An optimally functioning digestive system is essential for good health, and will also help make life a lot more comfortable. Unfortunately, gastrointestinal disorders have a very high incidence rate in the United States, with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, inflammatory bowel diseases, and colon cancer affecting a large percentage of the population.
While traditional treatment methods do not provide a long term solution for intestinal disorders, CBD has shown a lot of promise as a treatment for IBS, and as a means of promoting general gut health. In this article, we’re going to go over the importance of the endocannabinoid system in the digestive system, as well as how CBD is ideal for targeting it.
If you’re brand new to CBD, we suggest starting with our Beginner’s Guide to CBD.
The Endocannabinoid System in the Gut
Endocannabinoid receptors have been shown to exist in all of the body’s organs, and research suggests that the endocannabinoid system within the digestive tract may play a vital role in its healthy functioning. It is believed that the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) maintains homeostasis in the gut by controlling many important functions, including immune function, intestinal motility, and sensation.
Disruptions in the ECS could lead to the development of various intestinal disorders. In fact, studies indicate that the levels of endocannabinoids and CB receptors are altered (either above or below the normal amount) in patients with intestinal diseases such as IBS. While it is still unknown as to why low or elevated cannabinoid levels affect the digestive system, researchers estimate that it could be partly due to a cannabinoid deficiency.
In particular, the ECS has been implicated in the development of IBS, colitis, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease, and colorectal cancer. If this preliminary evidence is accurate, then the ECS could be instrumental in devising treatment plans for disorders that affect so many in the population.
Using CBD for IBS and Gut Health
Historically, cannabis has been used by up to 50% of patients with intestinal disorders to alleviate their symptoms. Cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, and CBG have been reported to ease pain and hypersensitivity in the bowels, as well as regulating gut motility. CBD has been identified as the most promising cannabinoid for IBS and gut health because of its non-psychoactive nature and strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions.
In one study, cannabis use by Crohn’s disease patients lowered the severity of their symptoms and reduced the need for other medicines, such as steroids.
CBD could also potentially be used in the treatment of colon cancer, as preliminary studies involving its use have shown to reduce the number of cancerous tumors and suppress malignant cell growth. Furthermore, abnormal ECS regulation leads to faster progression of various cancer cells, which implies that using CBD could help prevent colon cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.
Lastly, CBD’s therapeutic properties can indirectly lead to a healthier digestive system. Stress and anxiety are strongly correlated with gastrointestinal issues, and CBD is capable of addressing both of these causations. CBD is known to exhibit anti-anxiety and calming, sedative effects, which will in turn reduce the chances of experiencing intestinal discomfort.
The Future of CBD and Gut Health Research
While research is still in its early stages, CBD could eventually prove to be a vital alternative to conventional treatments for intestinal disorders. Its role in regulating the endocannabinoid system within the gut could also mean that using CBD might encourage a healthy functioning digestive system. While very promising, further research is necessary to find out more about the ECS’s role in gut health, as well as how CBD can be used to modulate its functions.
- Gut health and gastrointestinal (GI) functions can affect your whole body.
- The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) helps regulate gut health through immune function, intestinal motility, and sensation.
- CBD for IBS is showing promise due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Gut health has even been linked to anxiety and depression, for which CBD can be helpful.
- CBD for IBS is very promising but more research is needed.