How Does CBD Help Your Gut Health

In the past few years, CBD and CBD based products have become extremely popular amongst pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies. CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, has certain health benefits that definitely cannot be denied. Since this compound has no psychoactive effects, it can be used by a wider range of people. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD has been used as a treatment for conditions that arise in the gut and digestive system.


Why is gut health so important?

In the past it was thought that our gut’s only function was to digest food to release nutrients into the body. Although no one can say that this function isn’t an important one, research shows that the gut does so much more and its health is the key to one’s well-being. 

Microbiome, a population of trillions of organisms such as bacteria, archaea, eukaryotic parasites, protozoa, and fungi live in our gut, and they are fundamental to our health. In fact, not only do they stimulate the immune system, but certain microbiome are also responsible for releasing neurotransmitters.  Therefore, the connection between gut health and mental health seems stronger than we assumed. Interestingly, patients with PTSD have lower levels of some types of gut bacteria.

Due to its importance, gut health is not something we should neglect, and instead, we should maintain it. Although many foods and diets can help with this, studies show that cannabinoids such as CBD have a significant part in supporting gut health. In fact, cannabis has been used for hundreds of years to treat various disorders associated with the gastrointestinal tract. So how exactly can CBD help?

CBD and irritable bowel syndrome

If you have trouble with flattening out the stomach or going to the toilet you might suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), since it leads to many unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach cramps. It can be caused by muscle contractions in the intestine, nerve abnormalities, inflammation, infection, as well as changes in the microflora of the gut. In addition, IBS can be triggered by eating certain foods, stress, and hormonal changes. 

Although irritable bowel syndrome can be treated with certain dietary changes, probiotics, and medications, studies have shown that CBD can be effective against IBS. Since cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects, they can help with treating symptoms like pain and inflammation. 

Enteric glial cells (EGC) maintain the integrity of the gut mucosa and play an important role in gut immunity. On the other hand, these cells generate inflammation as well. CBD can control the inflammatory response and ECG activation.

CBD and leaky gut

Various autoimmune conditions and chronic health issues like chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis can lead to problems with gut permeability also known as ‘leaky gut’. 

The gut is lined by epithelial cells linked together by tight junction proteins which form a tight barrier that controls what gets absorbed into the bloodstream. When the gut is healthy, only nutrients are able to pass through, whilst harmful substances are not. However, when leaky gut occurs, tight junctions have large cracks or holes, allowing partially digested food, toxins, bacteria and pathogens to penetrate the tissues beneath it. This causes the inflammation and changes in the gut flora which lead to problems within the digestive tract and beyond. 

There are numerous underlying causes of leaky gut, such as chronic stress, genetic predispositions, poor nutrition, toxin overload, and imbalance in the gut microbiota.

However, studies show that CBD can decrease the permeability at tight junctions, thus restoring the epithelial integrity of tight junctions. 

When you should not use CBD 

Although CBD has many health benefits, not just gut-related, you should steer clear of it in case you take certain medications which carry a warning about grapefruits and grapefruit juice. In addition, if you are pregnant you should avoid CBD. If your company screens its employees for drug use, keep in mind that using CBD can make you test positive. In addition, if you are receiving treatment for any kind of disease or you have an upcoming surgery, consult with your health providers about using CBD so they can monitor any changes and act accordingly. If you want pure CBD opt for the kind that comes from industrial hemp. If you are worried about pollutants, aim to choose organic since this plant just as most others takes up the pollutants and pesticide residues from its environment which could eventually irritate or disrupt your body’s digestive efforts.

CBD can improve your overall health and help you treat medical conditions. However, even though CBD is technically legal, there are some things you should be aware of. There are many types of the cannabis plant and for decades DEA treated them all the same, as a Schedule I substance which is illegal to produce or possess. However, things changed when the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 legalized hemp, cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC. Therefore, nowadays CBD products that come from a hemp plant are legal, while those that come from a marijuana plant are not.