Some people go once a day, others maybe three times. Changes in bowel habits are relative to each individual. The irregularity of frequency, control, and the properties of bowel movements can all vary from person to person. Physicians say that going more than three days without having a bowel movement is too long, and normal movements should be relaxed and brown in color.
At times, bowel movements may change due to temporary infections or illnesses, but sometimes changes can signify a more severe underlying condition. If it’s been longer than three days without a movement, or you’ve had diarrhea for more than 24 hours, you should seek medical attention.
Often, the cause lies in contaminated food or water. Bacteria and viral infections can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. Stress, anxiety, or having an eating disorder also, could cause problems with going to the bathroom normally. Eating too much, or not enough, and eating the wrong things, especially at the wrong time, can contribute to the case of irregular movements as well.
Although painful and discomforting, these types of illnesses are generally temporary in nature. Chronic diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, and thyroid disorders, however, can affect regular bowel activity for long periods of time. This can lead to additional conditions developing and can reduce the overall quality of life of the individual.
There are various things that can go wrong within the GI tract. Whether you can’t go or you can’t stop going, there is a medication to help. Sometimes we need help “getting our stuff together”, in which physicians may recommend a bulk-forming laxative such as psyllium or inulin, which helps to form a soft stool, stimulating the intestinal muscles to naturally contract.
When we have our “stuff” together, but we have a hard to expelling it, doctors may prescribe stool softeners, lubricants, or hyperosmotic to help. Some clinicians may prefer to recommend an enema, which involves inserting a water or salt solution into the anus. This stimulates the intestines and induces an intense urgency to move the bowels.
While mostly safe when taken as directed, some laxatives can cause serious harm to intestinal muscles in the long term, as if taken in excess, especially if the patient is dehydrated. Abusing laxatives can lead to intestinal paralysis, cathartic colon, lazy gut, IBD, and pancreatitis. In severe cases, abuse can lead to complete dysfunction of the GI tract.
There has been much controversy about gastrointestinal health and chronic cannabis use ever since 2004 when a team of researchers out of Australia related several patient case studies of cyclical vomiting illness with chronic cannabis abuse. They called it Cannabinoid Hyperemesis.
While this condition is becoming well documented, it’s difficult to pinpoint the cause. It seems a bit counterintuitive seeming that research shows [cannabinoids] from medical marijuana can reduce inflammation in the gut, especially the compound [CBD]. It has also been known for a long time that cannabis can calm nausea and vomiting in small doses. Adding to the case, recent research out of Italy proves that the [endocannabinoid systems] plays an essential role in regulating GI tract function and motility.
So. We know that for some people, like those with Crohn’s disease, cannabis can greatly improve the quality of life through reducing inflammation, pain, and even the frequency and number of bowel movements.
We know that cannabis is a natural antiemetic, and much safer than traditional medication for nausea and vomiting. So what are the right questions to ask when considering if it’s correct to address bowel issues with cannabis medicines? In the 152nd. volume of British Journal of Pharmacology Dr. G. J. Sanger asks the same. Sanger says,
“Cannabinoid 1 receptor activation acts neuronally, reducing GI motility, diarrhea, pain, transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations and emesis, and promoting eating. CB-2 receptors activation is mostly via immune cells to reduce inflammation [in the GI tract].”
He goes on in his abstract, proposing tough questions, in a search for answers from his medical colleagues to the paradox of the endocannabinoid system’s effects on the gastrointestinal tract.
The paradox comes when we confront what we already know about cannabis with what we are beginning to learn. We know cannabis can help you have bowel movements, but we also know that it can help you reduce frequent bowel movements. We know that it can settle the stomach and digestion issues, but we also have documented cases of chronic cannabis users developing cyclical vomiting illness, specifically when they stop using cannabis. In rare cases, some people, in general, may have some type of allergic response to the compounds in cannabis.
There are no easy answers to this question. Considering the millions upon millions of cannabis users around the world, and its historical safety record, moderate cannabis use considered safe and effective for most people. However, larger clinical studies and a further scientific investigation is desperately needed to cultivate a better understanding of the medicinal potential of cannabis and to better inform patients and recreational cannabis users about the benefits, and the risks, associated with short and long-term use.
Consult with a physician and medical marijuana professional about using cannabis, and find linked below a list of strains that have been reported to help others with bowel issues. Also, follow the conditions links throughout this article to learn more about medical marijuana research into other gastrointestinal disorders and conditions.
· [[White Nightmare]]
· [[Critical Mass]]
· [[Sunshine Daydream]]
· [[Tangerine Dream]]