In a perfect storm of good news, three unique elements – artificial intelligence, legalization of hemp, and a pioneer in medical marijuana certification – are converging around a groundbreaking study into the efficacy of CBD for relieving the devastating consequences of irritable bowel syndrome.

The study is harnessing technology to pinpoint the benefits of CBD for irritable bowel syndrome, a condition affecting up to 45 million Americans. IBS patients attest to the relief delivered by CBD – the compound known as cannabidiol found in marijuana and hemp – but federal restrictions on marijuana research have left the scientific community in the dark, while IBS patients continue to suffer.

What is irritable bowel syndrome?

As many as 10 to 15 percent of Americans have IBS, although only about 5 percent are diagnosed, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder, with symptoms including:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Constipation or diarrhea.
  • Altered bowel habits, including sudden urges.

As the ACG stresses, IBS is not psychosomatic, and it is not something that sufferers “just have to live with.” It’s believed that IBS is caused by changes in nerves and muscles controlling the sensation and functioning of the bowel.

IBS is about two times more common in women than men, and is likelier to strike under the age of 50. While the pain and discomfort can be unsettling, IBS also has the power to disrupt lives, causing patients to miss school or work, withdraw from social interaction, or skip meals. Patients can endure depression and anxiety, which can cause the condition to worsen in a maddening feedback loop.

Targeting CBD use for IBS

Until passage of the Farm Bill, hemp was lumped into the same drug classification with marijuana, as a dangerous Schedule I narcotic. Severe restrictions on research have hampered efforts to delve deeply into the long-known but little-understood medicinal benefits of marijuana and its primary compounds, CBD and THC.

Without a foundation of research to call on, health care professionals have been stymied in finding answers to their questions. What constitutes an effective dose of CBD? How does it impact different conditions? What forms of CBD deliver the best outcomes?

While efforts are underway to reschedule marijuana itself, the Farm Bill at least eased hemp production and transport across state lines. The change opens doors for researchers eager to unlock the secrets to effectively treating a wide range of conditions.

In the wake of the Farm Bill’s passage, SciCann Therapeutics and FSD Pharma selected Pittsburgh-based medical cannabis healthcare system Compassionate Certification Centers™, in partnership with Affinity Bio Partners, to study the therapeutic benefits of hemp-derived CBD for IBS.

The three-month trial follows 20 or more subjects using CannaBot™, the cutting-edge AI bot from AI Health Outcomes. CannaBot, a smartphone app launched in 2018, compiles a database of knowledge that medical marijuana users can access for guidance.

Doner and Compassionate Certification Centers also plan to partner with a Pennsylvania university or medical school to do additional research in-state, as well as internationally.

“We are focused on combining cannabis-based therapy with other treatment modalities to get a better understanding of potential treatment synergies for specific conditions,” said researcher Dr. Bryan Doner, co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of the physician-owned Compassionate Certification Centers.

Pennsylvania allows medical marijuana use for 21 qualifying medical conditions. Patients must first obtain physician approval and a medical marijuana ID card. Compassionate Certification Centers provides medical cannabis evaluations and certifications, as well as CBD evaluations, with locations throughout Pennsylvania. The company currently has over a dozen certified physicians with backgrounds in pain management, oncology, neurology, pediatrics, gastroenterology, immunology, primary care, rehabilitation, emergency medicine, and other specialties.