a weak or damaged stomach lining, it allows your digestive acids to aggravate your stomach.
Acute gastritis appears suddenly and has several causes, including:
- Bacteria (i.e., H. pylori)
H. pylori bacteria may infect your stomach and lead to peptic ulcers. While it’s not known how H. pylori spreads, it may lead to loss of appetite, stomach inflammation, abdominal pain, nausea and more.
Or, gastritis can occur by ingesting irritants like:
- Spicy food
Other less common causes of acute gastritis include:
- Extreme stress
- Viral infections
- Cocaine use
- Bile reflux
- Autoimmune disorders
- Digestive disorders and diseases like Crohn’s disease
- Kidney failure
- Ingesting poison and other corrosive substances
- Being on a respirator or breathing machine
- Systemic stress
Symptoms of Acute Gastritis
Individuals may experience symptoms with gastritis uniquely. Some may have no symptoms at all. The most common acute gastritis symptoms are:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal bloating
- Recurrent upset stomach
- Gnawing or burning feeling in your stomach at night or between meals
- Loss of appetite
- Tarry, black stools
- Vomiting a coffee ground-like substance or blood
Physical Effects of Acute Gastritis
Some physical effects of acute gastritis often include:
- Atrophic gastritis: Atrophic gastritis occurs when chronic stomach lining inflammation causes the loss of your glands or stomach lining. Chronic gastritis may lead to atrophic gastritis.
- Pernicious anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency: Those with autoimmune atrophic gastritis don’t produce sufficient intrinsic factor. This is a protein your stomach makes, and it helps your intestines absorb vitamin B12. Your body requires vitamin B12 to produce nerve cells and red blood cells. When you have poor vitamin B12 absorption, it can result in a type of anemia.
- Peptic ulcers: These are sores that involve your duodenum (first part of your small intestine) or stomach lining. H. pylori gastritis and NSAID use increase your risk of developing peptic ulcers.
- Anemia: Chronic stomach bleeding can result from erosive gastritis, and the loss of blood can cause anemia. Anemia is a disorder where you have smaller-than-normal or fewer red blood cells, so the rest of your body’s cells can’t obtain enough oxygen. Hemoglobin is in your red blood cells. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that gives your blood its red color and helps your red blood cells carry oxygen to your body tissue from the lungs. Some research suggests autoimmune atrophic gastritis and H. pylori gastritis may interfere in how your body absorbs iron from food, which can lead to anemia, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
- Growths in the stomach lining: When you have chronic gastritis, it can increase your risk of developing noncancerous (benign) and cancerous (malignant) growths in the lining of your stomach. Chronic H. pylori gastritis increases your risk of developing gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma — a type of cancer.
In many instances, acute gastritis doesn’t lead to many complications. However, it can, in rare cases, cause life-threatening, severe bleeding.
Mental Effects of Acute Gastritis
Gastritis patients have a higher risk for anxiety and mood disorders, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. After accounting for gender, age and socioeconomic status in the study, the researchers found that those with gastritis had a higher risk than the general population in the previous 12 months, to have had any:
- Anxiety disorder
- Social phobia
- Panic attacks
- Major depression
- Mood disorder
There was a stronger link between anxiety and mood disorder and gastritis in men than in women, even though it wasn’t a significant difference.
Acute Gastritis Statistics
Past statistics show the gastritis prevalence rate of gastritis was around 2.7 million individuals or one in 100 (0.99%) in the U.S.
Acute Gastritis History
Georg Ernst Stahl, a German physician, first used the term “gastritis” in 1728. Giovanni Battista Morgagni, an Italian anatomical pathologist, further described the gastric inflammation characteristics. He described the characteristics of ulcerative or erosive gastritis.
Between the years 1808 and 1831, François-Joseph-Victor Broussais, a French physician, collected data from an autopsy of deceased French soldiers. He noted chronic gastritis to be “Gastritide” and mistakenly believed gastritis was the cause of typhoid fever, ascites, and meningitis.
Wilson Fox and Charles Handfield described microscopic changes to the stomach’s inner lining with gastritis in 1854, which existed in segmental and diffuse forms. In 1859, William Brinton, a British physician, first described chronic, acute and subacute gastritis.
Current Treatments Available for Acute Gastritis and Their Side Effects
Some acute gastritis cases disappear without requiring treatment, and consuming a bland diet can help with a speedier recovery. Acute gastritis patients tend to tolerate foods best that are:
- Low in fat
- Low in natural acids
- High in fiber
Also, if you can tolerate it, physicians suggest adding lean meats like turkey or chicken breast to your diet.
Many individuals require treatment for acute gastritis, though. Both treatment and recovery times vary depending on what’s causing gastritis and its severity. For instance, H. pylori infections might require a couple of rounds of antibiotics. Other treatments may involve medications for reducing symptoms, like those that treat viruses.
Treatment options may include the following:
1. Home Remedies
Making some lifestyle changes could help reduce your symptoms of acute gastritis. Some lifestyle changes that could help are:
- Avoiding fried, spicy and acidic foods
- Limiting or avoiding alcohol
- Reducing stress
- Eating small, frequent meals
- Avoiding medications, like aspirin and NSAIDs, that might aggravate your stomach lining
There are both over-the-counter and prescription medicines for gastritis. Often, your doctor will recommend a combination of drugs, including the following:
These include TUMS®, Pepto-Bismol or milk of magnesia. They work by neutralizing your stomach acid. Those with gastritis often try these to find relief. Some brands even use a combination of three basic salts: aluminum, calcium, and magnesium, along with bicarbonate ions or hydroxide to neutralize stomach acid.
There are various side effects that are possible when taking antacids, however, including the following:
- Antacids might cause milk-alkali syndrome and dose-dependent rebound hyperacidity.
- Antacids containing aluminum hydroxide could cause constipation, osteomalacia, aluminum-intoxication, and hypophosphatemia.
- Antacids containing calcium carbonate may also cause constipation.
- Antacids containing magnesium could cause a laxative effect, leading to diarrhea.
H2 antagonists like cimetidine (Tagamet) and famotidine (Pepcid) reduce stomach acid production.
Side effects of H2 antagonists include:
- Dry skin
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty sleeping
- Ringing in the ears
- A runny nose
Proton Pump Inhibitors
These include esomeprazole (Nexium) and omeprazole (Prilosec), and they inhibit stomach acid production.
Side effects of proton pump inhibitors include:
- Abdominal pain
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Some physicians may suggest NSAIDs for the treatment of acute gastritis in some patients.
Side effects of NSAIDs may include:
- Stomach pain
- Stomach ulcers
- Liver problems
- Kidney problems
- Ear ringing
Current prescribed inflammatory medications for treating acute gastritis can pose long-term use problems.
Your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics if you have a bacterial infection, such as from H. pylori. Some antibiotics commonly used for treating H. pylori are tetracycline, amoxicillin, and clarithromycin. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics in combination with an antacid, proton pump inhibitor or H2 antagonist.
Side effects of antibiotics include:
- Stomach pain
- Vaginal discharge or itching
- Black, swollen or “hairy” tongue
- Becoming antibiotic resistant
Your doctor might suggest you stop taking any corticosteroids or NSAIDS to see if your symptoms get better. Don’t stop taking any prescription drugs without consulting with your doctor first, though.
Recent Developments in Acute Gastritis
Some recent acute gastritis developments include new clinical trials and studies such as:
- A clinical trial for Teprenone (a gastric mucosal protective drug) safety and efficacy in acute gastritis patients.
- A study evaluating DA-5204 (a new formulation for the gastritis medication Stillen) safety and efficacy.
There have also been other trials and studies to show the safety and efficacy of certain medications and treatments for acute gastritis.
Medical marijuana for acute gastritis has been shown to relieve acute gastritis-related pain in patients as well as several other symptoms and side-effects