The role medical cannabis plays in treating diverticulitis
What do abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and inflammation have in common? They’re all symptoms of diverticulitis, which is a painful medical condition that mostly affects people over the age of 50. As people age, they’re more likely to develop diverticulitis. Specifically, women aged 50 and above are more likely than men to develop diverticulitis. However, men younger than 50 years old are more likely to develop diverticulitis than women.
Although there are different diverticulitis treatment methods available, many contain their own list of adverse side effects. For this reason alone, more people are turning towards cannabis due to its safety and effectiveness. Read on to find out more about diverticulitis and how cannabis can help treat this condition.
To understand diverticulitis, it’s important to first understand what diverticula are. Diverticula are small yet bulging pouches, which form within the body’s digestive system lining. These diverticula pouches are generally located within the body’s colon/lower part of the large intestine. Diverticula are relatively common, especially if you’re at least 40 years old. Although these pouches don’t usually cause serious problems, if they get inflamed and/or infected, the diagnosis is known as diverticulitis.
In addition, diverticulitis can cause individuals to feel nauseous and experience severe abdominal pain alongside a fever and/or an obvious change in bowel patterns. Normally, if diverticulitis is categorized as mild, the main treatment options consist of diet changes, rest, and sometimes antibiotics. However, if diverticulitis is categorized as severe and/or recurring, surgery may be needed.
For years, researchers have been trying to pinpoint the cause of diverticulitis. So far, certain studies indicate that some people are more prone to having diverticulitis due to their genetic makeup. However, other research findings indicate that links have been made between diverticular disease-causing issues and the following factors: lack of exercise, consumption of specific medications including steroids and NSAIDs, smoking, obesity, alcohol consumption, low-fiber diets, and a suppressed immune system.
It’s possible for diverticulitis to begin with trapped stool or bacteria stored in a pouch within the body’s colon. Normally, diverticulitis occurs because of an increase in unhealthy bacteria and a decrease in healthy bacteria within the body’s colon. If you’re diagnosed with diverticulitis, you’ll most likely experience inflammation and/or a diverticula infection.
Diverticulitis symptoms and treatment options
In most cases, the inflamed pouches caused by diverticulitis cause pain in the lower left side of the abdomen. Alongside pain and inflammation, diverticulitis delivers other symptoms including chills, fevers, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and/or vomiting. It’s also possible for diverticulitis patients to experience a change in mental health. Each year, roughly 200,000 Americans are hospitalized for this condition, which demonstrates how severe diverticulitis can be.
Moreover, diverticulitis treatment methods depend on the severity of the patient’s condition. Sometimes, antibiotics and pain medications are prescribed. However, some diverticulitis patients may need surgery and/or heat treatments in addition to diet changes. To avoid negative side effects caused by antibiotics and other medications, many diverticulitis patients are turning towards cannabis instead.
Cannabis as a diverticulitis treatment method
Overall, cannabis can help treat diverticulitis and its symptoms thanks to the plant’s content and the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS works to trigger numerous biochemical interactions via different signal messages. Several of the interactions that get triggered occur between the body’s immune system, gut, and brain. In general, cannabinoid receptors are located within the body’s gastrointestinal tract, and recently, it was discovered that CB2 receptors increase in damaged and/or ill intestines. Therefore, this indicates that cannabinoid consumption could be useful for those experiencing gastrointestinal disease including diverticulitis.
On the same note, diverticulitis symptoms like nausea, vomiting, inflammation, and pain can be treated with cannabis. Since cannabis contains analgesic properties, it can deliver abdominal pain-relief in diverticulitis patients. Additionally, one powerful cannabinoid, Cannabidiol contains anti-inflammatory properties, which can deliver anti-inflammatory relief to those with diverticulitis.