Whether you have an iron gut or not, a night of tequila shots and tacos will send you running to the nearest porcelain convenience, it’s essential to have a special tool to help you comfortably pass stool. We’re not talking about a laxative, nor are we talking about filling your bowels full of heavy fiber. What we are talking about is CBD. Yep, you read that right.
Chances are that you’re already familiar with CBD, and you may already be aware of its well-earned reputation for things like promoting a healthy mood, a sense of calm and ability to support muscle and joint comfort. But CBD can do a lot more for you, including being a buddy to your bowels by promoting positive digestive health.
How does CBD work?
CBD is one of the 120 cannabinoid compounds found within the cannabis plant. Not to be confused with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is not psychoactive and will not get you high. What it does do, however, is interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex system of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoid molecules, and metabolic enzymes that work together to create homeostasis throughout the body. The ECS features CB1 receptors located in the brain and nervous system and CB2 receptors located in the peripheral nervous system and the immune system. Net, ECS receptors are all over the body and fostering the these receptors can greatly affect overall wellness.
How does CBD benefit the gut?
The gut benefits from CBD in a number of exciting, if not slightly gross ways. For example, CBD can support the digestive tract against inflammation, infections, abdominal pain, upset stomach, and more. And yes, it also can help with gastric secretion and GI motility[i], which is the movement of muscles and nerves within the digestive tract to move any items within it: items like digested food and yes, you guessed it, stool.
To unlock the mystery of why CBD helps gut health, one needs to consider the fact that the endocannabinoid system is widely distributed throughout the gut.[ii] Studies indicate that CBD works with CB1 receptors for regulating stomach acid production, easing nausea and vomiting, and protecting the stomach. Meanwhile, CBD interacts with CB2 receptors within the endocannabinoid system of the gut to promote the modulation of inflammation and inhibition of visceral sensitivity and pain.[iii]
While we may just be beginning to digest CBD’s full potential, studies are ongoing to see what role CBD might play in easing some of the symptoms associated with conditions like Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, ulcerative colitis, constipation, gastritis, and leaky gut with promising early results.
What’s the Best Way to Use CBD for Digestive Health?
There are many ways to introduce CBD into your system. Smoking, vaping, and topical creams are popular choices. However, ingesting CBD in food or drink form is, arguably, your best option for boosting gut health. The logic behind this theory is twofold: First, this is the easiest way to regulate how much CBD you’re introducing into your system. Second: Ingesting CBD in food or drink form ensures that it will make it into the digestive tract itself where it can get to work.
Whether you’re looking to settle the stomach, promote gut comfort, or poop like a champion, CBD might be just what you need. While science is still working to uncover all the mysteries of just how many ways CBD can promote gut health, people worldwide are already reaping its benefits. Maybe it’s time to find out for yourself.
[i] Izzo, Angelo, and Keith A Sharkey. “Cannabinoids and the Gut: New Developments and Emerging Concepts.” ResearchGate, Apr. 2010, Article Link
[ii] Izzo, A A, and A A Coutts. “Cannabinoids and the Digestive Tract.” Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2005, Article Link
[iii] Wright, K L, et al. “Cannabinoid CB2 Receptors in the Gastrointestinal Tract: a Regulatory System in States of Inflammation.” British Journal of Pharmacology, Nature Publishing Group, Jan. 2008, Article Link