Is cannabis now the promising therapy for gastritis?

Gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach lining. It is a condition in which the stomach lining known as the mucosa is inflamed, or swollen. The stomach lining contains glands that produce stomach acid and an enzyme called pepsin. The stomach acid break down food and pepsin digests proteins. A thick layer of mucus coats the stomach lining and helps prevent the acidic digestive juice from dissolving the stomach tissue.

Gastritis happens when this defense barrier is damaged by H. Pylori bacteria often after excessive consumption of alcohol. Other causes of gastritis may include, the use of certain medications such as aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs. It may also be caused by Pernicious anemia which is a form of anemia that occurs when the stomach lacks a naturally occurring substance needed to properly absorb and digest vitamin B12.

Bile reflux on the other hand is the backflow of bile into the stomach from the bile tract (that connects to the liver and gallbladder). The infection can lead to ulcers, and in some people stomach cancer. When the stomach lining is inflamed, it produces less acid and fewer enzymes.

Gastritis may be acute or chronic. Acute gastritis starts suddenly and lasts for a short time while chronic gastritis is long lasting. If chronic gastritis is not treated, it may last for years or even a lifetime.

Symptoms of gastritis

Gastritis symptoms range from one individual to another and in many, there are no symptoms. However, the most common symptoms include: nausea or recurrent upset stomach, abdominal bloating, vomiting, indigestion, burning or gnawing feeling in the stomach between meals or at night, hiccups, loss of appetite, vomiting blood or coffee ground-like material and black tarry stool among others.

Cannabinoids are effective in treating symptoms and side effects.

For year’s now, health care providers have treated gastritis with medications to reduce the amount of acid in the underlying cause. Anti-acids such as Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, and Riopan are prescribed to patients. Many brands use different combinations of three basic salts-magnesium, aluminum, and calcium-along with hydroxide or bicarbonate ions to neutralize stomach acid-Antacids, however, can have side effects. Magnesium salt can lead to diarrhea, and aluminum salt can cause constipation. Calcium carbonate antacids, such as Tums, Titralac, and Alka-2, can cause constipation.

Cannabis has been used to treat gastritis symptoms and side effects from the medication. The mechanistic basis of these treatments emerged after the discovery Delta (9)-tetrahydrocannabinol as the major constituent of Cannabis. Studies indicate that cannabinoid receptors in the digestive tract, causing muscle relaxation, reduction of inflammation, analgesia, increased nerve-muscle coordination, anti-emesis, and relief of spasms such as those that cause nausea.

Cannabis has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and recent research shows crucial neuromodulatory roles in controlling the operation of the gastrointestinal system, with synthetic and natural cannabinoids acting powerfully. Cannabinoid receptors comprise G-protein coupled receptors that are predominantly in enteric and central neurons (CB1R) and immune cells (CB2R). This digestive tract contains endogenous cannabinoids and cannabinoid CB1 receptors can be found on myenteric and sub mucosal nerves. Activating cannabinoid receptors has been demonstrated to inhibit gastrointestinal fluid secretion and inflammation in animal models.

Every year gastritis affects several people in the United States and the number keeps on growing. However, the current discussion on the issue of reschedule marijuana by the US federal government gives hope in ensuring more research on the drug. From the small research, marijuana has proven to have several medical uses. With more research, gastritis will be history to the Americans.

Source: Medical Marijuana Blog
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