Can CBD Help People Combat GERD? Research Shows Promising Results

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How do you spell relief? For some, the answer may be C-B-D.

Everyone experiences heartburn or acid reflux from time to time, especially after a meal heavy with spicy foods. But about 20 percent of the population suffers from a more chronic condition called GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

People with GERD experience more severe and longer-lasting symptoms that can lead to complications over time, including inflammation of the esophagus.

But there may be relief beyond TUMS and Rolaids. Researchers say CBD has potential as a treatment for GERD.

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What Is GERD?

The National Institutes of Health defines GERD as when stomach contents back up into a person’s esophagus. It sometimes happens without symptoms. However, it typically causes the feeling most associated with heartburn or acid indigestion. Some may also refer to GERD as acid reflux or acid regurgitation.

While anyone can develop GERD, it is more likely in overweight or obese, pregnant women, and those who smoke or who are exposed to secondhand smoke. Common symptoms of GERD include a burning sensation in the chest, difficulty swallowing, chest pain, and the sensation of having a lump in your throat.

Over time GERD can lead to esophagitis, an inflammation that may cause ulcers and bleeding in the esophagus lining. It may also contribute to the development of an esophageal stricture, which happens when the esophagus becomes too narrow, and people develop difficulty swallowing.

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CBD Helped With GERD in Recent Study

Early research into the potential for CBD to treat the millions of people who have GERD has yielded some promising results. For example, a 2017 study found that cannabinoids seemed to prevent the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).

The LES is a muscular valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. It opens to let food pass through into the stomach and then closes. However, some people have a weakened LES that allows food and stomach acids to flow back into the esophagus, leading to GERD. The study found cannabinoids prevented weakening of the LES in animals and humans.

A 2016 review of research also found that cannabinoids reduced the amount of stomach acid, reducing the impact of GERD. Research has found that CBD has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which could help combat GERD.

While researchers agree they need more studies conducted into the potential of using CBD to treat GERD, the results hold promise that CBD could provide an effective treatment to combat this common and potentially serious condition.

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