Cbd oil for gut health

CBD for Gut Health: How This Powerful Oil Affects Your GI Tract

Have you heard of your “second brain?” When you consider all that happens in the gastrointestinal (GI) system, you begin to understand why it carries this label. Most people believe the GI system, or gut, only digests food. However, it does much more. Because of all the gut does for your body, it’s essential that you take care of it. And CBD for gut health may be a new way to accomplish this.

Digestive issues make up some of the most common disorders in the world. They affect a large percentage of the population. When these issues become severe, they open the door to other significant health issues. Keeping your digestive system healthy, on the other hand, increases the chances of living a healthy life.

Your Gut Microbiome

Your gut contains the microbiome, a collection of trillions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that all live in balance inside your body. One part of the job this microbiome carries out is the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients. In addition to this, it produces the vast majority of neurotransmitters used by your body. Also, it regulates cognitive and physiological processes daily, including the immune system.

As long as this vast collection of microbes stays in balance, everything works well in the rest of your body. However, an imbalance, called dysbiosis, can occur and lead to significant health problems. This is one reason CBD for gut health assumes such importance.

The importance of good gut health comes to the fore when considering heart disease, also. Good gut health helps your heart by increasing the level of HDL cholesterol. Hardening of the arteries can come from poor gut health. When arteries harden, the risk of cardiovascular disease increases.

Also, poor gut health and the increase in bad bacteria may lead to obesity. This, in turn, can lead to heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol. Some of the bad bacteria in the gut can produce substances like trimethylamine N-oxide (or TMAO) that can block arteries and bring on a stroke. At least one study has shown that a healthy gut helped in preventing coronary artery disease.

In addition, your gut health influences your mental health. The vagus nerve transmits information from the brain to the gut and vice versa. The good bacteria in the gut produce serotonin, one of the major neurotransmitters that influence mental health. When the bacteria in your gut remain balanced, the gut can decrease depression and anxiety.

Once again, you see the possible benefits of successfully using CBD for gut health.

CBD and THC

Both of these substances come from the cannabis plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. It gives the “high” that is associated with marijuana use.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is another of the 120 phytocannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant. CBD contains a similar chemical formation to the endocannabinoids that exist naturally in your body.

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in your body to help the digestive, immune, and nervous systems. One thing CBD does that benefits you involves inhibiting the breakdown of neurotransmitters to allow the ECS to function appropriately.

Another difference between THC and CBD occurs in the way they fill in CB1 and CB2 receptors. THC binds directly to receptors. On the other hand, CBD binds with these receptors indirectly.

In addition, CBD prevents the FAAH enzyme from breaking down anandamide, an endocannabinoid neurotransmitter. Anandamide helps regulate mood, appetite, sleep, and memory, among other things.

Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

The ECS is a natural part of your body. It influences and regulates many functions of your body including immunity, pain, sleep, brain function, metabolism, memory, and digestion. It accomplishes these tasks through binding with CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptors exist mostly in the brain and nervous system. CB2 receptors exist in the large intestine, small intestine, and immune system.

To a great extent, the ECS maintains balance in your body leading to optimal health. This is one more reason for the importance of CBD for gut health.

How CBD for Gut Health Helps

When you consider the benefits of CBD for gut health, the presence of cannabinoid receptors comes to mind. Their presence benefits your health because when your gut becomes imbalanced and a state of dysbiosis exists, it affects every system of your body. The ripple effect of dysbiosis affects all parts of your body from the immune system to your mood. CBD may help correct imbalances in your gut, bringing better health to your body.

The mechanism by which the benefits of CBD for gut health come about involves two factors: inflammation and the immune system.

Inflammation

Whatever issue you face with your gut, inflammation likely plays a role. When inflammation occurs in any part of the GI system, a large range of symptoms can result. Lack of absorption of nutrients can lead to malnutrition. Diarrhea can result in dehydration and fatigue.

Research indicates CBD helps to reduce inflammation throughout your system. One example comes from the stomach, where CBD decreases the sensitivity of the capsaicin receptor. This receptor triggers inflammation in the mucous membranes of the gut. It is responsible for the burning sensation so many people experience after eating spicy foods.

Immune Response

Another benefit of CBD for gut health involves improving the immune processes that originate in the gut. Research shows a significant interaction between gut bacteria and the immune system. A major part of the immune system resides in your gut.

In the case of dysbiosis of your gut, your immune system can become hyperactive, generating great amounts of inflammation. CBD dampens the hyperactive immune response. This not only reduces inflammation but also improves the immune system’s handling of toxins and allergens.

Reduction of Stress

Reducing stress also occurs as a benefit of CBD for gut health. Because of the constant two-way communication between the gut and brain, this becomes a great benefit. Stress alters movement and contraction of the gut. This increases inflammation and makes you more at risk for infections and decreased immune response.

Adrenal Fatigue and Your Stress Response

Adrenal fatigue occurs when your adrenal glands become overburdened by the demand for cortisol when your body comes under stress. Stress from any source can trigger this process. Cortisol, the stress-fighting hormone, works to deal with the effects of stress. If stress becomes chronic and severe, the demand on your adrenals for more cortisol may become too much for them to meet. This begins Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). At first, the symptoms of AFS may present as too vague for conventional lab tests to pick up. However, as the condition progresses these symptoms can become debilitating.

The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response describes another aspect of your body’s attempt to handle stress. Once the adrenals become overwhelmed, this system becomes activated. Six circuits of three organs or organ systems make up this response. These circuits overlap to an extent and interact when stress hits. Their main goal remains to keep your body functioning optimally even in the face of stress. However, should the stress become great enough, these circuits become dysfunctional, resulting in significant symptoms.

How CBD for Gut Health Affects Your Inflammation Circuit

The Inflammation circuit of the NEM activates early on when stress hits your body. Your immune system, gut, and microbiome make up the three organs of this circuit.

When this circuit becomes dysfunctional the gut goes through significant changes. The single layer of epithelial cells making up the lining of the gut usually has tight junctions between the cells, limiting permeability. Stress affects this lining by making these junctions looser. This allows access to your bloodstream by undigested food particles, viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

When these substances get into your bloodstream, your immune system begins identifying them as foreign invaders of your system and therefore as a threat. This begins the increase of inflammation to find and destroy these substances. The potential for the immune system to become hyperactive rises as more of these substances cross the gut barrier. A hyperactive immune response can lead to autoimmune conditions.

Stress also negatively affects the microbiome. The dysbiosis resulting from increased stress can lead to an imbalance of bacteria in the microbiome. Such an imbalance leads to small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease.

CBD and the Gut Barrier

One of the ways CBD for gut health can help in this situation involves CBD’s ability to strengthen and protect the gut barrier. The crossing of this barrier by lipopolysaccharides (LPS) works to trigger the endocannabinoid system. This can then lead to metabolic endotoxemia.

When the ECS becomes triggered in this situation, it can be overactive, and this may lead to increased permeability of the gut barrier. CBD works to counter this effect. The ECS works in a biphasic manner. If the ECS doesn’t work well enough, it serves to allow the breakdown of the gut barrier. On the other hand, if the ECS works too well, the same result occurs. CBD for gut health works to maintain the functioning of the ECS at an optimal level.

CBD for gut health also helps to relieve the pain felt with some of the conditions brought on by dysbiosis of the gut and microbiome. Ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease all contain a component of pain.

CBD for Inflammation

Inflammation makes up a large part of any GI tract issue. CBD works to decrease the level of inflammation in your system, thereby helping with the healing of your gut.

The bidirectional communication between your gut and brain leads to mental health issues when dysbiosis of the gut exists. CBD helps to re-balance the bacteria in your gut, resolving the issue of dysbiosis. In this way, it also helps resolve mental health issues.

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Regarding how CBD for gut health can help people who suffer from AFS, all of the above factors provide help. In addition, CBD can help alleviate stress overall, bringing broad relief to those suffering from stress-influenced AFS symptoms.

Conclusion Regarding CBD for Gut Health

CBD for gut health appears to bring about a number of benefits for your GI system. It serves to aid in digestion and thus improve the absorption of vital nutrients. In addition, it works to strengthen the gut barrier and prevent or remediate leaky gut. It also helps with boosting the functioning of the immune system and decreasing levels of inflammation.

CBD works to balance the microbiome, thereby helping to alleviate mental health issues as well. Overall, CBD serves to decrease the effects of stress, thereby helping those who suffer from AFS in a broad way.

More specifically, CBD for gut health helps reduce the symptoms of conditions such as Crohn’s disease. This reduces the stress on the microbiome and gut as well. CBD’s ability to lower inflammation levels also helps relieve the pain and inflammation associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

In addition, CBD also works to balance the functioning of your naturally-occurring endocannabinoid system. This system affects all aspects of your health.

What Can About Gut Problems?

If you are suffering from gut problems here are a few things you can try to alleviate the situation:

  • Eat different types of food, especially a variety of fibers, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Consume prebiotic fibers and take probiotics.
  • Eat more foods that are fermented such as yogurt and sauerkraut and that contain healthy bacteria.
  • Decrease the use of antibiotics. Certainly, take antibiotics if they’re medically necessary, but be sure to avoid overuse. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria and can contribute to dysbiosis.

Whatever action you decide to take, please do so with the guidance of your healthcare provider who will assess your needs and discuss options with you.

If you would like to know more about or need assistance with gut problems and the potentials of CBD for gut health, the team at Dr. Lam Coaching can help. We offer a free** no-obligation phone consultation at +1-626-571-1234 where we will privately discuss your symptoms and various options. You can also send us a question through our Ask The Doctor system by clicking here.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

What is one major benefit of CBD for gut health?

A major benefit of CBD for gut health is its ability to close the loose junctions between the epithelial cells in the lining of the stomach. Closing these loose junctions helps bring a hyperactive immune system under control and decreases inflammation.

6 Best CBD Oils for Digestive Issues

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Let’s be honest, your digestive system can ruin just about anything. Eating a big meal, trying out that new recipe you found online, or even preparing yourself to go out on a date with someone important to you? Your stomach isn’t always so inviting.

With CBD oil, you can forget about the days of feeling sluggish and bloated after every meal. Instead, your stomach will feel calm, relaxed, and ready to take on whatever you have in store for it!

If you’re looking to finally get some relief from persistent digestive issues or overall gut health, then you should try one of the 6 best CBD oils for digestive issues.

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is an extract of the hemp plant. The hemp plant is known to contain over 100 different phytochemicals including cannabinoids and terpenes that are considered promising in the world of natural medicine.

CBD is one type of cannabinoid, specifically cannabidiol, which has shown promise in treating inflammation, pain, and anxiety in many people.

Pros of taking CBD oil for digestive issues

When you’re dealing with persistent digestive problems like diarrhea, constipation, upset stomach, abdominal cramps, bloating, and gas, you’ll be glad to know that CBD oil has many positive effects on your digestive system.

CBD oil is known to calm and relax your stomach and intestinal lining.

This can help reduce unnecessary pain caused by tense muscles found in the stomach area. CBD also reduces inflammation, which helps encourage healthy digestion of food, nutrients, and waste throughout your body.

Your gut microbiome plays a major role in your overall health, and CBD is known to help balance your microbiome to keep you feeling great.

CBD has been shown to optimize your gut health by keeping the correct pH levels in the intestines and controlling bacteria growth. This can also reduce inflammation which helps promote healthy digestion of food nutrient waste throughout your body. It also controls appetite and reduces nausea, which can significantly help with your overall digestive health.

CBD oil is also known to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.

This can be particularly beneficial for people who suffer from digestive issues as these conditions are often triggered by stress or unhappiness. In many cases, CBD may have antidepressant effects that can ease anxiety and promote a more positive mood, which can help improve your overall health and wellness.

How to use CBD oil for digestive relief

CBD oil is known to have a number of positive effects on the digestive system when used correctly. Since there are many different brands and types of CBD oil available throughout the world, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using safe methods when taking CBD oil.

There are various ways to use CBD oil for digestive relief, such as:

Drops or tinctures

To take CBD oil orally, you can either buy it as a pre-mix (with other ingredients included) or buy pure CBD and mix it yourself. Before you do anything, make sure that you’re using CBD oil that has been certified as safe by a third-party lab.

Tinctures are one of the best ways to take CBD orally. If you decide to use tinctures, then make sure that you follow proper dosage instructions. For people under 150 pounds, it’s recommended to start with 2-3 drops per day.

Tinctures can be easily added to your food or beverage without making too much of a difference in taste.

For pure CBD oil, you can place 1-2 drops under your tongue and leave it there for up to 60 seconds. You can also take CBD oil by putting it inside your food or beverage.

CBD capsules

Another great CBD option is to take CBD in capsule form. Like tinctures, it’s important that you look into the source and make sure that you’re taking CBD oil that has been tested by a third-party lab for purity.

By taking pure capsules instead of other forms, you can accurately measure the dosage that you’re taking. This is important to ensure that your dosage is safe and consistent for your body.

CBD topicals

Another product that contains CBD as an ingredient is topical CBD ointments or creams. You can rub them on any part of your body where you feel pain, such as the abdomen.

By applying CBD directly to the affected area, you’ll find pain relief without having to ingest anything. Topicals are a great option for those who have sensitive skin and don’t want to use other ointments that may cause irritation.

Many people have turned to alternative medicine to treat various digestive issues such as:

· Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

· Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

All of these conditions can cause various digestive problems including pain, discomfort, bloating, gas, nausea, and vomiting.

CBD may be used to treat all of the above issues to reduce or eliminate your symptoms related to digestive issues. Since CBD has been shown to balance levels of serotonin in the body, it’s also important to consider that CBD can be used in conjunction with traditional anti-anxiety medications.

What causes digestive issues?

There are a number of factors that can cause digestive issues, including:

· Bacterial infections from food poisoning

· Infection or injury to internal organs such as the stomach or intestine

According to recent studies, CBD has shown great promise in dealing with various digestive issues. CBD oil is typically well-tolerated and does not lead to any significant side effects. This is because CBD works on a molecular level to balance the body’s endocannabinoid system.

CBD oil for digestive issues is becoming more popular as people have begun to take the benefits of CBD seriously. If you’re one of those people who are looking into alternative medicine, then it’s important that you do your own research to determine whether CBD oil can help to relieve your symptoms.

Many people have found success using CBD oil for digestive issues by taking it orally, applying topicals to the affected areas, or taking capsules. If you’re looking for a natural alternative to traditional medications, then CBD may be an option that you want to consider.

What foods can I eat to help with digestive issues?

There are certain foods that you can eat to help with the different digestive issues that you may be experiencing.

Gas and bloating:

Foods such as ginger, fennel, and black pepper contain essential oils that work as a natural antiflatulent. You can brew some tea by boiling one teaspoon of either of those spices in a cup of water.

Heart burn:

When experiencing heartburn, try to avoid acidic foods such as oranges and grapefruit juice, tomatoes sauce and ketchup, chocolate, alcohol, and soda. Instead, drink some milk or eat yogurt with live cultures to reduce symptoms.

Constipation:

You can prevent constipation by including more fiber in your diet through fruits and vegetables such as:

Also, you can drink lots of water to help keep things moving.

How do CBD oils for digestive issues and my gut work together?

When it comes to your digestive system, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a major role in many bodily functions such as appetite, pain sensation, nausea and vomiting, stress response, and possibly even mood.

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Your ECS is also responsible for managing how your body responds when you’re experiencing pain or another negative stimulus.

The ECS is made up of CB1 receptors which are found in the brain, organs, glands, connective tissues, and immune cells. They are also found in abundance in your gut. CB2 receptors are mainly located throughout the immune system and the rest of the body.

When you’re sick or experiencing pain, your body produces endocannabinoids which are neurotransmitters that bind to CB1 receptors.

CBD oil is able to serve as a supplement to your body’s normal endocannabinoid production, encouraging homeostasis or balance throughout the body. Since CBD oil has also been shown to interact with serotonin receptors, it’s important to note that CBD can help to balance your body’s serotonin levels.

What are the benefits of CBD oil for digestive issues?

CBD has been shown to be a safe option when it comes to treating digestive issues. Since CBD has also been used to treat things such as pain, inflammation, and anxiety, it makes sense that CBD oil would be helpful in reducing symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), food allergies, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease.

Many studies have shown CBD oil’s effectiveness in treating these different types of digestive issues.

Can CBD oil for digestive issues help me?

There are many benefits to using CBD oil, but not everyone is able to benefit from taking CBD.

Before taking any supplements, it’s important to do your own research and determine whether the product is right for you and if there are any possible interactions with other medications or conditions that you may have.

Always follow dosage recommendations and consult your doctor before taking CBD oil or any other supplements.

Since many of the studies on CBD for digestive issues are still ongoing, it’s difficult to determine whether you will be able to benefit from using CBD oil if you’re experiencing some type of digestive issue. However, based on the results that have come out so far, it seems that most people do find it helpful.

6 best CBD oils for digestive issues

Now that we shared more about digestive issues, CBD oils for digestive issues benefits, and so on, it’s time to dig deeper into the 6 best CBD oils for digestive issues so you can make a choice on which brand of CBD oil to try first.

1. Penguin CBD

Image courtesy Penguin CBD

Sip on CBD oil that not only tastes great but helps to support a healthy lifestyle. Penguin CBD sources their oil from the best Oregon hemp, to create a broad-spectrum extract that is THC-free. Choose between refreshing mint, citrusy lemon, natural hemp, sweet strawberry, or indulgent cookies & cream flavors.

2. Everest

Image courtesy Everest

CBD is becoming more and more popular every day, as people learn about its potential benefits. CBD has been shown to help with anxiety, inflammation, pain relief, and a variety of other issues. If you’re looking for a high-quality CBD product, Everest is the perfect choice. The hemp used in their products is grown using healthy techniques and pure soil, ensuring that you get the best possible CBD oil. Plus, all stages of production are closely monitored to ensure quality control.

3. Verma Farms

Image courtesy Verma Farms

Verma Farms CBD Oil is inspired by the lush, green mountains of Hawaii. Their CBD oil is sourced from the highest quality hemp they could find and distilled using a low-fuss, preservative-free process to maintain the plants’ purity. The result is an invigorating, refreshing CBD oil that can help you feel your best. Experience the natural benefits of Hawaii with every drop of Verma Farms CBD Oils for digestive issues.

4. R+R Medicinals

CBD oil is becoming a popular remedy for all kinds of issues, and R+R Medicinals is one of the most trusted names in the industry. Their new CBD Oil is available in three different strengths, making it perfect for everyone from beginners to experienced users. It has a natural hemp flavor and is made with US Hemp-Authority Certified hemp.

5.cbdMD

Image courtesy cbdMD

Looking for a CBD tincture that’s grown with care? Look no further than cbdMD. Their products are organic and THC-free, and they take the time to cultivate their hemp plants in 14 different countries until they find the right place. With potencies available up to 3000mg, there’s sure to be a cbdMD tincture perfect for your needs.

6.Spruce

Image courtesy Spruce

Spruce has you covered! Their full-spectrum CBD oils are extracted with the moonshine method, ensuring a high-quality product that contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in hemp. Whether you’re looking for relief from chronic pain or just want to relax after a long day, Spruce has the perfect CBD oil for you.

How to take CBD oil for digestion issues

CBD oil can be taken in a variety of ways, depending on your personal preference. You can put it under the tongue, inhale it through a CBD vape pen, add it to food or drinks, add a few drops to lotions and creams for topical use.

You also want to make sure that you choose a CBD oil that is free of vegetable glycerin, MCT oils, and artificial flavors. This helps ensure you get the most out of your CBD oil without breaking any laws or experiencing unnatural side effects.

Is CBD oil good for digestive health?

Research is still ongoing on CBD oil and its effects, but what we do know is that CBD oil has a number of benefits that can help your overall health. It’s been found to help with everything from stress relief to pain management, as well as helping those struggling with various forms of cancer.

Many users have also experienced an improvement in their digestive health, which can be attributed to CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects. It is believed that CBD oil helps the body in a number of different ways, including helping it maintain its natural balance.

As with any treatment, you should speak to your doctor before taking CBD oil for digestive issues. Make sure they are aware of what conditions you are looking to treat, any medications you are taking, and whether there are any potential drug interactions.

How to store CBD oils for digestive issues?

CBD oils should be stored in a cool, dark place. It’s also best to keep them out of reach from children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion. Most CBD oil bottles come with a cap for this very purpose.

Because CBD oil is organic and not mass-produced like synthetic medications, it is more perishable. It contains fewer preservatives and needs to be kept in a dark and cool place for optimal freshness.

CBD oils should typically be used within 1 – 2 years for maximum effectiveness. If you notice any sediment or discoloration of your CBD oil, it is best to dispose of it to avoid any unintended chemical reactions.

What foods can I mix my CBD oils with to mask the taste of the oil?

CBD oils can be mixed with a variety of foods to help mask the flavor. You can mix CBD oil with honey, chocolate syrup, or even into your morning coffee. This helps make it easier for you to ingest the CBD oil without tasting it every time.

Be sure you only choose products that are free of vegetable glycerin and MCT oil, as this will ensure the CBD oil is as effective as possible.

Some people also swear by mixing their CBD oils with a hot beverage to help them more quickly enter your system. This method can be great for those who have a sensitive stomach and find that ingesting it orally makes you feel sick.

Can CBD oil help with intestinal issues?

CBD oil is known for its benefits to anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia. However, it can also have a positive impact on your digestive system. Through inhibiting the effects of enzymes in your gut that are meant to break down proteins or inhibit nutrient absorption, CBD makes it easier for your body to absorb nutrients from food.

There are even some studies that suggest CBD may help reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. A study that looked at CBD oil’s effects on IBS patients found that it helped reduce abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea.

However, these studies are still in their early stages, so you should always consult with your doctor before taking CBD oil for intestinal issues.

What is the best CBD oil for irritable bowel syndrome?

Since CBD oil is not regulated by the FDA, it can be difficult to determine which brand of CBD oil is best for irritable bowel syndrome. There are a few things you can do that might help in finding the right product.

First, determine which symptoms you are looking to treat with CBD oil. Those who just want relief from their abdominal pain might try one brand, while those looking for relief from their diarrhea may want to try another.

You can also check with your doctor before trying different types of CBD oil for irritable bowel syndrome. They might be able to recommend the best option or even give you a script if they believe it could help you.

Can CBD oil cause stomach issues?

When taking CBD oil, some people report feeling nauseous or having a stomach ache. While nausea typically subsides within an hour, you might feel more comfortable by taking your dose of CBD oil with food.

You should also avoid taking any other medication with grapefruit juice as it can affect how effective the medication is. Grapefruit juice can lower a medication’s blood levels, causing you to need a higher dose of the drug.

If your stomach continues to feel upset after taking your CBD oil, it is best to check with your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions between CBD and other medications. It may be the case that there are additives in the product that could cause these side effects.

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Just to recap, these are the 6 best CBD oils for digestive issues to choose from:

There are different forms of CBD oil that you can try to see which one works best for your irritable bowel syndrome. Tinctures, capsules, and even topical solutions are available for purchase online. Most oils come with a dropper so it is easy to measure out the exact dose that fits your needs.

Whether you’re looking for a CBD oil to help alleviate digestive issues or just want a more relaxed and stress-free day, there’s a CBD oil for you. From mild to stronger effects, you can choose from any of the oils on this list.

CBD And Your Microbiome

If you follow the latest wellness trends, you’ve probably noticed a lot of talk about the importance of feeding our gut bacteria for a healthy body and mind. Probiotics, pre-biotics, and fermented foods are super hot these days. Why?

At least 90% of the living cells in our bodies actually aren’t ‘human’, but belong to the microbes that live on and within us. Of the approximately 38,000,000,000,000 (38 trillion) microorganisms in our bodies, the majority are located in our gut.

This vast ecosystem of little beings is known as the microbiome, a microscopic ecosystem of interconnected life forms transforming nutrients from one form to another, fundamentally influencing all aspects of our health — including even the brain.

This is why some are calling the gut our “second brain.” In some circles it’s even considered our first brain — since it’s far more ancient than the advanced parts of the human brain, and its influences on the rest of the body are profound.

Turns out that the gut and brain actually communicate with each other, mostly via the crucial highway of the vagus nerve, but also via the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). With cannabis and hemp becoming more popular in the holistic wellness movement, this discovery couldn’t have come at a more potent time.

The Gut: Gateway to You

Your gut microbiome affects your immune system, genetic expression, weight, mental and emotional health – essentially who we are and how we show up in the world.

The digestive tract and its vast population of microbes is a portal into the center of our being — literally, the gatekeeper between self and not-self — and it influences every aspect of the bodymind.

When it’s out of balance we can easily lose our connection to our innate self and intuitive gut sense. (This is why gut health is a primary key to the wellness counseling work I do, as it is a foundational access point for far-reaching healing and connection.)

Cannabinoids: Mind-Body Connectors

New research on the endocannabinoid system is also uncovering that there is a vital link between the ECS and gut health.

The ECS’s receptors are highly concentrated in the brain, gut, and pelvis, all working together to maintain homeostasis throughout the body. Researchers are finding evidence that the ECS is actually a major link between the gut and the brain, enabling them to communicate with each other.

The endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating food intake — especially fat intake — as well as digestive motility, nausea, intestinal inflammation, gut permeability, cancer cell proliferation, and complex interactions with probiotic bacteria of the intestines .

Supporting the ECS with phytocannabinoids from cannabis or hemp is showing promise for those suffering from a variety of conditions, including IBS, IBD, autoimmune conditions, cancer, and more.

In rats, fasting increases the small intestine’s production of the endocannabinoid anandamide (known as the “bliss molecule” for its powerful effect on mood). With at least 70% of our serotonin being produced in the gut (not the brain), and plenty of research showing that gut microbial balance influences mood and mental health , we are sure to discover even more powerful links between the ECS, gut and brain in the near future.

At this point we know that the ECS affects the digestive system in the following ways.

  • Regulating Digestion : Intestinal motility is the coordinated, rhythmic transit of food moving from the esophagus to the stomach to the intestines to the anus, which ensures that nutrients have proper time to be absorbed. Several plant-based cannabinoids stimulate the CB1 receptor, which calms nausea, helps halt tumor growth, slows stomach emptying, improves nutrient absorption, and reduces stomach acid. Strong stimulation of the CB1 receptor will also make us hungry, aka “getting the munchies.”
  • Modulating Inflammation : It turns out that the ECS plays a critical role in protecting the gut from inflammation, and both CB1 and CB2 receptors modulate inflammatory responses when stimulated by certain cannabinoids. Inflammation is increasingly implicated in depression , but that inflammation isn’t just in the brain. When we see inflammation and permeability in the gut, we often also find inflammation in the brain and permeability with the blood brain barrier, so calming the fire in the gut can help improve mental power, nutrient absorption and assimilation, and all bodily processes.
  • Bridging communication with the brain : The ECS is a two-way communication link between our gut and brain. Stress or pain registered in the brain communicates to the gut and affects gut function (ie butterflies or nervous belly), just as inflammation and imbalances in the gut communicate and alter our mental and emotional balance and expression.

So nourishing our gut and supporting our ECS in tandem could be a profound gateway to healing and finding more balance in body and mind. The influential cannabis researcher Ethan Russo writes, “it is increasingly apparent that proper dietary choices encompassing prebiotic vegetables and fermented foods may play important roles in future therapeutics targeting the ECS.”

These are exciting times to see science talking about the benefits of pre- and probiotic-rich foods as therapeutic tools, looking beyond isolated drug compounds, and moving towards a more whole-istic and root-cause approach to supporting wellbeing via the endocannabinoid system.

We’re moving back to the roots in so many ways. Feeding and supporting gut integrity and balance, supports the endocannabinoid system, and vice versa — helping to balance body systems for greater homeostasis and less dis-ease.

Lifestyle Tips for Gut & ECS Balance

How can we support our gut-brain connection via our endocannabinoid system?

  1. Get Cultured : Eat cultured foods daily, like sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, natto, tempeh, miso, kvass, etc., or at the very least take a quality broad-spectrum probiotic supplement, like Seed or Megasporebiotic, daily. Cultured foods are packed with pre- and probiotics, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and are more powerful than any commercial supplement (many of which are low quality). Probiotics help support a balanced ecology in our microbiome, decreasing pathogens and inflammation, and Lactobacillus Acidophilus in particular modulates the ECS in the gut.
  2. Fat as essential fuel : Essential fatty acids are the building blocks of endocannabinoids, so consuming healthy fats daily is needed to efficiently utilize cannabinoids and support this system as well as our brain, hormones, and every body cell. Examples include a quality omega-3 fish oil, wild fatty fish like sardines and anchovies, raw nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil, grassfed ghee, and coconut oil. Slather it on, baby.
  3. Cannabinoid & terpene-rich foods and herbs: like dark chocolate (organic and fair trade of course), black truffle, black pepper, clove, cinnamon, oregano, basil, lavender, and rosemary. Jazz up your cooking or make teas with these herbs. Cruciferous veggies (like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage) contain indole-3-carbinol which turns into DIM in the gut, supporting CB2 receptors (think gut and hormone balance, detoxification, anti-inflammatory).
  4. Mastering the nervous system & managing stress : supplementing with quality broad or full spectrum hemp as an oil, tincture, vape pen, etc. – whatever delivery works best for you – to regulate your busy mind, destress and unwind. Daily self-care practices like unplugging from your phone for an hour or more to take a bath, read, write, be in nature, make love, create, breathe. The gut is an integral part of our nervous system, and stress increases gut permeability, inflammation, motility, and even changes our gut microbiota. Committing to the tools and allies that work for you, to slow down and connect to your own daily self-care, is a must and not just a buzzword.
  5. Other herbal allies : dandelion root tea, burdock, ginger, turmeric, peppermint, and digestive bitters before or after meals are incredible allies for soothing our gut, reducing inflammation and pathogens, and supporting a healthy ecosystem for smooth digestion and elimination of toxins.

So we love your guts, and we hope you’ll show love to them too – by choosing some gut-nourishing pre- and probiotic rich foods, boosting your omega-3s, and weaving in whole plant herbal allies to support you in gut, body, and mind.

  1. Russo, Ethan B. “Cannabis Therapeutics and the Future of Neurology.” Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience , Frontiers Media S.A., 18 Oct. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6200872/ .
  2. Russo, Ethan B. “Beyond Cannabis: Plants and the Endocannabinoid System.” Trends in Pharmacological Sciences , Cell Press, Vol 37, No 7, Elsevier Ltd., July 2016.
  3. Bauer, Brent. “How the Endocannabinoid System Connects Your Gut and Your Brain.” Thorne, 10 Oct. 2018, www.thorne.com/take-5-daily/article/how-the-endocannabinoid-system-connects-your-gut-and-your-brain .
  4. Izzo, Angelo A, and Keith A Sharkey. “Cannabinoids and the Gut: New Developments and Emerging Concepts.” Pharmacology & Therapeutics , U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20117132 . Full article via http://www.advancedholistichealth.org/PDF_Files/endocannabinoid%20system%20in%20GI%20disease.pdf
  5. DiPatrizio, Nicholas V. “Endocannabinoids in the Gut.” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research , Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 1 Feb. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4940133/ .
  6. Hasenoehrl, Carina, et al. “Cannabinoids for Treating Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Where Are We and Where Do We Go?” Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology , Taylor & Francis, 3 Apr. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28276820 .

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