Does CBD Work for Gastritis?  

  • Research in 2020 revealed that cannabidiol (CBD) had anti-inflammatory effects in rodent models of intestinal inflammation(1). Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining(2).
  • A systematic review in 2019 suggested that CBD had anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties(3).
  • A preclinical study in the British Journal of Pharmacology stated that CBD might be promising in alleviating vomiting and nausea caused by treatments, such as chemotherapy(4). Vomiting and nausea are common gastritis symptoms(5).
  • Currently, the animal and human studies available focus on CBD’s effects on symptoms associated with gastritis.
  • More research on CBD’s benefits on gastritis is warranted.

Why People Are Taking CBD for Gastritis

Commonly prescribed medications and over-the-counter drugs for gastritis include omeprazole, rabeprazole, lansoprazole, dexlansoprazole, esomeprazole, and pantoprazole(6). These drugs are some of the most potent inhibitors of stomach acid. 

However, these medications may have side effects, such as iron and B12 deficiency, increased risk of fractures, pneumonia, and Clostridium difficile infections(7). They can also be quite expensive over the long-term.

Clostridium difficile infections may cause diarrhea and eventually develop into a life-threatening medical condition.

Doctors may also prescribe antacids to treat gastritis by neutralizing stomach acid and providing pain relief. However, these drugs may result in constipation or diarrhea(8).

A 2020 study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences outlined CBD’s role in preventing and treating gastrointestinal disorders, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastrointestinal cancer(9).  

The study demonstrated CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties in mice models of intestinal inflammation. 

Gastritis is a collective term that refers to the inflammation of the lining of the stomach(10).

Research in the Journal of Molecular Medicine evaluated CBD’s effects on an inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis(11).

The authors found that CBD had anti-inflammatory properties beneficial for the inflamed gut. They also reported that CBD, a “likely safe compound,” prevented experimental colitis in mice. 

Despite CBD’s purported health benefits on the digestive tract, it is essential to note the side effects of CBD use. These effects include diarrhea, changes in appetite or weight, and tiredness(12).

CBD for Inflammation

A 2019 review archived in the journal Antioxidants stated that CBD had anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties(13)

The authors also mentioned CBD’s promise in treating disorders associated with inflammation and oxidative stress, such as cancer, cardiovascular, metabolic, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Another study documented in the journal Future Medicinal Chemistry discussed CBD’s effects on non-obese and diabetes-prone female rodents(14).

The researchers found that CBD had anti-inflammatory effects that could help prevent type 1 diabetes

CBD for Nausea

Common symptoms of gastritis include nausea and vomiting(15).

Preclinical research showed that CBD might be useful in treating vomiting and nausea caused by chemotherapy and other treatments(16).

A study archived in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology evaluated the effects of a dose containing CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on patients with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting(17).

The researchers found that CBD and THC were well-tolerated and had antiemetic (vomit-preventing) properties. 

They also observed that patients who received the cannabis-based medicine had better protection against delayed chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

CBD and THC are derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. However, unlike CBD, THC may get individuals high because of its psychoactive properties.

THC mainly comes from marijuana, a variant of the cannabis plant. Despite THC’s suggested benefits, medical marijuana use is not legal in the entire United States(18)

CBD for Ulcers

Untreated gastritis may result in stomach ulcers and bleeding or stomach perforation(19).

A 2018 study in the journal Phytotherapy Research evaluated CBD’s effects on oral wound healing(20)

Standardized ulcers were induced in 60 rats. They were injected with 0mg (control), 5mg, and 10mg of CBD per kilogram of each rat’s body weight daily.

The researchers discovered that CBD had anti-inflammatory effects on the early phase of wound healing. However, they noted that their findings were insufficient to conclude that CBD use could improve oral traumatic lesions.

CBD as a Painkiller Substitute

The regular use of painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, may result in gastritis and ulcers(21).

Meanwhile, studies showed that CBD products might have analgesic effects. Hence, they may be used as substitutes for painkillers.

A study published in the journal Postgraduate Medicine revealed that CBD improved chronic pain in participants using opioids for pain management(22).

One hundred thirty-one patients were included in the study. The researchers found that half of the study sample was able to reduce opioid use eight weeks after adding CBD to their medication regimen.

Participants who used CBD reported improvements in their quality of life. Their chronic pain and sleep quality also improved.

In another research, results indicated that CBD had analgesic and anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects(23).

Three hundred ninety-seven individuals were prescribed CBD. Participants who had non-cancer pain reported improvements in their pain. 

Meanwhile, those who had mental health symptoms experienced alleviation of their depression and anxiety symptoms.

CBD was well-tolerated, and the participants did not report any adverse effects. Other CBD benefits include improved sleep and appetite.

How CBD Oil Works to Alleviate Symptoms of Gastritis

A study documented in the PLOS One Journal evaluated how CBD purportedly reduces intestinal inflammation(24).

Eighteen participants were included in the study. The results revealed that CBD might interfere with enteroglial-mediated interactions in an intestinal inflammatory environment.

Enteric glial cells make up the enteric nervous system, a regulatory system responsible for gastrointestinal function(25).

According to the study, CBD was involved in the downregulation of the protein S100B, resulting in reduced intestinal damage during acute and intestinal inflammation.

S100 proteins have a vital role in mediating innate and acquired immune responses(26). These responses significantly contribute to the development of chronic inflammatory diseases. 

It is believed that CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) may be related to its anti-inflammatory properties.

The ECS has an essential role in maintaining the body’s natural harmony. To fulfill this function, it interacts with several organs and systems in the body, such as the endocrine and immune systems(27).

A study conducted in 2019 outlined the role of CBD and the ECS’ cannabinoid receptors in inflammation(28).

Research found that CBD was a weak agonist of the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1 receptor) in humans and mice. It also stated that CBD demonstrated inverse agonism of the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2 receptor).

An agonist is a substance that mimics another substance’s action, stimulating an action(29)

The researchers found that the activation of cannabinoid receptor 2 reduces oxidative stress and inflammation. 

They also found that CBD’s anti-inflammatory activity involved the reduction of cytokine levels, the inhibition of T-cell proliferation, the induction of T-cell apoptosis, and the migration of immune cells.

Cytokines are molecules that direct cell movement to sites of inflammation, trauma, and infection(30).

T cells contribute to sustained inflammation by producing proinflammatory cytokines(31).

Apoptosis is programmed cell death vital in removing unnecessary or abnormal cells(32).

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Gastritis

The Pros

  • Previous studies showed CBD’s positive effects on symptoms associated with gastritis and other conditions related to the digestive system.
  • Compared with conventional drugs prescribed for gastritis, CBD’s safety profile is more favorable(33).
  • There are no reported cases of human or animal dependence on CBD(34). Hence, individuals considering using CBD to treat their gastritis should not worry about developing a dependence on the substance.

The Cons

  • Researchers should further investigate CBD’s effects on gastritis.
  • Despite the benefits of CBD, it still has side effects, such as diarrhea, tiredness, and changes in weight or appetite(35)
  • Policies from the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) do not support CBD as therapy for medical conditions other than epilepsy. 
  • How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Gastritis

    A study archived in the Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal investigated honey’s antibacterial effects on the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), the common cause of several digestive issues, such as gastritis and a very common contributor to the development of gastric and duodenal ulcers(36).

    The researchers concluded that some honey brands had antibacterial properties useful in treating H. pylori infections. 

    They also noted that when honey was used with antibiotics, such as clarithromycin and amoxicillin, there was no synergy or antagonism.

    They recommend that honey may be useful as an adjunct therapy. It helps reduce the elimination time of H. pylori bacteria from the stomach lining of individuals with gastritis or duodenal ulcer. 

    Similarly, CBD was found to have antibacterial properties. Research in 2019 reported CBD’s efficacy in killing a range of Gram-positive bacteria(37).

    The researchers suggested that, given CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties and proven safety in humans, the substance held promise as a new antibiotic. 

    They also noted how CBD retained its efficacy against bacteria that became highly resistant to other traditional antibiotics.

    Gram-positive bacteria are called such because they give a positive result when put under the Gram stain test(38).

    How to Choose the Right CBD for Gastritis

    A previously cited study showed the efficacy of THC or medical cannabis on gastritis symptoms, such as vomiting and nausea. However, as mentioned earlier, THC use is not legal in all US states. 

    Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all the Cannabis sativa plant components, including terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, essential oils, and trace amounts of THC.  

    It is suggested that full-spectrum oils provide full therapeutic benefits because of the synergy of all the active ingredients of the cannabis plant. This mechanism is called the entourage effect.

    The THC content of full-spectrum CBD products (less than 0.30%) is allowed by federal laws. However, this minimal amount may still be detected by drug tests.

    Individuals who want to purchase CBD products free of THC may buy broad-spectrum CBD. This type of CBD oil has all the ingredients of the full-spectrum oil except for THC.

    For pure, isolated cannabidiol, CBD isolates may be purchased.

    Full-spectrum CBD oils are recommended for gastritis treatment. Still, individuals are encouraged to speak to a medical professional before purchasing any CBD product.

    It is also essential to research if a manufacturer or dispensary is credible and authorized by the government to sell CBD to avoid buying illegitimate products. 

    CBD Dosage for Gastritis

    Currently, no standard dosage chart has been developed for CBD in treating gastritis. However, it is recommended to begin with a small amount of CBD

    If no adverse effects are seen, the dosage may be increased gradually until the desired effect is achieved.

    Individuals using CBD for gastritis are encouraged to keep a journal of their reactions to the substance. They may refer to this journal during consultations with their physician.

    Before adding CBD to one’s gastritis medication regimen, it is recommended to inform a medical professional first.

    How to Take CBD for Gastritis

    There are several options when taking CBD for gastritis. 

    Some formats, such as CBD oils and tinctures (drops), allow individuals to take CBD directly. Tinctures may be applied sublingually, or under the tongue, for added efficacy.

    CBD oils may be mixed with food or beverages to mask CBD’s naturally grassy taste.

    CBD pills, gelcaps, capsules, edibles, and gummies may be ingested. This format also allows people with gastritis to conveniently bring their CBD medication with them anywhere.

    This format is also appropriate for people with gastritis problems who want to take a consistent dosage of CBD.

    CBD topicals, such as balms, salves, lotions, and ointments, may also be used. During episodes of abdominal pain or upset stomach, these topicals may be massaged into the affected area.

    Some topicals contain soothing ingredients, such as peppermint and menthol, for added pain relief.

    For instantaneous effects, CBD may be inhaled via vape pens. However, vaping CBD may be challenging, as it is hard to determine how much CBD was already taken.

    In some individuals, vaping may also cause lung problems(39).

    Understanding Gastritis

    According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, gastritis occurs when the stomach lining gets swollen(40).

    Gastritis may be caused by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, eating spicy food, extreme stress, smoking, and long-term use of pain and fever medications.

    Bacterial infections, major surgeries, and traumatic injuries or burns may also cause gastritis.

    Gastritis may be classified as acute gastritis or chronic gastritis. Gastritis symptoms include the following(41):

    • Stomach upset or pain
    • Belching and hiccups
    • Bloating or gas
    • Bleeding of the belly or abdomen
    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Heartburn
    • Blood in the vomit or stool
    • Weight loss

    When untreated, gastritis may also result in other more severe health complications. These conditions include peptic ulcer disease (painful sores in the upper digestive tract) and tumors that could lead to stomach cancer

    A study also found that gastritis was associated with an increased prevalence of panic attacks, social phobia, major depression, and mood disorders(42).

    Conclusion

    Previously mentioned studies found that CBD might be useful in treating gastritis symptoms, such as inflammation, nausea, and pain.

    Compared with conventional medications prescribed for gastritis, CBD is generally safe because of its minimal side effects.

    Like honey, CBD was found to have antibacterial properties.

    CBD also comes in different forms and formulations, giving individuals with gastritis several options.

    While CBD has been deemed for its favorable safety profile, in some individuals, CBD oil may be hard on the stomach. 

    For a more efficient treatment, it is best to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any CBD product for gastritis.


    1. Martínez, V., Iriondo De-Hond, A., Borrelli, F., Capasso, R., Del Castillo, M. D., & Abalo, R. (2020). Cannabidiol and Other Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoids for Prevention and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders: Useful Nutraceuticals?. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(9), 3067. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21093067
    2. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, April 03). Gastritis. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gastritis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355813
    3. Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2019). Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9010021
    4. Parker, L. A., Rock, E. M., & Limebeer, C. L. (2011). Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1411–1422. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01176.x
    5. Mayo Clinic Staff. op. cit.
    6. Ibid.
    7. Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). Proton-pump inhibitors. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/proton-pump-inhibitors
    8. Mayo Clinic Staff. op. cit.
    9. Martínez, V. op. cit.
    10. Mayo Clinic Staff. op. Cit.
    11. Borrelli, F., Aviello, G., Romano, B., Orlando, P., Capasso, R., Maiello, F., Guadagno, F., Petrosino, S., Capasso, F., Di Marzo, V., & Izzo, A. A. (2009). Cannabidiol, a safe and non-psychotropic ingredient of the marijuana plant Cannabis sativa, is protective in a murine model of colitis. Journal of molecular medicine (Berlin, Germany), 87(11), 1111–1121. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00109-009-0512-x
    12. Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139–154. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034
    13. Atalay, S. op. cit.
    14. Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S. A., Hegde, V. L., & Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future medicinal chemistry, 1(7), 1333–1349. https://doi.org/10.4155/fmc.09.93
    15. Mayo Clinic Staff. op. cit.
    16. Parker, L. A. op. cit.
    17. Duran, M., Pérez, E., Abanades, S., Vidal, X., Saura, C., Majem, M., Arriola, E., Rabanal, M., Pastor, A., Farré, M., Rams, N., Laporte, J. R., & Capellà, D. (2010). Preliminary efficacy and safety of an oromucosal standardized cannabis extract in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 70(5), 656–663. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2010.03743.x
    18. States with Legal Cannabidiol (CBD) – Medical Marijuana – ProCon.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/states-with-legal-cannabidiol-cbd/
    19. Mayo Clinic Staff. op. cit.
    20. Klein, M., de Quadros De Bortolli, J., Guimarães, F. S., Salum, F. G., Cherubini, K., & de Figueiredo, M. (2018). Effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, on oral wound healing process in rats: Clinical and histological evaluation. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 32(11), 2275–2281. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6165
    21. Mayo Clinic Staff. op. cit.
    22. Capano, A., Weaver, R., & Burkman, E. (2019, November 12). Evaluation of the effects of CBD hemp extract on opioid use and quality of life indicators in chronic pain patients: A prospective cohort study. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00325481.2019.1685298
    23. Gulbransen, G., Xu, W., & Arroll, B. (2020). Cannabidiol prescription in clinical practice: an audit on the first 400 patients in New Zealand. BJGP open, 4(1), bjgpopen20X101010. https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgpopen20X101010
    24. De Filippis, D., Esposito, G., Cirillo, C., Cipriano, M., De Winter, B. Y., Scuderi, C., Sarnelli, G., Cuomo, R., Steardo, L., De Man, J. G., & Iuvone, T. (2011). Cannabidiol reduces intestinal inflammation through the control of neuroimmune axis. PloS one, 6(12), e28159. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0028159
    25. Giorgio, R., Giancola, F., Boschetti, E., Abdo, H., Lardeux, B., & Neunlist, M. (2012, October). Enteric glia and neuroprotection: Basic and clinical aspects. Retrieved from https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpgi.00096.2012
    26. Xia, C., Braunstein, Z., Toomey, A., Zhong, J., & Rao, X. (2018, January 5). S100 Proteins As an Important Regulator of Macrophage Inflammation. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2017.01908/full
    27. Sallaberry, C., & Astern, L. (2018, June 01). The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator. Retrieved from https://www.jyi.org/2018-june/2018/6/1/the-endocannabinoid-system-our-universal-regulator
    28. Atalay, S. op. cit.
    29. Shiel Jr., W. C., MD, FACP, FACR. (2018, December 27). Definition of Agonist. Retrieved from https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7835
    30. Mandal, A., MD. (2019, February 26). What are Cytokines? Retrieved from https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Cytokines.aspx
    31. Skapenko, A., Leipe, J., Lipsky, P. E., & Schulze-Koops, H. (2005). The role of the T cell in autoimmune inflammation. Arthritis research & therapy, 7 Suppl 2(Suppl 2), S4–S14. https://doi.org/10.1186/ar1703
    32. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/apoptosis
    33. Iffland, K. op. cit.
    34. World Health Organization (2018 June). CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Critical Review Report. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf
    35. Iffland, K. op. cit.
    36. Nzeako, B. C., & Al-Namaani, F. (2006). The antibacterial activity of honey on helicobacter pylori. Sultan Qaboos University medical journal, 6(2), 71–76.
    37. Blaskovich, M., Kavanagh, A., Ramu, S., Levy, S., Callahan, M., & Thurn, M. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://eventpilotadmin.com/web/page.php?page=IntHtml&project=ASM19&id=2877
    38. Bush, L. M., MD, FACP. (n.d.). Overview of Gram-Positive Bacteria – Infections. Retrieved from https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/infections/bacterial-infections-gram-positive-bacteria/overview-of-gram-positive-bacteria
    39. Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html
    40. Gastritis. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/gastritis
    41. Ibid.
    42. Goodwin, R., Cowles, R., Galea, S., & Jacobi, F. (2013, January). Gastritis and mental disorders. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022395612002968
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