Combating an overactive bladder with THC and CBD
Studies have shown that many assume that OAB and UUI are part of the aging process and live with the conditions, not realizing that there are treatment options and often treatment options come with risks that make patients hesitate. Photo by iStock / Getty Images Plus
Thirty-three million Americans are living with overactive bladder disease or OAB. According to the National Association for Continence, OAB (sometimes called “spastic bladder”) is the “frequent and urgent need to empty your bladder.”
More than 50% of individuals with OAB also struggle with Urgency Urinary Incontinence (UUI), which affects the quality of life for both men, women, and non-binary individuals. Studies have shown that many assume that OAB and UUI are part of the aging process and live with the conditions, not realizing that there are treatment options and often treatment options come with risks that make patients hesitate.
Combating an overactive bladder with THC and CBD Back to video
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The two medicines often prescribed for OAB are powerful and can cause constipation, blurred vision, hallucinations, seizures, and coma. Could CBD and THC have a place in addressing the disorder, without troublesome side effects?
While OAB can’t be pinpointed to a single root cause, the central nervous system (which regulates impulse control and muscle memory) has a significant part to play. Often, damage to nerve fibers and receptors in the bladder can make the body more susceptible to bladder overactivity. From childbirth to aging, sports injuries to long-term illness, OAB can piggyback on another condition wreaking havoc with every sneeze or surprise.
Interestingly, a much-cited study in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists allowed researchers to discover that the cannabis inside THC improved urinary incontinence by almost 25%.
Kathleen Connell, MD, recently shared her thoughts on how THC and CBD have a place in urology, possibly assisting women with overactive bladders (OAB).
“Researchers found that the body has receptors for the cannabinoids CB1 and CB2 in the brain and bladder, as well as in other parts of the body. CB1, and to a lesser extent CB2, work at various levels on the detrusor muscles. Research is pointing toward the conclusion that CB1 receptors do have an impact on urination, and their manipulation with cannabinoids from marijuana has promise for treating OAB.”
Even more impressive, a study conducted in 2014 by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) found that cannabis helps relieve some symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), such as OAB, pain, and spasticity. More recently, a 2018 study found that “THC/CBD oromucosal spray has shown to be effective in improving overactive bladder symptoms in MS patients demonstrating a favorable impact on detrusor overactivity.”
Marijuana appears to have positive effects on the bladder system as a whole, as well. A 2015 study found that cannabis may have a hand in reducing a man’s risk for developing bladder cancer.
TheFreshToast.com, a U.S. lifestyle site, that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.
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CBD for Overactive Bladder – February 2022
Overactive bladder syndrome or OAB is a condition where one feels an uncontrollable and sudden urge to urinate.
OAB or urinary incontinence is caused when the bladder muscles or detrusor muscles involuntarily contract. These contractions can cause a person to urinate regardless of urine volume in the bladder.
Some conditions that may cause a person to experience OAB include diabetes, urinary tract infections, bladder stones or tumors, stroke, Parkinson’s d isease, multiple sclerosis (MS) , or hormonal changes.
A person with OAB may pass urine several times a day. Persons with this condition may experience emotional stress, interrupted sleep cycles, or sexuality issues affecting their social or work life (4) .
Some behavioral changes may allow a person to manage OAB and improve bladder control and overall wellness.
These changes include engaging in physical activity, exercising the pelvic floor muscles, maintaining a healthy diet, scheduling urination , and limiting smoking and consumption of alcohol (5) .
For OAB , other treatment options include taking prescription drugs, Botox injections, nerve stimulation, and surgery (6) .
Prescription drugs for OAB include oxybutynin, tolterodine, solifenacin, darifenacin, or fesoterodine. Oxybutynin may be taken as a pill or used as a gel or skin patch (7) .
What Studies Say About CBD ’s Effects on the Bladder
A pilot study by Maniscalco , Aponte , Bruzzese , and other researchers on the effects of cannabidiol on patients with multiple sclerosis OAB was conducted in 2017.
The researchers conducted clinical trials on several MS patients and evaluated leakage , detrusor muscle pressure, and spasticity .
The observation was done before and after tetrahydrocannabinol – cannabidiol oromucosal spray was applied to the patients.
Urodynamic findings after the treatment indicated a significant reduction of post-void residual volume. Bladder volume at the first desire and maximal cystometric capacity also increased. However, the amounts were insignificant.
The results showed that THC – CBD oromucosal sprays may improve bladder symptoms and detrusor overactivity (8) .
A 2010 review was published in the Indian Journal of Urology on the role of cannabinoid receptors in the bladder . T he researchers said that endocannabinoid receptors CB 1 and CB 2 in the bladder periphery may contribute to controlling bladder stimulus (9) .
Cannabinoids extracted from the Cannabis plant , like CBD , CBG , and THC , affect the CB 1 and CB 2 receptors . Unlike THC , CBD has no psychoactive effect characterized by a high sensation.
As of 2021, CBD has only been approved by the FDA to treat epilepsy (10) . Studies are still ongoing to determine and confirm the efficacy of CBD and medical marijuana on OAB .
How CBD Lowers Inflammation and Urinary Frequency
CBD may help manage various illnesses like neuroinflammation, epilepsy, vomiting and nausea, oxidative injury, and anxiety (11) .
Neuroinflammation is an inflammatory response in the central nervous system associated with various diseases like multiple sclerosis and stroke (12) . These diseases are some of the conditions that can trigger bladder dysfunctions like OAB .
CBD works by interac ting with the endocannabinoid system. The ECS contains receptors that regulate various body functions (13) , like CB 1 receptors in the central nervous system responsible for regulating inflammatory responses.
Can CBD Be Used to Manage Overactive Bladder Conditions?
The study by Maniscalco and colleagues showed that CBD as an oromucosal spray may effectively manage OAB (14) .
More clinical trials must be conducted to determine if other CBD oil products are as effective as THC – CBD oromucosal sprays .
How CBD Works on the Bladder
CBD may affect the bladder through the ECS, particularly the CB 1 and CB 2 receptors . This effect may help with controlling bladder stimulus (15) .
CBD also affects the ECS receptors that regulate inflammatory responses triggered by various neurological conditions like MC or stroke. These neurological conditions are known to cause OAB (16) .
Does CBD Create a Positive Effect on the Bladder?
The results from the 2017 study by Maniscalco and his team showed that CBD may have a favorable impact on detrusor muscle activity and help manage OAB symptoms (17) .
CBD is well tolerated and does not have the same psychoactive effects as THC , although both compounds are Cannabis extracts. However, the use of CBD may still cause side effects like diarrhea, reduced appetite, dry mouth , and fatigue (18) .
Patients with OAB are encouraged to consult a physician or professional health worker to determine if CBD is a practical option in managing OAB .