What Can CBD Do for People Suffering from Acid Reflux or GERD?
Lots of us get heartburn from time to time, and while it often has to do with something that we ate or eating too fast, sometimes it can be indicative of a more systemic issue such as acid reflux or GERD. Commonly confused with one another, these two distinctive conditions both cause frequent heartburn that can interfere with a person’s quality of life by causing potentially severe pain, especially after eating.
Both of these conditions, thankfully, are treatable and can be managed by making certain adjustments to one’s diet and habits in many instances. Another potential approach could be done in a holistic way with cannabidiol (CBD), a hemp-derived compound that has certainly been getting a lot of attention lately for its many uses and lots of research behind it.
So, can CBD help with the symptoms associated with acid reflux and GERD? Read on to find out.
What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is a condition that’s more common than GERD, and is localized to the upper digestive tract, pertaining to the esophagus, diaphragm, and stomach. Those who have acid reflux experience stomach acid flowing up into the esophagus, and due to the acidic nature of the substance, it can cause a burning sensation. Acid reflux typically intensifies shortly after a person eats, as well as when they lie down, which can interfere with the flow of the upper digestive system.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is associated with a few different symptoms, and everyone’s case will be unique, which means that a person with acid reflux may have only one of the symptoms below or multiple symptoms:
- Heartburn and pain in the chest
- Difficult swallowing food or saliva
- Loss of appetite
- Regurgitation after eating
- An acidic taste in the mouth
- A feeling of having a lump in one’s throat
Why Does Acid Reflux Occur?
There are many reasons why a person may develop acid reflux, including poor dietary choices and the habit of lying down after eating, or even eating too fast. Smokers and those who consume too much alcohol are more prone to the condition, and certain medications can make the development of acid reflux more likely.
The most common cause of acid reflux is a hiatal hernia, which allows for the stomach to move above the diaphragm, bringing the upper digestive tract out of alignment which enables digestive acids to flow easily from the stomach and into the esophagus. The diaphragm plays a large role in keeping acid inside of the stomach, so if it’s misaligned, this can lead to acid reflux.
It’s also worth noting that pregnant women may develop acid reflux as the fetus puts pressure on the upper digestive tract, and this can be temporary or last after the baby is born.
What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease? (GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a severe form of acid reflux. It simply means that a person has acid reflux episodes at least once a week. GERD is associated with potential complications as the constant flow of stomach acid into the esophagus can lead to corrosion from its high acidic content.
What are GERD’s Symptoms?
The symptoms of GERD are the same as those of acid reflux, including heartburn, difficulty swallowing and pain that intensifies when lying down. For a person to have GERD, they must have a severe episode at least once a week, or a moderate episode at least twice a week, for over a month.
Why Does GERD Occur?
As of now, it is not exactly clear why some instances of acid reflux develop into GERD and some do not. The most likely theory is that prolonged acid reflux episodes cause the lower esophageal sphincter to weaken. This sphincter is supposed to loosen when a person is eating and tighten when they are not eating. If the sphincter becomes weak, it can never properly close, which can make it easy for stomach acid to pass through and into the esophagus.
How are Acid Reflux and GERD Treated?
A person who is experiencing frequent heartburn or other symptoms described above should schedule an appointment with a specialist as soon as possible. In rare cases, these symptoms can be associated with something more serious such as a heart condition or cancer within the digestive tract. Only a trained gastroenterologist can diagnose you and prescribe treatments. Typically, an endoscopy is performed to determine the cause of the issue.
Both of these conditions are typically treated with medication. Usually, the patient is given antacids that neutralize the stomach acid. For more severe cases, H2 blockers may be prescribed which decrease levels of stomach acid, and this is reserved for more serious cases because lowering stomach acid levels can interfere with other digestive functions over time.
There is a surgical procedure that is pretty new to the medical world, which is the installation of a LINX device into the lower esophageal sphincter. This is a metal ring that makes up for the weakened state of the sphincter so that stomach acid cannot flow as easily through the sphincter and reach the esophagus.
Using CBD for Acid Reflux and GERD
CBD is a cannabinoid and it’s also a unique type of compound only found in the cannabis genus. Cannabinoids are fed to cannabinoid receptors found in all systems of the body, including the digestive system, which creates a chemical reaction that allows for regulation of individual bodily processes. The cannabinoid receptors in the body make up the endocannabinoid system that ultimately has the job of keeping the body in a state of homeostasis.
Studies show that cannabinoid receptors in the esophagus and stomach may utilize cannabinoids to regulate the function of the esophageal sphincter and regulate the flow and neutralization of stomach acid. By attaching to these receptors, CBD may help offer relief to symptoms caused by acid reflux by creating an environment in which stomach acid is less likely to enter the esophagus.
How to Use CBD Properly for These Conditions
Because there is enough research showing that cannabidiol may play a role in managing acid reflux, we can cover the proper methods for using it to get the best results possible. With an array of products on the market, and many methods for taking it, this information can make a big difference when it comes to finding relief.
Talk with Your Medical Healthcare Provider and a Specialist
You must see a specialist about your condition, and during this time, you can ask them about using CBD for potential relief. It is important that you discuss medications you are taking, as some medications may interact with cannabidiol due to suppression of the CYP3A4 enzyme that must be abundant in the body to break down specific types of drugs.
Use an Oral Form of CBD
We suggest using an oral form of CBD such as a tincture or an edible, which maintains direct contact with the upper digestive system to truly interact with the cannabinoid receptors that are involved in functions pertaining to acid reflux and GERD. If you can, take these products daily to manage symptoms as best as possible.
A Potential Holistic Method For Treating Acid Reflux or GERD Has Arrived!
Both acid reflux and GERD can cause enormous discomfort and make us dread eating our favorite meals. If you’re dealing with heartburn, it is important to get a diagnosis and consider starting a routine with CBD. This gentle and natural product is becoming immensely popular among sufferers of these conditions now that medical researchers are discovering what it can do for our body’s digestion.