Cannabis and chronic bladder pain
If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection, or UTI, then you understand the pain of interstitial cystitis (IC), a bladder condition marked by urinary urgency, frequency and pelvic pain. But unlike a UTI, which can be cured with antibiotics, interstitial cystitis has no cure, and the millions of (mainly) women who suffer from it are, for the most part, left to deal with the condition on their own.
I know this because I’m one of those women, and my journey with IC, also known as painful bladder syndrome, has been a textbook case of mystery and misdiagnosis.
It started over a decade ago with a urinary tract infection that just wouldn’t go away. For nearly a year, I was in and out of walk-in-clinics and off-and-on antibiotics, but no matter how many prescriptions I downed, the pain, urgency and frequency always returned.
Mysteriously, every time my urine was tested for bacteria – the tell-tale sign of a UTI – it came back clean. Meanwhile, I was getting out of bed to pee constantly, sometimes 20 times a night.
Sometimes I go months without symptoms, and sometimes I find myself in a ‘flare’ that ends in the emergency room, with internal bleeding and swollen kidneys, but still no infection. Why?
No one’s really sure – not my family doctor, not my urologist, and not my rheumatologist, physiatrist, naturopath, physiotherapist, or the numerous other experts I’ve consulted for this, and potentially related conditions. That’s just how it is.
Interstitial cystitis is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning it’s only given after other potential causes – like a UTI, bladder cancer, kidney stones, endometriosis or a sexually transmitted infection – have been ruled out. There’s only one ‘clincher’, the presence of either glomerulations (superficial hemorrhages) or of Hunner’s ulcers (distinctive patches of inflammation) on the bladder wall. I have Hunner’s ulcers, but more than 90 per cent of diagnosed IC patients don’t express either of these so-called classic IC signs.
It’s also possible that IC is not one condition, but a related set of symptoms with a variety of causes. Researchers aren’t even sure what kind of condition it is, but they have a few guesses: the top contenders are that it’s a neurological condition, an autoimmune attack or a reaction to toxic substances or bacteria that haven’t been identified yet, or aren’t picked up by current tests.
What I do know is this: I’m not uncommon. The Interstitial Cystitis Association reports that three to eight million American women and one to four million American men may have IC. They don’t provide Canadian stats, we can guess that the numbers are similar here, affecting up to six per cent of women and almost one per cent of men.
Often IC patients experience other conditions concurrently, most commonly fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies and food intolerances, celiac disease, chronic fatigue, lupus, pelvic floor dysfunction, vulvodynia and endometriosis.
Without knowing the exact cause of the condition, it’s hard for doctors to know how to treat it, and every patient responds uniquely to different methods. Classic therapies include dietary modifications, pelvic floor physiotherapy, bladder retraining, antihistamines, antidepressants, antispasmodics and analgesics. Some patients may opt to receive medications directly into the bladder via catheter.
For me, the best treatments so far have been strict dietary modifications and cannabis. The last was a bit of a surprise. I’ve always liked cannabis, and although getting high on weekends was a pleasant distraction from my pain, I never saw it as a practical way to deal with a chronic condition, mainly because I didn’t want to be high every day. It wasn’t until I started taking a regular dose of non-intoxicating CBD oil, which I’d been prescribed for another condition, that I experienced a wonderful side effect – my first extended remission from IC. That prescription helped so much, I switched careers – now I spend my days exploring why cannabis so many conditions, and sharing those stories here.
There are clinical explanations for my positive experience with cannabis, and researchers are just starting to tease them out. One promising finding shows that like other organs, the bladder walls are lined with cannabinoid receptors, the “locks” that allow cannabinoids, or the “keys” to turn.
Cannabis extracts have been shown to help multiple sclerosis patients suffering from incontinence, while more recent studies suggest that the endocannabinoid system – composed of the bodily receptors that process cannabinoids – “is implicated in many gastrointestinal and urinary physiological and pathophysiological processes, including epithelial cell growth, inflammation, analgesia, and motor function.”
The same study goes on to say that modulating the endocannabinoid system might help patients with a range of gastrointestinal and bladder conditions. Its authors write that any drug that can inhibit endocannabinoid system degradation or raise the body’s levels of endocannabinoids -which CBD does – “are promising candidates for gastrointestinal and urinary diseases.”
Early research is promising, but there isn’t enough yet to form a full picture. I’d like to better understand why cannabis seems to reduce my flares, but for now, I know it’s helping, and that’s enough.
Personal anecdotes are no match for peer-reviewed studies, but the fact is there’s still a lot we don’t know about IC. In that respect, it’s not that different from the many painful conditions – largely suffered by women – we know little about, such as fibromyalgia, or endometriosis.
I look forward to increasing research that can explain why I experience pain, and why cannabis helps it. But until that day, I get a certain philosophical satisfaction from the fact that a drug we don’t know that much about seems to help so many conditions we don’t know much about either, including IC.
CBD for Interstitial Cystitis – Does it Help?
Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a condition that causes long-term pelvic pain. If you have ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you understand the distress this bladder condition causes. It tends to affect people in their 30s and 40s and is much more common in women than men.
Still, unlike UTI, which antibiotics can cure, Interstitial Cystitis does not have a cure, and it can have a significant impact on your daily life, physical and emotional health, and relationships. Fortunately, various treatments can help relieve the symptoms.
Things that can help relieve the pain of these symptoms include lifestyle changes. The traditional therapies include dietary modifications, avoiding certain foods or drinks, reducing stress, pelvic floor therapy, and cannabis.
Cannabis is one of the most practical ways to deal with a chronic condition like IC, and it has been used medicinally for centuries. Cannabis-based products, such as CBD oils and CBD lubricants, have positive effects, can help to decrease inflammation, and potentially alleviate pelvic pain.
Does CBD Lube Work For Interstitial Cystitis?
In our body, we can find multiple cannabinoid receptors that endocannabinoids can bind to, including the lower urinary tract; this means that CBD lubricants are helpful treatments for bladder conditions such as Interstitial Cystitis.
In fact, CBD has effects on people diagnosed with many different illnesses and is proven to do more than relieve pain. Still, it also helps improve sleep quality, which potentially reduces the pain throughout the day and in the mornings also helps with inflammations. CBD’s therapeutic effects are numerous, which is why it would work for all the pains and symptoms that Interstitial Cystitis causes.
Unfortunately, the use of CBD for Interstitial Cystitis is only supported by anecdotal evidence. Some hopeful findings say that cannabinoid receptors are present in the lower urinary tract, which means the bladder walls line up with cannabinoid receptors. So, if systemic cannabinoids affect the lower urinary tract, they may become clinically useful.
CBD Dosage For Interstitial Cystitis
To know how much CBD to take for Interstitial Cystitis, there have been studies where the subjects are given between 150mg CBD, 300mg CBD up to 600mg CBD. Results said that the 300mg dose of CBD reduces pelvic pain significantly.
Sexologist and author Dr. Sadie Allison, and CBD scientist John Renko, B.S.E. created GoLove’s CBD lubricant specifically to enhance wellness and sexual health. As a result, it can help relax pelvic floor muscles and reduce any discomfort and inflammation that Interstitial Cystitis may cause. In case you want to learn more about this, you can read our article about the best lube for Interstitial Cystitis .
GoLove CBD Lubricant comes in several sizes, 40ml with 200mg of CBD and 5ml with 25mg of CBD, and these concentrations are high enough to be effective and safe. Besides, anyone can use it as GoLove is water-based, hypoallergenic, latex-safe, and pH-balanced.
How To Use CBD Oil For UTI
When bacteria enter the urinary system, which includes your kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra, a urinary tract infection (UTI) arises. Females are more prone than guys to have UTIs. A bladder infection can be excruciating and unpleasant. When it spreads to the kidneys, it can be quite dangerous. Using CBD for UTI is beneficial. Read on to know more.
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Symptoms of UTI
When a person has a UTI, the lining of the bladder and urethra becomes red and painful. This produces pain in the lower abdomen’s pelvic region as well as the lower back. Urinary heat or discomfort is the most prevalent symptom.
Although there is a strong desire to urinate, only a few drops are emitted. It’s because the bladder is so irritated that it makes you want to urinate despite the fact that there isn’t much urine inside. A person with a UTI also has an unpleasant odor in their urine.
A UTI in the bladder should be treated very once because it can lead to a kidney infection, which can spread to the bloodstream and cause a more serious health problem.
CBD for UTI
CBD has a wide range of effects when it comes to decreasing inflammation and free radical damage.
When the urinary tract becomes contaminated, our bodies’ defense mechanisms kick in to fight the infection. It sends a slew of immune cells to the damaged area in order to clear out any germs that could harm the body. Inflammation and pain result as a result of this.
CBD in cannabis may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic characteristics, which may help alleviate the effects of a UTI by reducing swelling and pain, as well as aid in the battle against germs that have invaded the body.
When CBD is combined with THC, the endocannabinoid 2-ag level rises, lowering the number of immune cells sent out. CBD not only reduces inflammation but can also be used to relieve pain. CBD also increases the production of the endocannabinoid anandamide, which helps to reduce pain sensitivity.
CBD, when combined with THC, may be a potent antibacterial, capable of destroying even the most drug-resistant germs. It has been recommended for a variety of health advantages and can be used to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs).
CBD is remarkably powerful at eliminating germs, particularly those that cause many serious diseases, such as staphylococci and streptococci, according to a study.
CBD for Bladder
CB1 receptors are abundant in pathways associated with bladder function. The bladder, the central nervous system, and the regions of the brain that connect with the bladder are all part of this circuit.
When CBD interacts with CB1 receptors, it has the potential to reduce urinary incontinence symptoms by strengthening the detrusor muscles. To hold or expel pee, the detrusor muscles expand and contract. Cannabis has also been proven in studies to help reduce the brain/bladder impulses that tell you to go when you don’t need to. However, scientists must conduct much more research.
Essential Oils for Urinary Tract Infection
UTIs are caused by an excess of bacteria in the urinary tract, most commonly Escherichia coli bacterium (E. coli). Essential oil must kill this type of bacteria in order to heal a UTI.
Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways. The oils can be diffused into the air or applied directly to the skin, usually after mixing with a carrier oil. Some oils should not be applied straight to the skin or should only be used after being thoroughly diluted.
The essential oils listed below may aid in the fight against the bacterium that causes UTIs:
- Clove Oil
- Oregano Oil
- Cinnamon Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Herbal Oils
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Cumin Oil
- Coriander Oil
- Buying CBD oil for UTI
Cibadol is an excellent brand for all your CBD needs. It has a wide range of products that you can choose from. Some of their best-selling products include CBD Gummies, CBD Softgel Pills and CBD Tincture. Kickstart your CBD journey with Cibadol today!