In recent years, gut health has become of utmost importance within the health and wellness areas. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, brain health, heart health, better sleep, better mood and, of course, healthy digestion. Better gut health means better overall health. How does one achieve better gut health? Eat fermented food such as yogurt, eat your veggies & fruits, eat foods rich in polyphenols, take probiotics, and start a solid regimen of CBD. So what’s the connection between CBD and gut health? Let’s dive in.
Let’s start by discussing your gut health, otherwise called your second brain. “Gut health” describes the function and balance of bacteria of the many parts of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes all the organs of the digestive system.
In a healthy digestive system, food is eventually broken down in the gut to a simple form that can enter the bloodstream and be delivered as nutrients throughout our bodies. A healthy gut contains healthy bacteria and immune cells that fight off infectious agents like fungi, viruses, and bacteria. The gut also communicates with the brain through hormones and nerves but also through the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), helping to maintain overall health and well-being.
The ECS receptors, including CB1 and CB2, are highly concentrated in the central nervous system (brain) and digestive system (includes the gut). CBD may also play a key part in supporting gut health as CBD is known to have an indirect effect upon both the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Photo credit: hawaiianethos.com
While more research is needed, studies have shown CBD could help to ease the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders, such as IBD and IBS.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) & Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term used to describe disorders that involve chronic inflammation of your digestive tract. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the principal types of inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn's disease affects the small intestine and large intestine, as well as the mouth, esophagus, stomach and the anus, whereas ulcerative colitis primarily affects the colon and the rectum. Although irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) isn't as well understood, it shares many of the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. As an anti-inflammatory, CBD may be useful in managing IBD and IBS.
Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can cause a range of symptoms including stomach problems, excess acid, pain, and loss of appetite. As discussed in our previous blog, research suggests that CBD can reduce cortisol (the stress chemical) and increase serotonin, helping one relax and limit stress related stomach problems.
Studies have shown that the ECS affects gut mobility, inflammatory and immune responses, and gastrointestinal absorption having vast implications on our overall gut health. While further research is needed about how CBD influences gut health, it’s clear that CBD can be a great way to enhance the well-being of the “second brain.”