Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Cannabis

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a common and chronic health issue affecting the large intestine and is characterized into three sub-types; IBS with predominant constipation, predominant diarrhea, or a combination of both. Symptoms also include abdominal cramps/pain/bloating, excess gas, and mucus in the stool. Although the precise cause of  IBS is unknown, IBS involves problems with moving digested food through the intestines and how the brain interprets messages from the intestinal nerves, infection, weak intestinal contractions, intestinal inflammation, changes to the gut flora, abnormalities in the intestinal nerves, and so forth.

Triggers can include hormones (women are twice as likely to develop IBS), stress (may aggravate IBS symptoms but is NOT the cause), and food (can be worsened with consumption of dairy products, beans, wheat, citrus fruits, carbonated drinks, etc).

It might be interesting to learn that we have cannabinoid chemicals within our bodies as part of our endocannabinoid system. The system is not perfectly understood, but we know that it consists of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoid chemicals.

The receptors are located all throughout our central and peripheral nervous systems, and a large number of them are also located within our digestive system, which has led scientists to investigate ways to use them to help with conditions like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and peptic ulcer disease.

Approximately 18% of Canadians have IBS yet, only about ½ have been diagnosed by their primary care provider (PCP). For many, it can take several years before receiving a definitive diagnosis of IBS. As a result, people may develop and experience mood changes related to anxiety, fatigue, embarrassment, self-consciousness, and depression. In turn, this can lead to interpersonal conflict, limit time spent with family and friends, and negatively affect work performance.

The ROME IV Diagnostic Criteria for IBS is used primarily by PCPs to help with the diagnosis of IBS. Risk factors include family history of IBS, being female, younger than 50 years old, and existing mental health problems. Long term complications can lead to hemorrhoids, diarrhea, chronic constipation, mood disorders, and overall poor quality of life.

If you think you suffer from IBS, and would like to speak with one of our physicians regarding medical cannabis therapy please visit and fill out the interest form and one of our staff will be in contact with in 24-48 hours.

Additional info:

Canadian Digestive Health Foundation (

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Self Help and Support Group (

The Mayo Clinic (

Mount Sinai Hospital Toronto (

National institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (

Lumbago – Tips to Relieve Pain and Discomfort

Lumbago is the most common form of low back pain. It is caused by cramping of the spinal muscles, joint dysfunction, ergonomics, exercise, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, injuries and trauma to the lower back and/or surrounding tissues/muscles, sprains and strains, and so forth. Pain can radiate to other parts of the body including the upper legs (i.e. sciatica – where the sciatic nerve may become compressed and there is electrical shock type of pain). On average, 5 out of 10 Canadian suffer from. Up to 85% of working people will experience lumbago during their lifetime. Research has demonstrated that opioids are not effective in treating and managing lumbago. Instead, patients are encouraged to use manual therapy (i.e. Massage Therapy, Physiotherapy), physical activity, psychological therapies (i.e. support groups, chronic pain clinics’ group sessions), and self-management (i.e. limiting exposure to triggers, not lifting more than 10lbs). There is less emphasis on the pharmacological and surgical approach for chronic lumbago.

No matter what the cause of lumbago, here are a few suggestions to help relieve pain and discomfort and potentially prevent future complications:

  • Maintain correct posture
  • Use ice or heat (i.e. <72 hours use ice, >72 hours use heat)
  • Maintain correct posture while sitting
  • Stretch your muscles
  • Strengthen your core muscles
  • Invest in ergonomic office chair
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Safeguard your back while lifting
  • Rest your back after prolonged bending
  • Protect your discs immediately after waking (i.e. maintaining a straight back for 1-2 hours after waking allows your discs to regain their normal pressure and withstand loads more effectively)
  • Stretch your hamstrings
  • Stay active
  • Get a massage
  • Wear proper footwear (i.e. orthotics)
  • Sleep on a quality mattress
  • Consider OTC (over the counter) pain relievers for acute pain or flare-up (i.e. Ibuprofen)



Additional resources:

The Canadian Chiropractic Association (

The Centre for Effective Practice CORE Back Tool (

The Mayo Clinic (