Nov 14, 2016 12:05 PM

Pros and Cons of Consuming Marijuana for Our Digestive System

Cannabis can be used for both recreational and medical purposes. However, whatever our goal is, it is important to know how the herb affects our body. This is especially important when it comes to our digestive system, as cannabis has lots of features that can serve you well or, vice versa, impair your health.

Pro and Con: Munchies

Yes, one of the effects of cannabis that is known as munchies can be a good thing and a bad thing. Tetrahydrocannabinol stimulates the production of ghrelin, a hormone that makes us feel hungry. Apart from that, THC also stimulates dopamine production. It is a hormone that makes us feel satisfied and happy. When combined, they cause an inexpugnable desire to eat anything you can find in your fridge and unbelievable pleasure from eating it.

If you have problems with maintaining appetite or struggle with wasting syndrome (usually caused by illnesses like HIV/AIDS or cancer), munchies can really help you. However, if you do not have any problems with appetite or if you have eating disorders like bulimia or compulsive overeating, you need to be more careful with this cannabis effect. As an option, you can make sure you have only healthy food in your house.

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Pro: Calming nausea and vomiting

This effect of THC is probably one of the most famous among medical cannabis users. It comes in handy for treating lots of illnesses and syndromes, including problems with the stomach associated with chemotherapy.

THC interacts with the cannabinoid system of a patient and affects the central nervous system, calming the centers responsible for nausea and vomiting.

Pro: Reducing intestinal inflammation

While the effect of cannabis on the stomach is a bit equivocal, the studies show that the herb definitely has a positive influence on the intestine. It can relieve intestinal cramps, reduce diarrhea, as well as cause the remission of Crohn's disease.

This therapeutic feature can also be beneficial for patients who suffer from celiac disease (when ingesting gluten leads to damage to the intestine) or irritable bowel syndrome. Cannabinoids can increase nutrients absorption, healing wounds inside the intestine, which prompts patients to gain weight.

This feature of cannabis can be really helpful for patients who cannot get enough nutrients from food due to damages to the intestine and as a result lose weight too quickly. A study conducted in Israel found that three months of cannabis consumption could drastically change the state of such patients towards recovery.

Con: Slowing down gut motility

While cannabis can really help you if you have diarrhea, it can worsen the situation if you have constipation. The thing is, one of the properties of THC is slightly slowing your gut motility. You may not notice it if you are an occasional consumer or if you consume cannabis in small doses, but regular heavy users know the problem.

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Gastritis is an inflammation condition associated with many things going on in the body. When your stomach lining is inflamed, it is a sure sign of gastritis.

Con: Reducing stomach acid

This aspect requires more research, but some studies show that when THC activates the CB1 receptors, it may result in the inhibition of gastric acid secretion. We need gastric acid to digest food and allow our cells to get all the benefits from nutrients. The less gastric acid you have, the fewer nutrients you will absorb from your food, which, of course, does not sound so good. Maybe, this property of cannabis can be used for treating excess stomach acid production, but this fact also requires more investigation.

Con: Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) was officially recognized relatively recently, but it has already scared a whole lot of users. The thing is, no one actually knows why it occurs, what causes it, whether it can affect anyone or is triggered by some special factors.

The only thing that is known for sure is that CHS happens only to those users who consume cannabis heavily for at least three years. However, there are lots of regular users who never experience any of the CHS symptoms. And the symptoms are not fun: people with CHS get abdominal pain, compulsive bathing, and uncontrollable cyclic vomiting.

Despite the anti-emetic properties of cannabis, in some rare cases, the herb seems to have the opposite effect on the central nervous system. One of the hypotheses states that CHS may occur due to the problems with digestion in the intestine; however, there is still no solid data on this syndrome.

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The effect of cannabis on our health

As you can see, cannabis can be both helpful and harmful for our health in general and the digestive system in particular. Just like any other medicine, it should be consumed wisely and carefully. You can avoid lots of problems if you use legal organic herb and pay special attention to the effects (both positive and negative) of the strain you choose.

There are lots of question left yet unanswered about the effects of cannabis, as well as lots of questions about our own digestive system. We house millions, trillions of microflora in our body, and they should be thoroughly studied to understand how everything actually works when it comes to some digestion issues. So the only thing left to do is be smart and try to use cannabis for the good of your body.

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