Can Cannabis Help Treat Acid Reflux (Heartburn)?
Can medical marijuana help calm acid relflux or heartburn in patients?
Can Cannabis Treat Acid Reflux?
Eating is one of the most enjoyable experiences. After all, it is hard to live without food as it is but hanging with friends and eating together is one of the most common social things to do. Nothing is more irritating though if you suffer from acid reflux. It could be something that you eat or drink that causes this irritable situation and it surely causes frustration. Often, people fall back on over-the-counter medication to bring relief. The good news is that cannabis could come to the aid too.
Why do we get acid reflux?
Acid reflux happens when the contents from the stomach move up into the esophagus. Another name for it is acid regurgitation or gastroesophageal reflux. When it occurs more than twice a week, it is seen as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. If left untreated, it could cause serious complications.
It causes an uncomfortable burning feeling in the chest, which sometimes runs up to the throat. This is commonly known as heartburn. When you suffer from acid reflux, a sour or bitter taste at the back of your throat is constantly present. Sometimes, food or liquid could also regurgitate from the stomach into the mouth. In severe cases, GERD could cause difficulty swallowing. It also can lead to breathing problems, like chronic cough or asthma.
The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a circular band of muscle at the end of the esophagus that relaxes and opens when you swallow. It closes again afterward to avoid food from pushing back. When it does not close properly after swallowing, digestive juices and other food content, move back up into the esophagus.
Things that trigger Acid Reflux
When the upper part of the stomach and lower esophageal sphincter move above the diaphragm, you are diagnosed with GERD or acid reflux. Some people are born with a hiatal hernia, harmful digestive acids move up into the esophagus and cause acid reflux. Other risk factors also play a role. They are:
Eating a large meal and lie then on your back, or bend over
Snacking right before bedtime
Obese or overweight
Eating foods like tomatoes, mint, chocolates, coffee, onions, garlic, spicy food, and fatty food
Carbonated drinks, coffee, tea, or alcohol
Taking certain medication like ibuprofen, blood pressure medications, aspirin, or certain muscle relaxers
When you experience acid reflux, you might have the following symptoms:
Burping and persistent hiccups
A sour or bitter taste in the mouth
Bloating or nausea
Blood or black stools
Dysphagia – a sensation of food stuck in your throat
Dry cough, hoarseness, wheezing, or a chronic sore throat
Why Medical Marijuana is a good alternative to treat Acid Reflux
Cannabis is found to be effective in treating an array of gastrointestinal system disorders. Good health starts in the gut and cannabis is contributing to a healthy gut because it acts more as a dietary supplement than a drug. The cannabinoids in marijuana are similar to the chemical compounds produced by the endocannabinoid system. Various bodily functions are regulated by the endocannabinoid system. The gastrointestinal tract forms part of these systems. Several roles in the GI tract are regulated by the endocannabinoid system. This includes the following:
Reducing acid reflux-related inflammation
Reducing stomach acid secretion
Increasing pain threshold
Affecting esophageal relaxation
The gut has many CB1 and CB2 receptors and the digestive system naturally attracts endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, enter the body through these receptors in the gut and send signals to the brain to regulate the different systems. It acts as an anti-inflammatory.
How does it work?
Medical cannabis is a safer alternative than antacids for treating symptoms related to acid reflux. Its properties can relieve pain and improve acid reflux. It is harmful to take antacids over a long period. Some of the symptoms treatable by cannabis for acid reflux are:
Burning or discomfort of the upper abdomen – Chronic acid causes a burning sensation in the chest and upper stomach, and into the throat. Cannabis is effective in treating these sensations
Nausea – those suffering from acid reflux often also suffer from nausea. Cannabis is able to relieve nausea
Inflammation – Direct esophagus damage is not caused by acids, but rather by the secretion of cytokines. This is a type of protein that creates an inflammatory response in the esophagus. This inflammation causes damage
Stress and anxiety – medical cannabis could treat other factors that trigger acid reflux like stress and anxiety. Cannabis effectively treats anxiety and stress-related conditions that ultimately would reduce acid reflux
Cannabis is effective for many disorders and diseases. It is much safer than traditional medications. Some cannabis smokers experience acid reflux and think it is caused by the weed. But the plant itself can not cause acid reflux problems. It is rather snacking due to the munchies that would induce acid reflux. Healthier snacks are advisable.
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Medical cannabis is a safer alternative than antacids for treating symptoms related to acid reflux. Its properties can relieve pain and improve acid…