GI issues, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and Celiacs disease have all made talking about gut health a popular health topic in conversations. At the same time, another rising topic that is getting significant exposure is CBD (Cannabidiol). But, is there any crossover between these two topics?
Yes, over the last few years there has been a growing pool of research into the benefits of CBD as a therapeutic remedy for various health issues and overall wellbeing – including gastrointestinal issues. This article will help us understand the connection of CBD and GI/stomach issues. It will also highlight the potential benefits that scientific studies have found for using CBD to help with gastrointestinal issues. Specifically, this article identifies research that CBD can help with gastrointestinal problems in the following ways: reducing inflammation, improving gut health, regulating bowel movements, managing pain perception, improving appetite, moderating immune responses, and reducing nausea.
Understanding Stomach & GI Conditions
According to recent scientific discoveries1, the gastrointestinal system is not just about digestion. It is also linked to a variety of functions including cell regeneration, immune response, toxin elimination, and hormone regulation among other roles. Gastrointestinal disease is any health issue that occurs in the digestive tracts, including the gallbladder, pancreases, liver, small and large intestines, and the esophagus. According to the International Foundation For Gastrointestinal Disorders2, over 20% of Americans (more commonly women) suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or other stomach issues. In the United States, the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases3 approximate that more than 60 million Americans suffer from a stomach issue. Common symptoms4 include weight gain/loss, pain in the digestive tract, incontinence, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, bleeding, and swallowing problems.
Although GI issues are relatively common, studies5 show that they can have debilitating effects that severely impact an individual’s quality of life. Unfortunately, many stomach conditions are hard to treat because their underlying causes are largely unknown. However, inflammation, immune response, and a leaky gut are some possible causes of GI and stomach issues.
Effects & Benefits of CBD for Gastrointestinal Issues
So, how does CBD help the gut and remedy GI or stomach conditions? According to scientific data, CBD is associated with a variety of health benefits that are beneficial to people suffering from IBS and other GI issues. In a nutshell, CBD appears to remedy GI issues by addressing their root causes to help alleviate the symptoms of a variety of GI issues.
According to research6 published in 2016, cannabinoids, such as CBD, have been used to remedy various gastrointestinal tract disorders for centuries. The same paper claimed that the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a significant role in gastrointestinal functions, the interaction with gut microbiota, gut permeability, inflammation, hunger signaling, brain-mediated fat intake, and gut motility. The body’s natural endocannabinoid system has receptors distributed throughout the body including in the nervous system, digestive system, and immune system. CBD can stimulate these receptors to help regulate inflammation, ion transport, GI motility, food intake, and nausea/vomiting.
- Inflammation: Numerous stomach issues, including IBS and Crohn’s disease, are associated with inflammation of the digestive system. Fortunately, research7 shows that CBD has strong anti-inflammatory effects that can help these conditions. There are other studies8, which suggest that CBD benefits people with IBS and other stomach conditions by reducing inflammation. Plus, according to an article9 published in the Journal Phytotherapy Research, states that CBD has various beneficial effects including immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties that may alleviate symptoms of IBS.
- Leaky Gut: Gut permeability is a potential cause for some types of gut problems, chronic health conditions, and autoimmune conditions. The bond between cells in the gut may weaken, increasing the permeability of the gut to pathogens, toxins, and other harmful substances. One study10 published in the Journal of Advanced Research in Gastroenterology & Hepatology demonstrates that CBD can signal to repair cell membranes and restore proper permeability.
- Regulate Bowel Movements: Various GI issues affect your frequency of bowel movements. Recent research11 demonstrates that CBD might be able to help regulate bowel movements and improve the overall wellbeing of a patient.
- Pain Management: A comprehensive study12 published in the Journal of Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management suggests that CBD is a powerful tool in pain management and relief, even for visceral pain. This makes hemp-derived CBD products ideal remedies for GI issues.
- Improve Appetite: Gastrointestinal issues often lead to a loss of appetite. Scientific research13 shows that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system and helps regulate satiety, salivation, and food intake to return your appetite to a normalized level.
- Anti-Nausea properties: To add to its list of GI-related benefits, one study14 found that CBD is a possible solution for vomiting and nausea associated with some gastrointestinal problems and side effects from medical treatments.
- Immune Response: When the immune system goes into overdrive, it may mistake and attack some of the ‘good cells’ that are essential for gastrointestinal health. Research on CBD has shown that it can help regulate the body’s immune response. Specifically, this study15 shows that CBD can modulate immunological endpoints and even improve immune responses handling toxins and allergens.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Stomach issues
Gastrointestinal issues have serious negative effects on an individual’s quality of life. Thankfully, research is starting to show that CBD could be a promising alternative to conventional treatments to help manage symptoms of GI and stomach issues. Scientific evidence suggests that CBD has many remarkable properties that may be useful in helping people with a number of stomach related issues by reducing inflammation, improving gut health, regulating bowel movements, managing pain perception, improving appetite, moderating immune responses, and reducing nausea.