Gastrointestinal issues are quite common these days, as not everyone can stay on top of their diet. Moreover, heartburn is something everyone has experienced at least once, especially after having a large meal. However, in case heavier meals, smoking, and weight issues are a staple in our lives, we may be dealing with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Luckily, it seems that it might be possible to use CBD for acid reflux and finally get some relief.
What Is Acid Reflux?
In layman’s terms, acid reflux is the backflow of stomach acid from the stomach all the way up to the esophagus. It is the burning sensation we feel in the throat that sometimes even seems as if we’re having a heart attack. In reality, it is a sign that the lower esophageal sphincter hasn’t closed. Because of that, the stomach acid can move up to our esophagus, causing heartburn (burning chest discomfort).
There probably isn’t a person in the world that hasn’t had heartburn before, as it’s often triggered by acid reflux food. Coincidentally, these are loved by many of us: coffee, chocolate, fatty or fried food, spicy food, alcohol, citrus fruits, etc.
But the list of potential causes doesn’t end there. Acid reflux is quite common among smokers and pregnant women, and it can occur in the case of some stomach abnormalities, too (like hiatal hernia). Of course, obesity or being overweight may also trigger it, and so can late-night snacking or eating heavier meals and then immediately lying down.
Some medications could also be the root cause. Ibuprofen and aspirin, some blood pressure meds, and certain muscle relaxers may make heartburn a common occurrence. In some patients, stress, and anxiety also play a role in triggering it.
Symptoms and Prevention
The main symptoms of acid reflux are burning in the chest and a sour taste left in the mouth. Some people may also experience a recurring cough or hiccups and talk with a hoarse voice. In addition, they may have bad breath and feel rather bloated or maybe even sick.
As far as prevention goes, it’s really simple and consists of making healthier choices:
- Try to eat smaller meals.
- Consider losing weight since that is one of the causes.
- Keep anxiety and stress at a minimum.
- Avoid acid reflux foods, eating just before bedtime, and taking in too much alcohol.
- Stop smoking.
- Don’t wear too tight clothing.
Those who often suffer from acid reflux should also consider raising one side of their bed. That should ensure the head and chest stay above the waist level, preventing the backflow.
Could We Use CBD for Acid Reflux?
There’s still so much about CBD that we don’t know, but the research done on its effects on acid reflux seems promising. There are a few ways it may help:
- Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD can help manage inflammation and ease the burning of the esophagus lining.
- It can reduce the peristalsis in the gastrointestinal tract. By working with the surrounding soft tissue, CBD may help modulate and ease involuntary muscle movements, which are responsible for moving food and waste.
- CBD may also regulate the secretion of gastric acid via CB1 receptors. By doing so, it should prevent it from splashing back into the esophagus.
- Acid reflux isn’t only uncomfortable but may be painful as well. To that end, it’s good to know that a 2017 study found that medical cannabis, whose components include CBD too, may work as an analgesic. Because of that, it might be possible to ease the visceral pain that comes from the gastrointestinal tract by taking some CBD.
It’s important to know that avoiding treatment, whether with CBD or medications, is not recommended. It won’t go away on its own, especially if we continue making bad choices, eating foods we shouldn’t, smoking, etc.
When left untreated, acid reflux, or rather, stomach acid, may seriously damage the esophagus. That can cause strictures, esophagitis, and Barrett’s esophagus, of which the latter two may put us at a higher risk of cancer.
There’s not enough research to say for sure that using CBD for acid reflux will work for everyone. However, the studies that have been done show promising results regarding its anti-inflammatory properties, analgesic effects, and the ability to soothe involuntary muscle movements.
Because there’s not enough research, though, it’s best to consult your physician about it. There isn’t a set dosage for using CBD for acid reflux either, so you should also start slow and adjust it until you feel some relief.