Everyone experiences heartburn from time to time. Some might even have more pronounced incidents that they think of as acid reflux. But about 20 percent of the population is diagnosed with GERD, an acronym for gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Those with GERD experience a more severe and longer lasting condition than typical heartburn. It happens repeatedly after they eat. While bothersome and uncomfortable in the short term, it can lead to complications in the long run, including inflammation of the esophagus.
What Is GERD?
The National Institutes of Health define GERD as what happens when stomach contents come 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 those who are 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 lining of the esophagus. It may also contribute to development of an esophageal stricture, which happens when the esophagus becomes too narrow and people develop difficult swallowing.
CBD Helped With GERD in Recent Study
In a recent article about CBD for GERD, Medical News Daily wrote that “CBD can work with a person’s cannabinoid receptors, specifically within their gastrointestinal tract. One of the potential effects of CBD is calming the soft muscle tissue. This helps regulate muscle contraction and provide pain relief for heartburn.”
Early research into the potential for CDB 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 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. 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, which could reduce the impact of GERD. Research also has found that CBD has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, both of which could help combat GERD.
While there’s universal agreement that more research is needed into the potential of using CBD to treat GERD, the results so far hold promise that CBD could provide an effective treatment to combat this common condition.