What are digestive disorders?

Digestive disorders are painful, chronic, and sometimes humiliating in their symptoms, but what is not often understood is that they are symptoms of something bigger, like an autoimmune disorder. The main iterations of digestive disorders include: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD); Gallstones; Celiac disease; Crohn's disease; Ulcerative Colitis; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Hemorrhoids; Diverticulitis

Symptoms include stomach bloat, diarrhea, painful gas, stomach pain, and cramps, all of which can vary in their severity. Plus, each symptom is associated with nearly every disorder on the list. Treatment includes a combination of medication and lifestyle changes, but only a doctor can diagnose a patient's disorder and identify the best course of therapy. In some cases, surgery is the only good option.

Here are the seven most prominent types of digestive disorders and what distinguishes them, either in cause or symptoms.

  1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is caused by stomach acid backing up into the esophagus.
  1. Gallstones can be caused by too much cholesterol or waste in your bile, or if your gallbladder doesn’t empty properly. Hard deposits form in your gallbladder and they must either be dissolved medically or removed surgically.
  1. Celiac disease causes aren't fully understood but its symptoms are exacerbated by gluten, which makes the patient's immune system go on the attack.
  1. Crohn's disease (inflammatory bowel disease), is an autoimmune disease. That means the immune system mistakenly attacks cells in the patient's body that it thinks are foreign invaders.
  1. Ulcerative Colitis occurs when the immune system mistakes food or other materials for invaders, sores or ulcers develop in the colon’s lining.
  1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome causes are widely unknown, but the symptoms range from constipation to diarrhea, to frequent changes in stool consistency. IBS can look a lot like some of the other disorders and syndromes on this list, which is why a definitive diagnosis is necessary.
  1. Diverticulitis is caused by obesity; it occurs when the diverticula (small pouches that form on weak spots in the digestive system) bleed or become inflamed. Symptoms include rectal bleeding, fever, and abdominal pain.

How does CBD help?

Most digestive disorders are tied to two things: the immune system and inflammation. So, we know that cannabis has the potential to help with autoimmune disorders because a University of South Carolina study revealed novel pathways through which THC can suppress the body’s immune function. That means an immune system that is attacking the regular duties of the patient's body will be quelled, giving that patient relief from their autoimmune disorder flare-ups. The USC study showed an enormous potential for the cannabinoid THC to ease the symptoms of autoimmune disorders having to do with the digestive tract, such as colitis. Plus, a 2011 study from the Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that 21 of 30 Crohn’s disease patients saw their symptoms significantly improve upon starting a medical CBD regimen. CBD, taken as an edible oil or a topical, can also ease the inflammation brought on by autoimmune disorders.


  1. Histone Modifications Are Associated with Delta (9)-tetrahydrocannabinol-Mediated Alterations in Antigen-Specific T Cell Responses
  1. Cannabis use amongst patients with inflammatory bowel disease
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