Inside the Gut: How CBD May Balance Bacteria for Better Health
As gut health has been pushed to the forefront of modern health discussions, research has shown the bacterial microbiome once exclusively associated with digestive disorders is actually linked to whole-body health concerns. Everything from heart disease to acne to mental health conditions could be impacted by an unbalanced gut, or one in which the “bad” bacteria are not adequately controlled.1
Where do cannabinoids come into play? New research suggests gut health may actually be influenced by the endocannabinoid system, with “endo” distinguishing the internal cannabinoid system of humans from external organisms. Within this system, there are two types of endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 receptors located in the central nervous system, and CB2 receptors in the peripheral nervous system.2 It is thought that endocannabinoids bind to these receptors on an as-needed basis to achieve equilibrium, a state of internal balance the body strives to maintain, by reducing factors such as pain and inflammation.2
While it is unknown how exactly cannabidiol (CBD) interacts with endocannabinoid receptors, there is a possibility CBD prevents endocannabinoids that bind to receptors from being broken down by enzymes after completing their functions.3 The result in this scenario is a longer-lasting sensation from the endocannabinoids, which could mean extended relief from pain and inflammation.
When examining the gut barrier, inflammation of the gut can increase intestinal permeability which then allows “bad” bacteria to travel from the gut to the rest of the body.3 Thus, CBD may strengthen this barrier by reducing the inflammation at the root of the problem, which in turn inhibits “bad” bacteria from compromising the gut and allows “good” bacteria to flourish.3
Although ongoing research regarding CBD’s effects on gut health appears to be mostly positive, it should be noted that no two endocannabinoid systems are identical. A positive response in one CBD user could be more or less powerful in another depending on the location of endocannabinoid receptors in the body.3
CBD’s possible impact on the gut microbiome holds promising potential for better understanding the endocannabinoid system and its external influences. As studies continue to paint a clearer picture of CBD, healthy habits like maintaining a well-balanced gut could become easier to manage with CBD products, not to mention beneficial for one’s overall health.
- How Your Gut Health Affects Your Whole Body. (n.d.). Retrieved January 19, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/ss/slideshow-how-gut-health-affects-whole-body
- Raypole, C. (2019, June 7). Endocannabinoid System: A Simple Guide to How It Works. Retrieved January 19, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/endocannabinoid-system-2
- Pescow, R. (n.d.). Inside Look: Hemp Extract and the Microbiome. Retrieved January 19, 2020, from https://www.hyperbiotics.com/blogs/recent-articles/inside-look-hemp-extract-and-the-microbiome