Hemp As A Whole: CBD and Gut Health Part 2
In our previous blog, we discussed the gut-healing benefits of this powerful plant as a nutritional must-have. From a high-quality plant-based protein source to its boost in rich essential amino acids, it is no surprise that this versatile plant has made its way into alternative medicine doctor offices and health seekers supplement cabinets across the nation as one of the top gastrointestinal tract regulators.
The fascinating research into the gut microbiome over the past decade has revealed that the gut is the root of all wellness and that giving your digestive tract lots of TLC is absolutely essential for maintaining vibrant, lasting health.
Supporting the health of your gut might include things like consuming plenty of whole plant foods in your diet, taking prebiotic and probiotic supplements, spending time outdoors in nature, engaging in mindfulness practice, and making loving connections—but now we’re learning that hemp as a whole may be a worthwhile (and surprising!) addition to your gut health regimen.
Last week we discussed the benefits of hemp seeds and the nutrient profile they provide your body. This week, in part two of the Hemp and Your Gut Health series, we are going to cover how CBD and the other powerful cannabinoids work with your body and the astonishing findings of how CBD may just be the support your gut is seeking!
Before we dive into the vast world of CBD and its effectiveness in supporting and healing your gut microbiome, we first need to begin by understanding how this diverse plant works with your body to improve your digestion, gut inflammation, bloating, IBS symptoms, and overall gut well-being.
The Endocannabinoids System:
Within your miraculous body is a vast network of cell receptors and corresponding molecules known as the endocannabinoid system, which stretches across your brain, GI tract, nervous system, glands, skin, immune system, and connective tissues. The receptors (primarily CB1 and CB2) and the endocannabinoid molecules inside you fit together like locks and keys to help regulate bodily functions from head to toe.
Although the endocannabinoid system performs differently depending on the location in your body, its ultimate goal is to bring your body back into balance, homeostasis, and elevated well-being. In the late 80s, scientists discovered that we have cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in every organ system of the human body, and soon after in the early 90s, they found that we make our own cannabis-like compounds, endocannabinoids (ECs), and enzymes to produce and degrade them. Put all those elements together, and you have the ECS – a ‘new’ system in the body, just as important as our nervous system or our digestive system. It helps us respond to stress by modulating endocrine function, regulating “fight or flight”, and supporting a healthy inflammation/immune response.
It’s essential to understand the ECS if you want to understand how CBD works. CBD works by balancing and supporting the ECS through its subtle effects on CB1 and CB2 receptors, as well as other receptors that modulate serotonin, GABA, dopamine, and many that impact behavior and inflammation. That is why CBD has so many potential applications.
To learn more about this complex network system, please refer to this resource.
Now that we have the basics covered, we can begin to dive into the healing properties cannabinoids and the hemp plant as a whole can provide to your body and your microbiome.
The link between a robust microbiome and overall health has been clear for some time, and research shows supplementing with high quality, Full Spectrum CBD Oil is an excellent way to support your microbial community.
The exciting news is that evidence is beginning to support the theory that the gut microbiome is very much interconnected with the body’s endocannabinoid system, suggesting that probiotics and CBD might work together in a complementary way to keep your gut in top form.
Working as an immune modulator and a potent anti-inflammatory agent, CBD helps to balance ECS deficiencies. It’s interesting to note that deficiencies in the ECS are associated with pathological states including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and celiac symptoms. Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndromes (CEDS) may be improved with CBD because it prevents the breakdown of our ECs, prolonging their action. In fact, this is one of the main mechanisms of action of CBD.
With research still in its developing stages, here is what we know so far:
- When your microbiome is out of balance, it can compromise the gut barrier, leading to many unpleasant health challenges, such as uncomfortable digestion, anxious or sad mood, poor energy, and blood sugar issues.
- Animal research shows that cannabinoids like CBD improve the gut microbiome by increasing the numbers of beneficial microbes and inhibiting undesirable strains of bacteria that would otherwise compromise the gut barrier.
- CBD may strengthen gut barrier function. One study discovered that the body’s own endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids like CBD show promise in not only preventing the damaging of the intestinal lining but also in repairing and promoting a healthy gut barrier. Disruption of the gut barrier has been linked to a multitude of different autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
- Plant cannabinoids including CBD strengthen the gut barrier in vitro by reducing gut permeability associated with temporary inflammation. In a recent study, it stated that CBD can help with many different types of gut discomfort including bloating and nausea.
CBD shows promise for encouraging healthy digestion in general. With clinical studies showing that CBD and other cannabinoids seem to reduce temporary gut inflammation, overactive motility, bloating, abdominal discomfort, unsettled tummy, and poor appetite this natural support shows tremendous promise in improving the functioning of the gut.
When you have a healthy gut, many aspects of your life will change. You will experience a better overall mood, sleep better, have healthy skin, and experience greater energy levels and vitality. CBD is a recent discovery, and with time it is possible that even more benefits and links between CBD and the gut will be discovered.