Article written by
Tina MagrabiSenior Content Writer
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
Cannabis has shown potential in helping treat many conditions, including GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD affects approximately 20% of the U.S. population and causes symptoms like difficulty swallowing, chest pain, and vomiting.
- Thin Mints
- Ringo’s Gift
- Pure Kush
- Granddaddy Purple (GDP)
- Blue Hawaiian
- OG Kush
- Holy Grail Kush
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How Cannabis Affects GERD
GERD stems from frequent bouts of acid reflux triggered by spicy foods like curry and tomatoes. People with GERD have weakened lower esophageal sphincter sphincters, leading to inflammation and damage to the esophagus. A hiatal hernia occurs following damage to the esophagus. If you have GERD, you may also develop irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with accompanying stomach pain and digestive issues.
Through your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), cannabis plays a role in how your esophagus functions. An optimally functional ECS often correlates with a high-functioning esophagus (or other organs). The ECS contains CB1 and CB2 receptors found in the esophagus, meaning that cannabis may impact esophageal health. These cannabinoid receptors have also been identified in the larger gastrointestinal (GI) tract and may influence numerous digestive functions like gastric acid production.
Furthermore, inflammation is associated with GERD, and cannabis has proven anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, medical marijuana may be able to reduce the inflammation linked to a damaged esophagus.
Note that cannabis is not a cure for GERD, but the plant may be used to help treat the disorder’s symptoms.
Best Ways to Use Cannabis for GERD
Cannabis is known in popular culture for its ability to stir up “the munchies.” Appetite suppression is a side effect of GERD, as many people with the disorder eat less due to the pain of swallowing and digesting. As cannabis consumption often boosts appetite, you may find yourself eating more despite any discomfort from GERD.
You may also use cannabis to help soothe GERD-related pain, as the plant has shown to relieve many types of pain. In addition, cannabis has helped some people, including those undergoing chemotherapy, cope with nausea. Finally, if GERD gives you anxiety, you can often use cannabis or cannabidiol (CBD) to unwind and destress.
Regarding ingestion methods, you may opt to use topical cannabis or CBD products and apply them directly to external areas of discomfort. Sublingual CBD tinctures may be taken before and/or after meals to potentially counteract excess stomach acid production. Some people also enjoy smoking cannabis after meals to reduce nausea and cramping.
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Best Strains for GERD
The best strains for GERD are based on anecdotal reports from people who use cannabis. A strain that works well for you may not work as well for another person. So, remember that these strains are sometimes used to manage GERD symptoms but may not be effective for everyone.
Peppermint oil has been studied for its potential benefits on the digestive system, so it’s no surprise that the Thin Mints strain tops our list. This hybrid crosses Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) with Durban Poison and tastes like a refreshing after-dinner mint. Some people have reported that Thin Mints soothes their stomach and makes digestion easier.
Popular among people seeking pain relief, Ringo’s Gift may help ease discomfort in your esophagus. Painful swallowing is one of the most common symptoms of GERD, so a bit of this pain-relieving strain could spell relief for some.
Like Ringo’s Gift, Pure Kush is often praised for its pain-relieving abilities. The indica strain is also known for having the “couchlock” effect, so plan to spend an evening at home if you try the potent Pure Kush.
Granddaddy Purple (GDP)
Clocking in at close to 25% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on some tests, Granddaddy Purple packs an intoxicating wallop even for seasoned cannabis consumers. Tread lightly with this strain both if you’re new to cannabis and if you are not. Popular for nighttime use, Granddaddy Purple can help relax you after a heavy dinner has aggravated your GERD symptoms.
It is unknown whether stress directly causes GERD, but it’s safe to say that feeling stressed out won’t help the condition. Blue Hawaiian has a reputation as a mellowing strain that helps melt stress away. With its Blue Dream and Hawaiian sativa parentage, the strain simultaneously makes some users feel uplifted and relaxed.
A classic hybrid strain that has many uses, OG Kush has been noted for its anti-nausea effects. If you’re experiencing a sour stomach or vomiting from GERD, OG Kush could help settle your stomach. But use sparingly, as OG Kush has intense psychoactive potential with its high (up to 25%) THC content.
Holy Grail Kush
This strain’s name suggests that it could be the ultimate remedy for various conditions. Holy Grail Kush is a High Times award winner and offspring of OG#18 and Kosher Kush, two other prize-winning strains. Some people have claimed that Holy Grail Kush relieved several GERD symptoms, including nausea and abdominal pain while stimulating appetite.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can CBD cure GERD?
CBD is not a cure for GERD but can be used as a supplemental treatment. Sublingual tinctures (administered under the tongue) may be helpful before or after a meal. You may also use CBD topically and apply it to your chest or abdomen to relieve pain.
What’s the best way to use cannabis for GERD?
Cannabis may help treat general indigestion, stomach cramps, and GERD-related nausea. The cannabis plant may also be an appetite stimulant to help you consume more calories if you have started to eat less due to gastroesophageal reflux disease.