Cannabinoids could help fight acute pancreatitis. The anti-inflammatory potential of cannabis has been an interesting topic to treat this disease. Studies have revealed that CBD has anti-inflammatory effects on animal models of pancreatitis. Could the same effects apply to humans? Does CBD really help prevent pancreatitis? Can CBD Help With Pancreatitis? A study in the journal Pancreas revealed that cannabidiol (CBD) had anti-inflammatory effects on mice with acute pancreatitis.
Cannabinoids to relieve acute pancreatitis
The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach and in front of the first and second lumbar vertebrae. It is made of lobules, small ducts come from each lobe and empty into a bigger duct, this pancreatic duct and the common bile duct join together and enter the duodenum (intestine). The pancreas produces both internal and external enzymes (proteins), which are necessary for digestion. Acute pancreatitis is a disease that consists of the sudden inflammation of the pancreas.
Causes of pancreatitis
The main causes of pancreatitis are the presence of gallstones trapped in the pancreatic ducts, or inflammation of the gallbladder. Either of these two reasons cause an obstruction of the common duct, which stop the digestive enzymes from going through the intestines.
The disease can be very dangerous. The most common symptoms include upper abdominal pain radiating to the back, difficulty to breath without any pulmonary cause, persistent nauseas and vomiting, which are rarely improvement by medication. High levels of sugar in blood or urine can also be found, as well as an increase in cells of the immune system. Treatment includes nothing that can be ingested. Rehydration, pain killers and nutritional support by intravenous. Surgical attention might be indicated in some cases.
Cannabis and acute pancreatitis
Inflammatory response in the pancreas is an important factor in the development of the disease. The anti-inflammatory potential of cannabis has been an interested topic since the endocannabinoid system was discovered in mammalian. However, there is also clinical evidence of cannabis inducing acute pancreatitis.
Benefits of cannabinoids in relieving acute pancreatitis
In 2013, a preclinical study showed the anti-inflammatory role of cannabidiol in mice with acute pancreatitis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychotropic bioactive component of cannabis with therapeutic properties.
Results demonstrated CBD treatment diminished TNF-alfa and IL-6. Both are pro-inflammatory proteins secreted mostly by T cells, macrophages, neutrophils and endothelial cells; all of these cells express endocannabinoid receptors on their structures. The presence of these receptors allows cannabinoids such as CBD to act on them and thus ameliorating pain and controlling acute pancreatitis.
In 2017, a clinical study was conducted to analyse severity and outcomes of acute alcoholic pancreatitis in cannabis users. Patients were studied during the period from 2006 to 2015. Urine drug screen test for THC were performed to patients.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychotropic component of cannabis. In terms of results, the researchers observed that among THC-positive patients, their acute pancreatitis was much less severe, much less painful than that of patients who had not used cannabis. THC-positive patients were therefore less likely to be admitted to intensive care units. The study found Cannabidiol rises the levels of IL-10, an anti-inflammatory protein, while THC, did not make any changes. Whatever the type of cannabinoid, the timing and route of consumption, as well as alcohol intake were not measure in the study. Therefore, more studies are needed to characterize the effects of medical cannabinoids in acute pancreatitis patients.
In 2017, a systemic review of the literature about Cannabis-Induced Acute Pancreatitis (AP) was made by a research group. The results showed that cannabis is a possible risk factor for development of acute pancreatitis especially in patients under the age of 35. Recurrent AP was also reported (57.7%) in patients, related to cannabis use, and (50%) of patients regarding further AP episodes after cannabis stopping. However, lack of parameters of cannabis use in this study impaired the ability to exanimate dose-dependent in the population. The mechanism remains unknown, but in animal models the activation of CB1 receptors by anandamide, a natural endogenous activator ligand, produced worsening of AP severity at high doses.
Today, data about cannabinoids and acute pancreatitis is conflicting, researchers are calling for new studies to better understand the molecular mechanism implicated in this painful and dangerous condition.
Did you like the post? Give us some feedback! This post has been done based on existent research to the date of publication of the article. Due to the increase in studies based on medical cannabis, the information provided can vary over time and we’ll keep informing in further writings.
 Sommermeyer, L. (1935). Acute Pancreatitis. The American Journal of Nursing, 35(12), 1157.doi:10.2307/3412015
 Goyal H, Guerreso K, Smith B, Harper K, Patel S, Patel A, et al. Severity and outcomes of acute alcoholic pancreatitis in cannabis users. Transl Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 2:60
 Barkin, J. A., Nemeth, Z., Saluja, A. K., & Barkin, J. S. (2017). Cannabis-Induced Acute Pancreatitis. Pancreas, 46(8), 1035–1038.doi:10.1097/mpa.0000000000000873
Does CBD Oil Help With Chronic Pancreatitis Attacks?
The pancreas is an abdominal gland located in front of the first and second lumbar vertebrae, right behind the stomach. It is responsible for digestion and metabolizing active ingredients in food and medications with external enzymes. The pancreas is made of lobules, small ducts that come from each lobe into a bigger duct. The pancreatic duct and the common bile duct connect with each other, entering the duodenum.
A healthy pancreas guarantees that metabolic functions and digestion are optimized. Any disturbance in the organ’s health may compromise these functions and lead to an array of health conditions, including pancreatitis.
Acute pancreatitis is a disease triggered by the sudden inflammation of the pancreas or the presence of gallstones trapped in the pancreatic ducts. Either of these two causes results in an obstruction of the common duct, making it impossible for the digestive enzymes to go through the intestines.
Pancreatitis can also be chronic, which is the underlying cause of Type 1 diabetes.
CBD has remarkable anti-inflammatory properties, but is it enough to relieve the symptoms of pancreatic diseases? Or should you only use it as an adjunctive treatment?
What does science say?
Does CBD Help with Pancreatitis? (Highlights)
- Research shows that CBD has anti-inflammatory effects on animals with acute pancreatitis (1).
- A 2016 study reported that CBD reduced inflammation markers in the pancreas of non-obese and diabetic rats (2).
- Another study from 2016 found that transdermal application of CBD reduced pain and inflammation in arthritic mice. Abdominal pain is one of the tell-tale symptoms of pancreatitis (3).
- In a 2020 review, CBD was found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Pancreatitis patients suffer from an inflamed pancreas (4).
- More human studies should be conducted on CBD’s potential therapeutic properties on pancreatitis.
CBD and Pancreatitis: What You Need to Know
Pancreatitis treatment aims at managing pain, especially in the upper abdomen. Doctors typically prescribe painkillers for this condition.
However, conventional pain medications may cause dangerous side effects, such as brain fog, constipation, nausea, sedation, slowed breathing, and further liver damage. Prescription painkillers are also highly addictive as the user builds a tolerance to them. This, in turn, increases the risk of an overdose.
A study published in the journal Pancreas highlighted CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects in the treatment of acute pancreatitis induced in mice with cerulein. Cerulein is a decapeptide (amino acid) involved in gastrointestinal smooth muscle movements as well as in pancreatic and gastric secretions. The authors of the study also discovered that CBD improved the pathological changes in the mice and lowered the activity of the pancreatic enzymes (5).
Acute pancreatitis occurs as a result of the sudden inflammation of the pancreas. The condition may range from mild to life-threatening. However, it is typically treatable with supportive management.
A study performed on non-obese diabetic mice in 2016 found that CBD curbed inflammation markers in the pancreas of the subjects. The research team also suggested that CBD may lower the incidence of type 1 diabetes.
The pancreas plays an important role in the management of insulin. Its inability to produce sufficient amounts of insulin may lead to type 1 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that allows the cells to process energy-producing sugar.
In a 2019 review published in the Journal of Pancreatic Cancer, the researchers investigated CBD and THC in terms of their effects on pancreatic cancer. The authors concluded that CBD and THC had antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects in pancreatic cancer models.
In other words, these cannabinoids may inhibit the growth of cancer cells and trigger their natural mechanism for programmed death. The loss of apoptotic control is one of the reasons why cancer cells can survive for long periods.
According to the review, cannabinoids may be useful as complementary therapies for pancreatic cancer. However, it recommends further research on the anti-cancer benefits of several cannabinoids, their formulations, and dosing under clinical conditions.
CBD Oil Benefits for Pancreatitis
CBD and other cannabinoids in CBD oil are derived from cannabis plants. This is the most common type of cannabinoids that can be used to treat pancreatitis. Other types include endocannabinoids (the ones produced in the body) and synthetic cannabinoids from laboratories.
Unlike THC, the other major cannabinoid, CBD doesn’t have mind-altering effects on people who take it.
Here are the most noteworthy benefits of CBD for pancreatitis.
CBD for Pancreatitis Pain
According to the current scientific literature on CBD’s potential benefits on pain-related conditions, the cannabinoid has remarkable analgesic properties.
A 2016 study reported that a topical CBD formulation reduced inflammation and pain in mice with arthritis. The mice that took 6.2 mg and 62 mg of topical CBD gels per day demonstrated reduced swelling of the joints and improved spontaneous pain markers.
The authors also mentioned that CBD didn’t have any side effects on the subjects.
In a 2020 randomized study published in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, the researchers analyzed CBD oil’s effects on patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy, which causes damage to nerves outside the brain and spinal cord (9).
The study found that severe neuropathic pain was reduced in the subjects that were administered CBD. Neuropathic pain is one of the side effects of chronic pancreatitis. The authors also noted that CBD was well-tolerated and might be an effective alternative to conventional painkillers prescribed for peripheral neuropathy.
A 2018 study from the journal Transplantation Proceedings evaluated CBD’s benefits for chronic pain patients who have had a kidney transplant (10).
Seven patients took 50 mg of CBD twice daily for three weeks. They slowly increased the dosage to 150 mg of CBD twice a day.
Four patients reported a positive partial response to CBD, while two patients experienced pain improvement. One patient didn’t notice any difference in pain levels.
CBD for Liver Inflammation
Inflammation is the key player in acute and chronic pancreatitis.
A 2020 review published in the journal Antioxidants pointed to CBD as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
A 2018 study that analyzed CBD’s effects on an in vitro (outside of living organism) model of allergic contact dermatitis showed that CBD and other phytocannabinoids changed inflammatory responses by modulating cytokine production in several experimental models of inflammation. The authors noted that CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties (12).
Cytokines are molecules that help maintain communication between the cells of the immune system. They play an essential role during immune responses, as they signal cells towards trauma sites, infection, and inflammation.
Current research suggests that oral administration of CBD might produce anti-inflammatory effects in animal models. CBD is known to help with two symptoms of inflammation — edema, and hyperalgesia.
Edema refers to swelling caused by the excessive fluid contained in the body tissues. Hyperalgesia means the increased sensitivity to pain sensations and exaggerated response to pain.
CBD for Pancreatitis-induced Nausea
Pancreatitis is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. As reported by a study shared in the British Journal of Pharmacology, CBD may be clinically relevant in reducing these symptoms. However, the study was referring to post-chemotherapy nausea.
A 2020 study assessed the potential benefits of continuous CBD administration on rat and shrew models. The authors found that CBD reduced vomiting in the shrews (14).
The research team mentioned that CBD’s effects against nausea were similar in male and female rodents. They suggested that CBD may be effectively used in reducing nausea and preventing vomiting in patients with chronic conditions. The subjects didn’t develop tolerance to the compound.
How CBD Works to Relieve the Symptoms of Pancreatitis?
The activation of digestive enzymes, while they’re still in the pancreas, is one of the main causes of pancreatitis. This occurrence triggers inflammation as it irritates the organ’s cells.
According to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, CBD’s anti-inflammatory benefits may stem from its ability to enhance signaling of the adenosine receptor A2A (15).
The authors of the study stated that CBD blocked the uptake of adenosine and decreased serum tumor necrosis factor — the substance that causes inflammation.
As an antagonist of the A2A adenosine receptor, CBD reverses this inflammatory response, suggesting that CBD’s mechanism of improving adenosine signaling by blocking its uptake results in lowered inflammation.
CBD delays the breakdown of adenosine from the extracellular space. Adenosine is a potent anti-inflammatory molecule that regulates immune function.
CBD’s effects on the symptoms of pancreatitis are also related to its interaction with the CB2 receptors in the immune system. On top of producing anti-inflammatory effects, CBD is also able to modulate the activity of the immune system, reducing hyperactivity without shutting it down like commonly prescribed immunosuppressants.
Pros and Cons of Using CBD for Pancreatitis
- Studies show that CBD is a promising treatment for pancreatitis.
- CBD has an excellent safety profile. It only has a few mild side effects when consumed in large doses, including dry mouth, appetite changes, dizziness, and diarrhea.
- There is no evidence of CBD dependence on animals and humans. Therefore, the potential for substance abuse is extremely low.
- There are no clinical human studies that would investigate CBD’s efficacy and safety specifically for pancreatitis.
- CBD is not supported by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). CBD products are also unregulated, so there’s a risk of buying a mislabeled or contaminated product.
How to Use CBD for Pancreatitis?
To begin with, consider the method of administration. It should suit your lifestyle and dosage preferences aside from providing high bioavailability.
CBD is available in many different forms. The most common type of product is CBD oil. This liquid extract is suspended in an inert oil — MCT oil, hemp seed oil, or olive oil — for better absorption and easier dosing. The oil is taken under the tongue with a glass dropper. Holding it there for about 60 seconds allows for direct absorption into the bloodstream. The effects are usually felt within 15–30 minutes after administration.
If you dislike the taste of CBD oil, capsules are a good alternative. CBD capsules provide a fixed amount of cannabidiol per serving, which makes dosing easier and more convenient. Capsules are portable and easy-to-take; you just swallow them down with water. However, since they need to pass through the digestive system, the effects are delayed by 30–90 minutes.
CBD edibles, such as honey sticks and gummies are another decent option for on-the-go users. They are available in plenty of flavors and are considered the most enjoyable form of CBD. Similar to capsules, edibles need more time to kick in than oils.
If you’re looking for fast relief from your pancreatitis symptoms, CBD vape pens will be your best bet. A vape pen contains CBD E-liquid that you inhale whenever you need your dose. Inhalation delivers CBD to the bloodstream through the lung tissue. The effects usually come within minutes after puffing the liquid.
Last but not least, CBD topicals can be used to address localized discomfort, such as abdominal pain during pancreatitis. You can combine a topical formulation with one of the above formats for a multifaceted approach to treating your condition.
Choosing the Right Product
Studies show that cannabis extracts produce the best results when administered as a combination of CBD and THC. However, medical-grade CBD from marijuana isn’t federally legal, so people are turning to hemp-derived CBD oil.
Hemp-based products are categorized as health supplements, and as such, they are not regulated by any government agency. This, in turn, creates opportunities for fly-by-night companies to churn out mediocre to low-quality products at premium prices.
Here are a few steps to follow if you want to ensure the high-quality of your CBD oil:
- Check the hemp source — as dynamic bio accumulators, hemp plants absorb every substance from their environment. The best CBD oils are made from hemp that has been grown organically, in clean soil, and without pesticides. They yield CBD-rich flowers, which are the perfect source material for full-spectrum extracts.
- Opt for full-spectrum CBD — full-spectrum extracts are made from the whole plant. They contain all naturally occurring compounds in hemp, including CBD, the supportive cannabinoids, terpenes, and traces of THC. These substances help the body process CBD more efficiently due to their synergistic effects. Full-spectrum CBD is more desired than CBD isolate among users due to that mechanism.
- Look for third-party lab reports — reputable CBD companies send samples of their products to independent laboratories for testing. These laboratories analyze the potency of CBD and check for common contaminants, such as pesticides, heavy metals, mycotoxins, and solvent residue. The results should be proven with the Certificate of Analysis (CoA) displayed on the company’s site or shared on request.
CBD Dosage: How Much to Take for Pancreatitis?
When using CBD for pancreatitis, you should check with a holistic doctor experienced in cannabis use. Doing so will help you figure out the potentially effective dosage range for your situation.
The rule of thumb is to start with a low dosage and gradually increase the amount of CBD until you achieve the desired effects. Severe cases of pancreatitis may require higher-than-average doses.
Although studies haven’t yet looked at dosing for CBD in pancreatitis patients, one clinical study has found that CBD’s effects are dose-dependent. 57 participants took different doses of CBD — 150 mg, 300 mg, and 600 mg) before taking part in a simulated public speaking test.
The subjects who took 300 mg of CBD reported a significant reduction in their anxiety levels before their test. The other groups didn’t notice considerable improvements.
The research team concluded that CBD’s efficacy follows a bell-shaped dose-response pattern. However, an Israeli study from 2015 found that the pattern doesn’t apply to full-spectrum extracts, meaning that whole-plant products may be more consistent and predictable when it comes to dosage.
Summarizing the use of CBD for Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis is a debilitating condition that can affect both humans and animals. Commonly prescribed medications for this disease may have dangerous effects in pancreatitis patients, hence the popularity of CBD as a potentially effective alternative treatment.
Studies have demonstrated that CBD might not only help with the condition itself, but also with the associated symptoms. Researchers also found that CBD may alleviate pain, inflammation, and nausea — problems experienced by people with pancreatitis.
The painkilling effects of CBD appear to be bolstered when a certain amount of THC is introduced in a formulation. For this reason, you should look for products with the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Before taking CBD oil for pancreatitis, we encourage you to seek medical advice among professionals. The condition can be life-threatening, and a consultation with an experienced specialist will help you find the right dosage and avoid potential CBD-induced drug interactions.
- Li, Kun et al. “Anti-inflammatory role of cannabidiol and O-1602 in cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis in mice.” Pancreas vol. 42,1 (2013): 123-9. doi:10.1097/MPA.0b013e318259f6f0
- Lehmann, Christian et al. “Experimental cannabidiol treatment reduces early pancreatic inflammation in type 1 diabetes.” Clinical hemorheology and microcirculation vol. 64,4 (2016): 655-662. doi:10.3233/CH-168021
- Hammell, D C et al. “Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis.” European journal of pain (London, England)vol. 20,6 (2016): 936-48. doi:10.1002/ejp.818
- Atalay, Sinemyiz et al. “Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol.” Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 9,1 21. 25 Dec. 2019, doi:10.3390/antiox9010021
- Sharafi, Golnaz et al. “Potential Use of Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer.” Journal of pancreatic cancer vol. 5,1 1-7. 25 Jan. 2019, doi:10.1089/pan can.2018.0019
- Lehmann, C. op. cit.
- Sharafi, Golnaz et al. “Potential Use of Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer.” Journal of pancreatic cancer vol. 5,1 1-7. 25 Jan. 2019, doi:10.1089/pan can.2018.0019
- Hammell, D C. op. cit.
- Sharafi, Golnaz et al. “Potential Use of Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer.” Journal of pancreatic cancer vol. 5,1 1-7. 25 Jan. 2019, doi:10.1089/pan can.2018.0019
- Xu, Dixon H et al. “The Effectiveness of Topical Cannabidiol Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities.” Current pharmaceutical biotechnology vol. 21,5 (2020): 390-402. doi:10.2174/1389201020666191202111534
- Shafari, G. op. Cit.
- Cuñetti, L et al. “Chronic Pain Treatment With Cannabidiol in Kidney Transplant Patients in Uruguay.” Transplantation proceedings vol. 50,2 (2018): 461-464. doi:10.1016/j.transproceed.2017.12.042
- Petrosino, Stefania et al. “Anti-inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychotropic Cannabinoid, in Experimental Allergic Contact Dermatitis.” The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics vol. 365,3 (2018): 652-663. doi:10.1124/jpet.117.244368
- Rock, Erin M et al. “Evaluation of repeated or acute treatment with cannabidiol (CBD), cannabidiol acid (CBDA) or CBDA methyl ester (HU-580) on nausea and/or vomiting in rats and shrews.” Psychopharmacology vol. 237,9 (2020): 2621-2631. doi:10.1007/s00213-020-05559-z
- Carrier, Erica J et al. “Inhibition of an equilibrative nucleoside transporter by cannabidiol: a mechanism of cannabinoid immunosuppression.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol. 103,20 (2006): 7895-900. doi:10.1073/pnas.0511232103
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.
CBD Oil for Pancreatitis – August 2022
Pancreatitis treatment involves pain management , especially in the upper abdomen . Doctors typically prescribe pain medications for this condition (6 ) .
However, these pain medications may have side effects , such as constipation, nausea, slowed breathing, drowsiness, sedation, or clouded thinking (7 ) .
A study published in the journal Pancreas reported that CBD had anti-inflammatory effects on mice with cerulein -induced acute pancreatitis (8 ) .
The researchers also found that CBD improved the pathological changes of the mice test subjects and decreased the activities of the pancreatic enzymes.
Acute pancreatitis is defined as the sudden inflammation of the pancreas. This condition may be mild or life-threatening. However, it typically subsides with supportive management (9 ) .
Cerulein is a decapeptide (amino acids) involved in gastrointestinal smooth muscle contractions and pancreatic and gastric secretions (10 ) .
Research conducted in 2016 stated that CBD reduced inflammation markers in the pancreas of non-obese and diabetic mice (11 ) .
The authors also suggested that CBD treatment lowered the incidence of type 1 diabetes in rodent test subjects.
The pancreas’ inability to produce sufficient insulin may result in type 1 diabetes (12 ) . Insulin is the hormone that allows energy-producing sugar to enter the cells.
A 2019 review in the Journal of Pancreatic Cancer investigated CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) effects on pancreatic cancer . The authors found that CBD and THC had antiproliferative (cell growth-inhibiting) and proapoptotic effects in pancreatic cancer models (13 ) .
The term ‘proapoptotic’ means having the ability to promote apoptosis, the cell’s natural mechanism for programmed death. The loss of apoptotic control may result in a more extended survival period of cancer cells (14 ) .
The authors also suggested that CBD and other cannabinoids may be useful as adjunct therapies for pancreatic cancer. However, they recommend further research on the anti-cancer properties of several cannabinoid formulations, treatment dosing, and more clinical studies.
Cannabinoids are compounds that aid the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in regulating vital functions, such as mood, memory, appetite, and pain perception (15 ) .
Cannabinoids may come from the body or laboratories. They may also be derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, such as CBD and THC.
Unlike CBD, THC has mind-altering effects on individuals who take this substance.
CBD for Pain
Currently, research on the effects of CBD products on abdominal pain is lacking. However, there is literature on CBD’s purported benefits on health conditions related to pain.
A 2016 research reported that transdermal CBD reduced pain and inflammation in mice with arthritis. The rodents that were given 6.2mg and 62mg of transdermal CBD gels per day exhibited diminished swelling of the joints and improved spontaneous pain scores (16 ) .
The authors also noted that CBD did not have adverse effects on the rodents.
A 2020 randomized study in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology examined CBD oil ’s effects on patients diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy (damage to nerves outside the brain and spinal cord) (17 ) .
The authors found that intense neuropathic pain was reduced in the patients that were given CBD. Neuropathic pain can also result from chronic pancreatitis.
They also noted that CBD treatment was well-tolerated and might be an effective pain relief alternative to the conventional peripheral neuropathy therapies.
A 2018 study documented in the journal Transplantation Proceedings assessed CBD’s effects on chronic pain in patients who have undergone kidney transplants (18 ) .
Seven patients were given 50mg of CBD twice daily for three weeks. The dosage was slowly increased to 150mg of CBD twice a day.
Two patients reported pain improvement, while four patients experienced a positive partial response to the substance. One patient did not report any changes to their condition.
CBD for Inflammation
Inflammation has a crucial role in acute and chronic pancreatitis (19 ) .
A 2020 review archived in the journal Antioxidants outlined the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. The researchers also noted that CBD had antioxidant effects (20 ) .
A 2018 study looked into CBD’s effects on an in vitro (research performed outside of a living organism) model of allergic contact dermatitis (21 ) .
The researchers suggested that CBD and other phytocannabinoids modulated inflammatory responses by regulating cytokine production in several experimental models of inflammation.
The researchers noted that CBD demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties in an experimental model of allergic contact dermatitis.
Cytokines are molecules that signal cells and help in cell-to-cell communication. Their role is vital, especially during immune responses, as they stimulate cells to move towards inflammation, infection, or trauma sites (22 ) .
According to research, orally administered CBD might have anti-inflammatory effects. The authors administered CBD to rats that had inflamed paws (23 ) .
They found that CBD improved two symptoms associated with inflammation, which are edema and hyperalgesia.
Edema is defined as swelling caused by excessive fluid trapped in body tissues (24 ) . Hyperalgesia is the increased sensitivity to feeling pain and the extreme response to pain (25 ) .
CBD for Nausea
Nausea and vomiting are some symptoms associated with pancreatitis (26 ) .
According to research archived in the British Journal of Pharmacology , CBD might be clinically useful in relieving vomiting and nausea caused by chemotherapy and other treatments (27 ) .
A 2020 study evaluated the effects of repeated CBD administration on rat and shrew test subjects. The authors discovered that the substance reduced vomiting in shrews (28 ) .
The researchers observed that CBD’s anti-nausea effects were similar in male and female rodents. They suggested that CBD might be an effective anti-nausea and antiemetic (vomit-preventing) treatment for chronic conditions.
The authors also noted that CBD use did not develop tolerance in the test subjects.
How CBD Oil Works to Alleviate Symptoms of Pancreatitis
One of the primary causes of pancreatitis is when digestive enzymes are activated while still in the pancreas. This occurrence irritates the organ ’s cells and leads to inflammation (29 ) .
A study found in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America reported that CBD’s inflammatory effects might be caused by its ability to promote signaling of the adenosine receptor A2A (30 ) .
According to the researchers, CBD inhibited the uptake of adenosine and decreased serum tumor necrosis factor. This substance causes inflammation in mice test subjects.
An A2A adenosine receptor antagonist reverses this anti-inflammatory effect, showing that CBD’s action of enhancing adenosine signaling through inhibition of uptake leads to a decrease in inflammation.
Adenosine uptake inhibitors delay the disappearance of adenosine from the extracellular space (31 ) . Adenosine is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that regulates inflammatory cell function (32 ) .
This research presents CBD’s anti-inflammatory mechanism of action that does not involve the cannabinoid receptors . These receptors typically bind with cannabinoids and help the ECS maintain vital body functions.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Pancreatitis
- Previously mentioned studies showed that CBD could theoretically be promising in the treatment of pancreatitis cases .
- CBD is generally safe to use. It has no adverse side effects (33 ) .
- There are no case reports on CBD dependence in animals and humans (34 ) . Thus, the potential for substance abuse is unlikely.
- Further research is warranted on CBD’s properties and potential ability to help treat pancreatitis . There is no current literature that proves CBD is currently helpful in pancreatitis.
- CBD may have a favorable safety profile. Still, the substance has side effects, including tiredness, changes in weight or appetite, and diarrhea (35 ) .
- CBD use for pancreatitis treatment is not supported by the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA).
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Pancreatitis
Alternative and complementary treatments for pancreatitis include yoga and acupuncture (36 ) .
Research in the journal Gut reported that yoga might help decrease self-perceptions of pain and anxiety in the test subjects. The authors also observed reduced pain medication usage in the participants (37 ) .
The study was done on 30 patients with chronic pancreatitis who were undergoing difficulties with pain, anxiety, and weight loss . The research duration was 12 weeks.
Research found in the journal Pancreas stated that acupuncture offered pain relief in 15 patients with chronic pancreatitis. However, the authors noted that the analgesic effects of acupuncture were short-term (38 ) .
They made a follow-up one week after the study was conducted. The participants did not report any difference in clinical pain scores.
Compared to yoga, CBD may also have anxiety-reducing effects.
A 2014 study conducted in animal models found that CBD had anxiolytic and antidepressant properties (39 ) .
Like acupuncture, CBD may have analgesic effects beneficial in the treatment of chronic pain (40 ) .
How to Choose the Right CBD for Pancreatitis
A study showed that formulations combining CBD and THC resulted in significant pain relief (41 ) .
However, the use of medical marijuana or any other medical cannabis product is not legal in all US states (42 ) .
A CBD oil type offers products with legal amounts of THC content. This CBD type is known as full-spectrum CBD.
Full-spectrum CBD oils use all the ingredients of the Cannabis sativa plant, including less than 0.30% THC, terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and essential oils.
It is believed that these components synergize and derive maximum therapeutic benefits from the plant. This mechanism is called the entourage effect.
However, THC in full-spectrum CBD products may still be detected in some drug tests.
Those who prefer CBD products without THC may buy broad-spectrum CBD. This CBD type has the same content as full-spectrum CBD except for THC.
Individuals who want pure cannabidiol may purchase CBD isolates.
For pancreatitis relief, full-spectrum CBD oils and products are recommended.
However, individuals are encouraged to consult with a medical professional before taking any CBD product.
CBD Dosage for Pancreatitis
When using CBD for pancreatitis, individuals should begin with a low dosage and gradually increase dosing until desired effects are achieved.
However, individuals cannot merely increase the dosage, even for severe cases of pancreatitis.
Although no study has looked at dosing for CBD in pancreatitis, a study showed that CBD’s efficacy might be dose-dependent. Fifty-seven test subjects received different doses of CBD (150mg, 300mg, and 600mg) before undergoing a simulated public speaking test (43 ) .
The participants who received 300mg of CBD reported significantly reduced anxiety before their speech test.
Those who were given 150mg and 600mg of CBD did not report any positive changes in their anxiety.
The researchers concluded that CBD’s efficacy follows a bell-shaped dose-response curve. Too little or excessive CBD doses might not be effective.
Individuals should determine the CBD dosage that is optimal for them. Before using CBD, chronic or acute pancreatitis patients should first consult with their healthcare provider .
How to Take CBD for Pancreatitis
CBD may be taken orally. CBD oils or tinctures (drops) may be ingested directly or applied sublingually (under the tongue) for added efficacy.
CBD oils may also be mixed with food or beverages to mask the grassy taste of the substance.
Other formats, such as edibles , capsules, and pills, offer convenient and consistent dosing of CBD.
CBD topicals, such as salves, balms, and lotions, may be applied on the abdomen to ease abdominal pain.
For instant effects, CBD may be inhaled via vape pens. However, vaping is known to cause lung problems in some individuals (44 ) .
Pancreatitis is a condition characterized by inflammation in the pancreas. It may be acute or chronic (45 ) .
Acute pancreatitis appears suddenly, lasts for days, and goes away. Meanwhile, chronic pancreatitis happens for many years. However, severe forms of the disease can lead to life threatening illness.
Acute pancreatitis symptoms include:
- Upper abdominal pain
- Pain in the abdomen that eventually affects the back
- Abdominal pain that worsens after eating
- Rapid pulse
- Tenderness when the abdomen is touched
Chronic pancreatitis symptoms include:
- Upper abdominal pain
- Effortless weight loss
- Oily and smelly stool (steatorrhea)
According to findings from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, causes of acute pancreatitis include gallstones (46 ) .
Gallstones enter the small intestine through the common bile duct. These gallbladder stones build up on the common bile duct, which harms the pancreatic duct (47 ) .
The stones then obstruct the flow of pancreatic fluid, resulting in pancreatic injury. Gallstones may also cause a backflow of bile into the pancreatic duct, which also injures the pancreas.
A procedure used to treat gallstones, known as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) , may also be a cause of acute pancreatitis (48 ) .
Meanwhile, chronic pancreatitis is caused by heavy alcohol use, cystic fibrosis and other genetic disorders, increased fat or calcium levels in the blood, certain medications, and autoimmune conditions.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder that severely damages the digestive system, lungs, and other body organs (49 ) .
Risk factors of individuals developing pancreatitis include cigarette smoking, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and a family history of pancreatitis (50 ) .
To manage pancreatitis pain, doctors prescribe a high-protein and low-fat diet (51 ) .
Pancreatitis and Pets
Pancreatitis may also affect pets. In dogs, symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, lethargy, fever, decreased appetite, and diarrhea (52 ) .
Dogs experiencing a pancreatitis attack may take a praying position, with their rear end up. At the same time, their front legs and head are lowered onto the floor.
Pancreatitis in dogs is a serious disease that could lead to acute shock, severe depression, and even death.
Its causes in dogs are unknown. However, in some cases, the condition may be triggered by dogs’ consumption of a fatty meal or corticosteroid administration.
Cats exhibit the same symptoms as dogs with pancreatitis. It occasionally occurs in cats. However, cats with this condition often experience inflammation in the liver and intestines (53 ) .
CBD may be used to help relieve pancreatitis-induced pain in pets.
A 2018 study published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science reported that CBD helped increase the comfort and activity of dogs diagnosed with osteoarthritis. The researchers did not observe any harmful effects of CBD in the canines (54 ) .
Pancreatitis is a severe condition that affects humans and animals. Conventional medications for this disease may have detrimental effects in pancreatitis patients.
Studies showed that CBD might be beneficial for pancreatitis and associated symptoms. Research also found that CBD might have properties that could help alleviate pain, inflammation, and nausea, conditions experienced by people who have pancreatitis.
Researchers found that the use of cannabis (THC in particular) with CBD might have properties that could significantly reduce pain. However, cannabis use is not legal in all states of the US.
Full-spectrum CBD contains legal amounts of THC. This CBD type is recommended for users who want to explore the substance’s benefits on their pancreatitis.
CBD may also be used in pets. Animal studies have shown that it does not have dangerous side effects on animals.
Before taking CBD for pancreatitis, it is recommended to seek the medical advice of professionals first as the disease can be dangerous.