You’ve probably heard the buzz about CBD, the wellness world’s newest darling. But did you know it has benefits for those struggling with gut and digestive issues? Derived from the cannabis plant, cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become a popular alternative therapy for a range of conditions over the past few years. People report using CBD oil to help reduce pain, anxiety, sleep disorders, balancing the nervous system or digestive system, and keeping our bodies functioning properly.
Although it is not as well known, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is no less important, linking every organ system together through enzymes and receptors as well as producing regulatory compounds called endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids regulate endocrine function, which affects a variety of health factors, including stress levels, immune response, appetite control, and inflammation.
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is extracted from cannabis or, more commonly, from hemp plants. Unlike cannabis, CBD does not get you high. Instead, it works with the endocannabinoid system’s receptors, helping to modulate levels of hormones like serotonin and dopamine, as well as regulating immune responses—meaning it can have many potential benefits on various aspects of our health and well-being.
The ECS and Its Effects on Gut Health
The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in keeping the gut functioning in a regular, healthy way. Although scientists are still studying exactly how the ECS interacts with digestive processes, studies have shown that it affects gut mobility, immune and inflammatory responses, and gastrointestinal absorption, all of which can have huge implications on our overall gut health. The following are just a few examples of how CBD hemp oil could help to ease the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders and promote better all-around gut health.
• CBD for Inflammatory Bowel Disease:
One of the most well-documented applications of CBD oil is its use as an anti-inflammatory, which is one of the reasons it is so popular with athletes. While this can be great for recovery and healing after exercise, studies in mice have shown that it can also be useful in managing inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome and CBD Oil:
Although irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can have many different causes, scientific studies have shown a link between it and endocannabinoid deficiencies. Such deficiencies have also been linked with other serious bowel complaints, such as celiac disease and colorectal cancer. By helping to regulate and promote endocannabinoid production and renewal, CBD could help to prevent and manage these potentially debilitating conditions.
• CBD and the Importance of Gut Balance:
The gastrointestinal tract has a complex system of nerves and muscles that stretch and contract to help food pass through this is known as gut mobility. When something goes wrong with these nerves and muscles—for example, if they are out of synch or not as strong as they should be—this can lead to digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, cramping, and changes in appetite. It can also lead to imbalances in intestinal bacteria. The ECS plays a crucial role in maintaining gut mobility, and scientists believe that by helping to support the ECS, CBD hemp oil could also help to support the healthy functioning of the gastrointestinal muscles and prevent related complaints.
CBD and Overall Gut Health
One of the reasons great gut health is so intrinsic to overall health and prevention of chronic disease is its relationship to systemic inflammation. An imbalanced microbiome combined with a compromised cellular lining means that food particles and toxins can make their way into our bloodstream. This alerts our immune system (70–80% of our immune system is housed in the gut) and sets off an inflammatory response. It can cause skin issues including acne, eczema, and rosacea; hormone imbalances; thyroid dysfunction; joint pain; brain fog; low energy; and lack of libido.
CBD has been shown to modulate both acute and systemic inflammation by preventing the production of cytokines and interleukins (the proteins that signal our immune system to set off an inflammatory response), resulting in therapeutic benefits for those suffering with IBS, colitis, gas, bloating, and damage to the gut lining. Additionally, CBD supports digestive health because its cortisol-lowering benefits help to prevent leaky gut or intestinal permeability. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone—it breaks down tissues in the body and has a hugely destructive effect on the one-cell-thick lining of our GI tract. Managing cortisol levels is one of the most important aspects of a well-functioning digestive system.
Science is still discovering the many benefits of CBD for our overall health and well-being, and it has proven time and again to be an excellent alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals. If you suffer from conditions related to poor gut health, it’s time to see what the versatile CBD can do for you.
Stacy Bull has been the general manager for Your CBD Store Naples and Marco Island locations for the past two years. She has her bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration from UW–Milwaukee. She has worked in various healthcare departments, including ophthalmology, oncology, and cardiology before getting involved in cannabinoid therapy.
She can be reached at 239.259.8654 or by email at: email@example.com.