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Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid travels back into a person’s esophagus, and frequent acid reflux can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Cannabidiol (CBD) may help calm the soft muscle tissue within the gastrointestinal tract, although more research is necessary before scientists can confirm this.

When acid regularly travels back up into a person’s esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach, it can lead to GERD.

The most common cause of acid reflux is the digestion of acidic food, such as

  • chocolate
  • coffee
  • citrus fruits
  • spicy foods
  • peppermint

Specific medications can also result in acid reflux as a side effect.

CBD may have some positive effects on acid reflux, and this article will look at the current evidence in more detail.

Although they share close links, acid reflux and GERD are different. Acid reflux is the return of stomach acid into the esophagus. During acid reflux, a person may also experience heartburn. This usually occurs after eating a large meal or spicy and acidic foods. Drinking alcohol can also cause acid reflux.

Acid reflux can also occur sporadically, and dietary changes may help ease its symptoms.

However, if a person experiences these symptoms twice or more in a week, this can be a sign of GERD. Symptoms can include:

  • heartburn
  • acid reflux
  • difficulty swallowing
  • chest pain

An individual may also notice worsened symptoms when they lie down.

If a person suspects they may have GERD, they should speak with a doctor or healthcare professional. Prescription medications can help ease symptoms.

CBD is one of the many compounds of the Cannabis sativa (C. sativa) plant. According to a 2017 report by the World Health Organization (WHO), it does not create dependency in those using it.

Below are some helpful terms relating to CBD.

TermMeaning
CBDA compound within the C. sativa plant that does not create the “high” sensation that individuals commonly associate with cannabis use.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)A compound in the C. sativa plant. It is the psychoactive compound that creates a high sensation from cannabis use.
Full spectrumA full-spectrum product will contain all of the natural compounds in the cannabis plant, including THC. However, THC levels must be no more than 0.3% to comply with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation on full-spectrum CBD products.
Broad spectrumBroad-spectrum products contain natural compounds of the cannabis plant. However, while manufacturers remove all or most of the THC in broad-spectrum CBD, it may still be present in trace amounts.
CBD isolateThis is the purest form of CBD and should contain 0% THC.
CannabinoidsThe compounds within the cannabis plant, of which there are over 120. CBD is the second richest compound in the plant after THC.
TerpenesAnother compound of the C. sativa plant, terpenes typically give plants their specific aromas. Some terpenes, such as limonene, may have specific health benefits.
Certificate of analysis (COA)Reputable manufacturers of CBD products should ensure a COA is available for inspection. These certificates provide information on the third-party testing that independent labs conduct on a particular product. Sometimes, products will have a scannable smartphone code that directs people to the COA online.

A 2017 review states a person’s endocannabinoid system, which reacts to CBD, has antisecretory effects on gastric acid. It also helps anti-inflammatory properties within the digestive system and could therefore relieve symptoms of GERD.

However, scientists need to conduct further studies on the effects of CBD on GERD to confirm these findings.

CBD can work with a person’s cannabinoid receptors, specifically within their gastrointestinal tract. One of the potential effects of CBD is calming the soft muscle tissue. This helps regulate muscle contraction and provide pain relief for heartburn.

In a 2018 report, the WHO found CBD does not have toxic effects on humans and concluded that it may complement the treatment of various medical conditions. Again, experts need to carry out further research to support this theory.

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high-quality ingredients that are clearly labeled. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: MNT chooses products that must clearly state the CBD dosage.
  • Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a dosage.
  • Third-party labs: MNT chooses products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available COA: MNT chooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s COA following receipt of its third-party lab results.

Below are some CBD products to consider.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Leaf Remedies Full Spectrum Tincture

CBD typeCBD DosageQuantityPrice
full spectrum500–3,000 mg30 ml$39.99–99.99

subscription option available

Leaf Remedy sources its hemp from plants that grow in Colorado. Its extraction process ensures no unwanted properties contaminate its products. The product reportedly contains less than 0.3% THC.

Pros and cons

Here are some advantages and drawbacks of this product:

Pros

  • available in natural or mint flavor
  • gluten free
  • available in a range of dosages

However, one disadvantage is that it may not suit those with a mint allergy.

A person can view the COA online here.

BlueBird Botanicals CBD oil

CBD typeCBD dosageQuantityPrice
full spectrum5 mg per serving1 oz$19.95

subscription option available

This product gets its flavor from natural ingredients, and the company claims it contains less than 0.01% THC.

Pros and cons

There are some advantages and drawbacks of this product:

Pros

  • sugar free
  • natural flavor
  • cost effective

However, this product contains THC and therefore may not suit those looking for a THC-free product.

Individuals can view the COA for this product online.

MedTerra CBD Oil Tincture

CBD typeCBD dosageQuantityPrice
CBD isolate
broad spectrum
full spectrum
500–6,000 mg30 ml $26.99–116.99

Containing natural flavorings, Medterra uses United States hemp with CBD using a CO2 extraction method. This process helps ensure there are no unwanted contaminates.

Pros and cons

Here are some advantages and drawbacks of this product:

Pros

  • variety of strengths
  • unflavored options
  • cost effective

However, some options are expensive, and citrus flavors may exacerbate acid reflux symptoms in some individuals.

The product COA is available to view online.

PlusCBD Peppermint Spray

CBD typeCBD dosageQuantityPrice
full spectrum100–500 mg1–1.86 oz$19.99–54.99

PlusCBD makes full use of the hemp plant by incorporating the plant’s fatty acids and CBD into its products. The brand claims its spray option makes doses easier to distribute.

Pros and cons

Here are some advantages and drawbacks of this product:

Pros

  • free from genetically modified organisms
  • vegan
  • cruelty free

Cons

  • peppermint flavor may not suit a person with acid reflux
  • may not suit those with a mint allergy
  • has a comparatively lower dosage of CBD

The COA for this product is available to view here.

Koi Naturals CBD Oil Tincture

CBD typeCBD dosageQuantityPrice
full spectrum
broad spectrum
250–3,000 mg30–60 ml$29.99–199.99

Providing a wide variety of strengths and flavors, Koi Naturals claims to only use plants from high quality farms in the U.S.

Pros and cons

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of this product:

Pros

  • available in a wide variety of strengths
  • a choice of flavors, including
    • unflavored
    • lemon and lime
    • lemon
    • orange
    • strawberry
    • sweet apple
    • peppermint
    • spearmint
  • cost-effective options available

However, some options are comparatively expensive, while citrus and mint options can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms or allergies.

The company has shown its COA here.

A person should speak with a doctor if they experience any of the following symptoms, twice weekly or more:

  • acid reflux
  • heartburn
  • difficulty swallowing

Here are some common questions and answers relating to CBD for GERD and acid reflux.

Are there other treatments for GERD besides CBD?

According to a 2018 report, the initial step for a person wanting to reduce symptoms of GERD is typically dietary modifications. However, the authors noted that studies looking at lifestyle and dietary changes for this condition are not robust.

They add that elevating the head is suitable for managing GERD, as it minimizes acid reflux in a person with GERD when lying down. It also recommends minimizing alcohol consumption, smoking, nighttime snacks, fatty meals, and large dinners.

Can CBD make acid reflux worse?

Although there are minimal studies on CBD’s effects on acid reflux, researchers believe it is not toxic to humans.

However, future investigations will help support this.

What should a person look for when choosing CBD for acid reflux?

Whether a person chooses CBD in capsule, oil, or spray form is a personal preference. They may also consider their budget, delivery times, and manufacturer authenticity. However, if an individual uses CBD to counter the effects of acid reflux, they should consider avoiding CBD featuring mint or citrus fruit flavors. This is because these flavorings are acidic and may exacerbate acid reflux symptoms.

Acid reflux occurs when a person’s stomach acid travels up the esophagus, typically following spicy or acidic foods or alcohol. If acid reflux occurs twice a week or more, this could indicate GERD. In these cases, a person can consider speaking with a doctor or healthcare professional.

Researchers believe CBD works with a person’s gastrointestinal receptors to ease the symptoms of acid reflux. It does this by helping control muscle contractions. It also helps anti-inflammatory properties within the digestive system and could therefore relieve symptoms of GERD. However, further studies are necessary to confirm this.