Research on CBD Oil for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Research on CBD Oil for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in recent years has been anything but a fruitless endeavor. Recently scientists have discovered that some compounds in cannabis, including phytocannabinoids like CBD, can be used as effective anti-inflammatory agents.1,2 (,  Ever since, different cannabis preparations have been considered as pharmacological tools to fight inflammatory disorders, including Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. For a full list of the medical conditions for which CBD may be useful, please consult our research page.

What we know about CBD Oil & Irritable Bowel Disease

Cannabidiol’s anti-inflammatory effects may be particularly applicable to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is a gastrointestinal condition characterized by an overactive immune response in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract).3 ( This overactive immune response is directed by immune cells, such as mast cells and macrophages, which infiltrate the layers of the GI tract and secrete inflammatory chemicals, like TNF-alpha. The presence of these chemicals stimulates the production of endocannabinoids, which act on cannabinoid, and non-cannabinoid (e.g. TRPV1, Adenosine A1A, PPARgamma), receptors to reduce inflammation and stop infiltration of other inflammation-producing immune cells.

Phytocannabinoids, like CBD, interact with both cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid receptors, like the Adenosine A1A, TRPV-1 and PPARgamma receptors, which are thought to be involved in inflammation.2,4 (, (Learn more about the endocannabinoid system).

In a pre-clinical study using intestinal biopsies from humans with ulcerative colitis (UC) as well as biopsies from intestinal segments of mice with experimentally-induced colitis, CBD was shown to reduce levels of inflammatory chemicals like TNF-alpha, neurotrophin S100B and others.5 ( This study adds to other, non-IBD-specific research, showing the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD.6-9 (,,,

In a different study of experimentally-induced colitis in rats, both THC and CBD reduced inflammation and also reduced the associated dysfunction that often accompanies severe inflammation.10(

Human studies using smoked marijuana have also been conducted. For example, a 1990 case study of an individual with ulcerative colitis reported significant reductions in pain and discomfort while using smoked marijuana.11 ( Two other observational studies, and one placebo-controlled study, also demonstrated reductions in inflammation and disease severity among patients with Crohn’s disease.12-14 (,,


The therapeutic effects of phytocannabinoids, like CBD, are becoming more tangible and better understood, especially as it relates to inflammatory disorders like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). More clinical trials are needed, but the existing evidence indicates that CBD oil may represent a safe and effective treatment option.

Below is a list of available studies concerning the use of CBD, and other phytocannabinoids, in treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?.

Research Studies on the effects of CBD oil to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome:




1. Burstein S. Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry. 2015;23(7):1377-1385.

2. Booz GW. Cannabidiol as an emergent therapeutic strategy for lessening the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress. Free Radic Biol Med. 2011;51(5):1054-1061.

3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology. 2019;

4. Jia Y, McLeod RL, Hey JA. TRPV1 receptor: a target for the treatment of pain, cough, airway disease and urinary incontinence. Drug News Perspect. 2005;18(3):165-171.

5. De Filippis D, Esposito G, Cirillo C, et al. Cannabidiol reduces intestinal inflammation through the control of neuroimmune axis. PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e28159.

6. Malfait AM, Gallily R, Sumariwalla PF, et al. The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2000;97(17):9561-9566.

7. Gallily R, Yekhtin Z, Hanus L. Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by using Cannabis extract enriched in Cannabidiol. Pharmacology & Pharmacy,. 2015;6:75-85.

8. Philpott HT, O’Brien M, McDougall JJ. Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis. Pain. 2017;158(12):2442-2451.

9. Hammell DC, Zhang LP, Ma F, et al. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. Eur J Pain. 2016;20(6):936-948.

10. Jamontt JM, Molleman A, Pertwee RG, Parsons ME. The effects of Delta-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol alone and in combination on damage, inflammation and in vitro motility disturbances in rat colitis. Br J Pharmacol. 2010;160(3):712-723.

11. Baron JA, Folan RD, Kelley ML. Ulcerative Colitis and Marijuana. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2019;112(6):471-471.

12. Naftali T, Lev LB, Yablecovitch D, Half E, Konikoff FM. Treatment of Crohn’s disease with cannabis: an observational study. Isr Med Assoc J. 2011;13(8):455-458.

13. Lahat A, Lang A, Ben-Horin S. Impact of cannabis treatment on the quality of life, weight and clinical disease activity in inflammatory bowel disease patients: a pilot prospective study. Digestion. 2012;85(1):1-8.

14. Naftali T, Bar-Lev Schleider L, Dotan I, Lansky EP, Sklerovsky Benjaminov F, Konikoff FM. Cannabis induces a clinical response in patients with Crohn’s disease: a prospective placebo-controlled study. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013;11(10):1276-1280.e1271.

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This page has been submitted in cooperation with our Medical Advisor, Dr. Jamie Corroon. Dr. Corroon has reviewed and approved the information contained on this page for general accuracy, authenticity, and relevancy of the stated research. While it is our intent to publish the most up-to-date research available, this review is limited to the material submitted on this page and does not take into account research which may currently exist or supersede this content. This review is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine. CBD products are not approved by the FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease. You should always seek the advice of your physician before adding any supplement to your diet.