Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) medical cannabis treatment

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive condition that affects how the brain and bowel communicate with each other, which can cause changes in bowel habits, intense discomfort, and extreme pain. Currently, there is no cure for IBS, and antidiarrhoeal and antispasmodic medicines are typically prescribed to treat symptoms, but recently, some patients have reported significant symptom improvement with medical cannabis IBS treatments.

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1 in 5

adults in the UK are believed to have irritable bowel syndrome

Up to 70%

of IBS patients suffer from moderate to severe abdominal pain

Over 50%

reduction in abdominal pain scores after cannabis based treatment

Over 66%

of UK adults would consider medical cannabis treatments

“The Releaf+ subscription simplifies the entire process of my medical cannabis treatment.“

Nigel, Releaf Patient

October 2023

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Articles on Irritable bowel syndrome (ibs)

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28. 07. 2023

Can CBD help with IBS?

There are over three million people in the UK estimated to be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and its variety of symptoms. More and more treatments for the currently incurable condition are being sought, with one of the increasingly popular treatment options being medical cannabis, and one of the major cannabinoids produced by the plant - cannabidiol (CBD).

09. 08. 2023

Can cannabis help reduce the symptoms of IBS?

Research has shown that medical cannabis has the potential to help with a variety of ailments and health issues, including the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

05. 08. 2023

Is CBD a safe treatment option for gut inflammation?

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to harmful stimuli like injuries and infection. It effectively quarantines the site of the injury and infection in order to attack any invading bodies or contaminants. In the modern world, however, there are more negative stimuli that can trigger inflammation than ever, from stressful living and working conditions to processed foods and airborne pollution. These can cause the immune system to attack healthy tissue.




Abdominal pain

Inconsistent bowel movements



Trouble gaining/retaining weight

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, you may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Please speak with your GP to find out more.

Treatment options:

There are a number of treatments that can be used to help manage or regulate the fluctuating symptoms commonly experienced by those IBS patients, but typically making dietary or lifestyle changes are the first thing recommended by GPs. Sometimes IBS goes away on its own, or the symptoms become manageable, but for some the opposite can happen and medications or prescribed treatments are required to help with IBS. Medical cannabis treatments are legal and suitable for some IBS patients in the UK, but only when traditional or conventional routes have been exhausted.

Antidiarrhoeal medicines

Antispasmodic medicines



Mebeverine hydrochloride


Polyethylene glycol (PEG))

If you are struggling to manage your symptoms and have already tried two conventional treatments for IBS, cannabis-based treatments may be suitable for you. Use our free eligibility tool to find out now.
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A word from our specialist

"There is increasing evidence that medical cannabis can reduce the intensity of symptoms in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, albeit without altering what the condition looks like under the microscope. Irritable bowel syndrome similarly, although a distinct condition from both Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, can be calmed down considerably by means of cannabinoid therapy."

Dr David Tang

Gastroenterological Specialist

Can medical cannabis improve IBS symptoms?

Medical cannabis contains many powerful chemicals, some of which are cannabinoids. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD interact effectively with the body's endocannabinoid system, and they have both been shown to be particularly useful in managing IBS symptoms for many patients.

When cannabinoids are absorbed into the bloodstream, they can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or balance. From the ECS, cannabinoids can move around the body and target specific areas in crisis, and in the case of IBS, this is often alleviating pain and or inflammatory responses. 

However, small scale research has also shown THC may have the ability to reduce colonic motility, reducing the frequency of bowel movements, which holds promise for IBS patients. The other major component, CBD, also benefits IBS treatment by relieving stress and anxiety which typically exacerbate IBS symptoms, or increase their likelihood of occurrence. 

At Releaf, our specialist doctors can legally prescribe cannabis-based IBS treatments to UK patients if they have been struggling to manage their symptoms with conventional medicines, and are here to support patients through their journey with medical cannabis. To find out if this course of treatment could be suitable for you, fill out our free online eligibility checker today. 

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