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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
6. Symptoms of IC – Interstitial Cystitis Association. (2020, April 28). Retrieved November 24, 2020, from https://www.ichelp.org/about-ic/symptoms-of-ic/ .
According to the Interstitial Cystitis Association (ICA), IC patients have a higher chance of developing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), endometriosis , vulvodynia, fibromyalgia , pelvic floor dysfunction, and migraines ( 6 ), with many of these disorders also qualifying for a medical marijuana card.
Note: Veriheal does not intend to give this as professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self- diagnose, or prescribe treatment based on the information provided on this page. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.
What Interstitial Cystitis Patients Think About Cannabis
Dosage is particular to individual biology and other factors. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to speak with your doctor before trying medical marijuana for IC or other conditions. The doses above do not reflect beginning doses for most patients, but serve as potential guidelines of ideal doses. It is best to start with smaller doses and work yourself up to larger doses in order to minimize psychoactive effects.
Both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS can be found in the cells that make up the bladder, making marijuana a good potential treatment option for bladder pain as seen in animal studies that mimic IC and bladder pain ( 9 ).
Dr. Nickel cites the following as average dosages to work up to depending on the individual ( 3 ):
For more information on how CB2 receptors and the ECS works, please see our page on endocannabinoids here .