CBD and Gut Health

CBD and Gut Health

Gut health is crucial to a happy life. Irritable bowel syndrome and gastritis are the most common conditions doctors diagnose. All sorts of gut problems affect our everyday lives and their effects often extend to other, seemingly unconnected organs.

Indeed, a whopping 43% of the British population has suffered from gut health problems, mainly bloating, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. And yet, 41% of Britons have never discussed their gut problems with their GP.

Why gut health matters

Gut unbalances abound—and they don’t only affect our digestive tract health. Their impact extends far beyond. For example, 90% of the serotonin that our brain needs is produced in the gut. There is increasing research showing that the brain and gut are connected and how they affect each other.

This connection between the two shouldn’t surprise us. People have noticed for ages how you immediately feel the effects of stress on your gut whenever you get anxious. The gut-brain axis, as it has been called, connects the gut and the brain. Research has found that gut microbiota—the minuscule fauna and flora that lives in the gut—affects not only gut health but also our brain’s well-being. It is also connected to our immune system: a healthy gut boosts our immune system.

From the above, it becomes clear that a healthy gut results in a brain that functions better and is happier. But how can gut health be improved? GPs usually mention a change of diet that emphasises more fibres, fruit, and vegetables, the consumption of probiotic foods, exercise, and even a better understanding of people’s overall eating habits.

If that fails, GPs may suggest prescribed medicines to help their patients feel better.

Now that CBD has become more popular and better understood, people are wondering whether it can help them with their gut issues. Because of CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, it might be a helpful ally when it comes to inflammatory gut diseases. After all, we do know that CBD seems to interact with the gut through receptors located there. Might it help re-balance your gut if the latter is off-balance?

How does CBD work? A quick recap

CBD interacts with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). Our ECS is responsible for keeping in balance many bodily functions such as appetite, mood, sleep patterns, reproduction, inflammation, and the immune system. For example, when you are thirsty, the ECS alerts your brain which directs you to the kitchen for a glass of water. When you feel sad, the ECS senses the drop in serotonin and attempts to fix it.

To know when something is out of sync, our ECS works with receptors that are spread throughout the body. These receptors help our ECS interact with the functions it controls.

CBD appears to interact with these receptors, although we are still not sure how. CBD shows a specific affinity for the CB2 receptors, which are mainly found in the human immune system and gut.

There is increasing research regarding the contribution of CBD to the brain-gut connection. Findings suggest that the ECS is responsible for gut motility, which greatly affects gut health.

How can CBD help with gut issues?

Many gut problems are due to inflammation. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and enteritis are all caused by inflammation.

Inflammation is usually a good thing because it’s the way our body protects itself from bacteria, viruses, and other intruders. The body stops the threat by building a wall around the intruder in the form of inflamed tissue, so that it doesn’t move further into the body. But sometimes our body produces too much inflammation, which causes pain and discomfort.

Inflammation is caused by cytokines, which are proteins that stimulate the immune system to respond to an attack. When cytokines are over-stimulated, the immune system is over-triggered and produces too much inflammation. In some cases, the body produces inflammation even when there is no intruder, which is how auto-immune diseases are caused. The body builds up inflammation to stop a non-existent threat. Instead of fighting off an intruder, this inflammation growth ends up causing pain and sickness.  

One of the main features of CBD is its potential anti-inflammatory properties. CBD appears to lower the cytokine release associated with inflammation. That may help the gut stay healthy and promote a healthy microbiome in the stomach and gut.

CBD and gut health, stress, and anxiety

Since the brain and the gut are closely linked, when we stress, we immediately feel the effect on the gut. Life is filled with stressful events, so it’s no wonder that so many people in Britain suffer from gut imbalances.

The fight-or-flight reflex prepares the body to either stay and face the situation or run away. We are not talking about real fights but anything that our mind and body perceive as threatening. These are all the stressful events that litter our days, from a bad day at work to a difficult conversation with a relative.

During both fight and flight, various neurotransmitters are released, including cortisol and adrenaline. This is a natural reaction of our body to a perceived threat and humans have survived for thousands of years thanks to this natural reflex.

Because every day brings stressful situations, our bodies can’t cope with constantly increased cortisol levels because these disrupt normal functions, including those that take place in the gut and stomach. Research suggests that CBD may lower cortisol levels and reduce excess and acute stress. This can have a great impact on gut health. When life is too stressful or you suffer from chronic anxiety, CBD may make a difference that will eventually be reflected in your gut’s health.

CBD may also help people manage their anxiety and stress better. Thanks to CBD’s interaction with brain and gut receptors, it may help the brain relax and release excess anxiety. Because of the brain-gut connection, taking CBD for mental health may thus help the gut reach a more wholesome state.

Finally, stress affects not only the gut but also digestion. A relaxed and more balanced mind may help the stomach digest better and the gut process foods and nutrients in a smooth and seamless way.

CBD as a pain reliever

Feeling bloated is never pleasant. Stomach and gut discomfort often comes with pain. CBD may alleviate occasional digestive pain, thus helping people feel better. Because CBD may also lower inflammation, this adds to its pain-relieving effects.

Taking CBD for gut health

CBD dosage

Since CBD is considered a supplement, the NHS has not offered a recommended daily dosage. The right dosage for each person depends on several factors, such as the person’s weight, metabolism, and expected health goals. It also depends on whether they are trying CBD for the first time and how much their body has adjusted to CBD.

Therefore, people with digestive problems will have to find the right dosage for them through trial and error. Here are some tips to get you started.

Start slow

Most doctors suggest you start with a low dosage of around 10 to 15 mg of CBD and increase it slowly to assess how your body reacts to it. As you increase your CBD dosage, you can keep notes of how you feel and establish a dosage schedule that works for you.

Microdosing

 Some people choose to microdose CBD. Instead of taking one dose per day, they divide their dosage into several smaller doses and take them throughout the day. This helps them maintain a steady flow of CBD in their bloodstream without experiencing peaks and troughs. They have found that it helps their body manage CBD better and more efficiently.

Taking CBD as a preventative measure

 Many people choose to take CBD as a preventative measure to manage their stress levels better. If you already suffer from occasional digestive problems, taking CBD may help prevent the development of bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, or other unpleasant stomach and digestive issues by impacting positively your gut and soothing your body in an indirect and helpful way.

Find the CBD product that works for you

If you want to microdose, pills, and capsules make it easy to calculate your daily dosage and divide it into smaller doses. Some people prefer tinctures, while others choose edibles. It really depends on how each method works with your lifestyle and which one helps you integrate CBD into your schedule.

Edible CBD takes longer to take effect while tinctures are faster. If you are experiencing sudden bloating and wish to try CBD to alleviate your pain immediately, a tincture could work better.

CBD interaction with other medicines

  CBD can interact with other medicines because it is processed in the liver by the same enzyme that metabolizes 80% of medicines. Before you embark on your CBD journey, talk to your GP and mention any medicines you take, even off-the-counter. Some antibiotics, antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, antihistamines, and cholesterol medicines interact with CBD.

CBD for gut health

The gut is often referred to as the “second brain” due to its complex network of nerves and its influence on various bodily functions. Maintaining a healthy gut is crucial for overall well-being, as it can impact digestion, immune function, and even mental health. With the rise of gut-related disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), finding natural remedies to support gut health has become a focus for many individuals.

In recent years, CBD has emerged as a potential therapeutic option for gut health. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, along with its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, have sparked interest among researchers and individuals looking for alternative ways to support gut health.

Of course, there is a lot we still need to understand about CBD. Thankfully, trials are already underway regarding CBD’s potential, including for gut health. We have indications that CBD may be helpful with gut inflammatory conditions as well as bloating and digestive issues. Since CBD is a botanical compound, a trial can help you gauge whether it’s a helpful remedy for you. Just be sure to check out first our guide for choosing your CBD and our reviews for the best CBD oil in the UK to make sure you buy top-quality CBD products at affordable prices!

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Nicholas C. Rossis, renowned by the IBBY Award and a roster of best-selling publications, is a leading voice in CBD research. His work combines critical acclaim with the analysis of the latest news, studies, research and legal developments in the world of CBD, providing readers with valuable data and insights.

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