cbd oil for gut health

Inside Look: Hemp Extract and the Microbiome

The fascinating research into the microbiome over the past decade has revealed that the gut is the root of all wellness, and that giving your digestive tract lots of TLC is absolutely essential for maintaining vibrant, lasting health. Supporting the health of your gut might include things like consuming plenty of whole plant foods in your diet, taking prebiotic and probiotic supplements, spending time outdoors in nature, engaging in mindfulness practice, and making loving connections—but now we’re learning that CBD oil from the hemp plant may be a worthwhile (and surprising!) addition to your gut health regimen.

Unfortunately, because of the stigma related to cannabis in general, the benefits of CBD (cannabidiol) have been largely ignored by the bulk of serious scientists for many years. But the latest research is highlighting its remarkable potential for sustaining gut wellness and overall health. Discover how non-psychoactive, legal CBD oil can help support a glowing vitality that radiates from your gut to every cell in your body!

What Is CBD Oil? Cannabidiol and the Endocannabinoid System

Within your miraculous body is a vast network of cell receptors and corresponding molecules known as the endocannabinoid system, which stretches across your brain, GI tract, nervous system, glands, skin, immune system, and connective tissues. The receptors (primarily CB1 and CB2) and the endocannabinoid molecules inside you fit together like locks and keys to help regulate bodily functions from head to toe. Although the endocannabinoid system performs differently depending on the location in your body, its ultimate goal is always balance, homeostasis, and wellness. 1

Interestingly, the endocannabinoid system doesn’t only respond to cannabinoids produced inside your body (endocannabinoids); it interacts with cannabinoids from external sources as well. Plants in the cannabis family also produce cannabinoid compounds that interact effectively with this fascinating system.

Two of the cannabis plant cannabinoids most widely studied for their medicinal potential (of more than 60 such compounds!) are THC (found in high concentrations in marijuana), and CBD, which exists in high concentrations in hemp plants. THC fits directly into the CB1 receptor, producing the experience known as a “high.” CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t fit exactly into CB1 or CB2—but it’s able to stimulate activity in both types of receptors without binding to them and it works to inhibit enzymes that break down endocannabinoids, effectively encouraging wellness all across the body without producing any sort of a psychoactive response. 2

CBD oil is a natural extract from the Cannabis Sativa L. plant, also known as hemp, that works in harmony with your endocannabinoid system and is legal in all 50 states. In addition to a significant cannabidiol commonent, CBD oil products may also contain other beneficial non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBC, CBG, and CBN—as well as vitamins, trace minerals, amino acids, terpenes, fatty acids, antioxidants, and additional nutrients.

It’s important to understand that trace amounts of THC are also found in hemp plants, and CBD oil can legally contain up to 0.3% THC. But don’t worry—this miniscule amount won’t have any kind of psychological affect and doesn’t show up on drug tests.

One of the most popular ways to support your endocannabinoid system with cannabidiol is by supplementing with CBD oil products, which come in a dropper bottle to take orally, but CBD is also sold in capsule, edible, isolate, and vape oil forms.

CBD Oil for Gut Health

The link between a robust microbiome and overall health has been clear for some time, and research shows supplementing with a high quality, time-released probiotic (like PRO-15) is an excellent way to support your microbial community.

The exciting news is that evidence is beginning to support the theory that the gut microbiome is very much interconnected with the body’s endocannabinoid system, suggesting that probiotics and CBD might work together in a complementary way to keep your gut in top form.

Here’s what we know so far:
• When your microbiome is out of balance, it can compromise the gut barrier, leading to many unpleasant health challenges, such as uncomfortable digestion, anxious or sad mood, poor energy, and blood sugar issues. 3,4,5,6,7
• Between the cells that line the intestine are gaps called tight junctions that open and close to allow nutrition through to the bloodstream, while blocking inhospitable microbes that could harm us. The microbiome plays an important role in keeping tight junctions functioning as they should—and when it contains the right helpful bacteria, it acts as a gatekeeper to help keep undesirable intestinal contents from leaking out into the rest of the body. 8
• Animal research shows that cannabinoids like CBD improve the gut microbiome by increasing the numbers of beneficial microbes and inhibiting undesirable strains of bacteria that would otherwise compromise the gut barrier. 9
• In one study, Lactobacillus probiotic supplementation increased the expression of intestinal cannabinoid receptors in rats, improving microbial composition and reducing certain digestive issues. 10
• Plant cannabinoids including CBD strengthen the gut barrier in vitro by reducing gut permeability associated with temporary inflammation. 11

CBD also shows promise for encouraging healthy digestion in general. Clinical studies show that CBD and other cannabinoids seem to reduce temporary gut inflammation, overactive motility, bloating, abdominal discomfort, unsettled tummy, and poor appetite. 12,13,14

More CBD Oil Benefits

Finding out that CBD is great for your gut is reason enough to celebrate, but it turns out the benefits are much farther reaching. Cannabidiol helps keep you feeling your best in lots of other great ways including:

• Healthy joints: Research in Israel revealed that CBD protected at-risk joints from further decline as well as reduced achiness and temporary inflammation. 15
• Strong bones: CBD seems to have a protective effect on bones, helping to preserve their strength in older adults.16 It may also encourage bone healing regardless of age. When rodents were given CBD, their broken limbs healed faster than those that didn’t receive cannabidiol. 17
• Calm, pleasant mood: CBD may help you relax, even during stressful events like public speaking or mingling in large groups, and it also encourages a sense of sunny optimism—all without any psychoactive effect. 18,19,20
• Optimal brain and neurologic function: Multiple studies find that in both children and adults, cannabidiol appears to have a protective effect on the brain and neurological system, supporting healthy function and healing. 21,22
• Restful sleep: Taking CBD before bedtime helped children fall asleep and improved their sleep quality. 23
• Healthy blood sugar levels: Animal research shows that CBD is associated with improved blood sugar levels and pancreatic function. 24
• Cardiovascular wellness: CBD has been found to relax dilated arteries and have a protective effect on cardiovascular health. 25
• Protection at the cellular level: Cannabidiol seems to encourage your cells to work together as a team in order to maintain wellness in bodily areas including the blood, breasts, colon, and cervix. 26,27,28,29,30,31
• Relief from occasional aches and pains: CBD shows promise for easing temporary discomfort and soreness throughout the body. 32

Choosing a High-Quality CBD Oil

Unfortunately all CBD oils are not the same, and some may contain very little cannabidiol. To protect yourself, look for an established brand such as Hempure that makes full-spectrum CBD products using organically grown materials with zero THC. Hempure also utilizes third-party laboratory testing to test for potency, toxins, microbes, terpenes, and solvents—and consumers can easily view the results on the website.

Your CBD oil should also be cruelty free, sustainably sourced, and free of any artificial additives of any kind. Typically CBD oil isn’t a single-ingredient product, so it’s perfectly fine if your hemp extract is sold in a healthy oil base such as olive or coconut, so long as you can be confident about how much cannabidiol the bottle actually contains. When shopping for CBD, it’s important not to confuse CBD oil with culinary hemp oil, which is a delicious, healthy ingredient for smoothies and salad dressings, but contains no cannabidiol at all.

CBD oil shows great potential as a wonderful addition to a gut-healthy lifestyle. Partnering well with probiotics and prebiotics, it rounds out a gut-friendly trio that will help keep you feeling your best at every stage of life.

1. Mouslech Z, Valla V. (2009). Endocannabinoid system: An overview of its potential in current medical practice. Neuro Endocrinology Letters, 30(2):153-79.

2. Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S. A., Hegde, V. L., & Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future Medicinal Chemistry, 1(7), 1333-1349. doi:10.4155/fmc.09.93

3. Maes, M., Kubera, M., Leunis, J., & Berk, M. (2012). Increased IgA and IgM responses against gut commensals in chronic depression: Further evidence for increased bacterial translocation or leaky gut. Journal of Affective Disorders, 141(1), 55-62. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2012.02.023

4. Fetissov, S. O., & Déchelotte, P. (2011). The new link between gut–brain axis and neuropsychiatric disorders. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 14(5), 477-482. doi:10.1097/mco.0b013e32834936e7

5. De Kort, S., Keszthelyi, D., & Masclee, A. A. (2011). Leaky gut and diabetes mellitus: what is the link? Obesity Reviews, 12(6), 449-458. doi:10.1111/j.1467-789x.2010.00845.x

6. Camilleri, M., Lasch, K., & Zhou, W. (2012). Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Methods, Mechanisms, and Pathophysiology. The confluence of increased permeability, inflammation, and pain in irritable bowel syndrome. American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 303(7), G775-G785. doi:10.1152/ajpgi.00155.2012

7. Maes, M., Mihaylova, I., & Leunis, J. (2007). Increased serum IgA and IgM against LPS of enterobacteria in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): Indication for the involvement of gram-negative enterobacteria in the etiology of CFS and for the presence of an increased gut–intestinal permeability. Journal of Affective Disorders, 99(1-3), 237-240. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2006.08.021

8. Guo, S., Al-Sadi, R., Said, H. M., & Ma, T. Y. (2013). Lipopolysaccharide Causes an Increase in Intestinal Tight Junction Permeability in Vitro and in Vivo by Inducing Enterocyte Membrane Expression and Localization of TLR-4 and CD14. The American Journal of Pathology, 182(2), 375-387. doi:10.1016/j.ajpath.2012.10.014

9. Zinah Zamil Al-Ghezi, Hasan F Alghetaa, Mitzi Nagarkatti and Prakash Nagarkatti. (2017). Combination of cannabinoids, Δ9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), mitigate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) by altering the gut microbiome. The Journal of Immunology, 198 (1 Supplement) 219.20

10. Rousseaux, C., Thuru, X., Gelot, A., Barnich, N., Neut, C., Dubuquoy, L., … Desreumaux, P. (2006). Lactobacillus acidophilus modulates intestinal pain and induces opioid and cannabinoid receptors. Nature Medicine, 13(1), 35-37. doi:10.1038/nm1521

11. Alhamoruni, A., Wright, K., Larvin, M., & O’Sullivan, S. (2012). Cannabinoids mediate opposing effects on inflammation-induced intestinal permeability. British Journal of Pharmacology, 165(8), 2598-2610. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01589.x

12. Pagano, E., Capasso, R., Piscitelli, F., Romano, B., Parisi, O. A., Finizio, S., … Borrelli, F. (2016). An Orally Active Cannabis Extract with High Content in Cannabidiol attenuates Chemically-induced Intestinal Inflammation and Hypermotility in the Mouse. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 7. doi:10.3389/fphar.2016.00341

13. Lal S., Prasad, N., Ryan, M., Tangri, S., Silverberg, M.S., Gordon, A., Steinhart, H. (2011). Cannabis use amongst patients with inflammatory bowel disease. European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 23(10):891-6. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e328349bb4c.

14. Ahmed, W., & Katz, S. (2016). Therapeutic Use of Cannabis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 12(11), 668-679.

15. Kaplan, B. L., Springs, A. E., & Kaminski, N. E. (2008). The profile of immune modulation by cannabidiol (CBD) involves deregulation of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT). Biochemical Pharmacology, 76(6), 726-737. doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2008.06.022

16. Idris, A. I., Sophocleous, A., Landao-Bassonga, E., Canals, M., Milligan, G., Baker, D., … Ralston, S. H. (2009). Cannabinoid Receptor Type 1 Protects against Age- Related Osteoporosis by Regulating Osteoblast and Adipocyte Differentiation in Marrow Stromal Cells. Cell Metabolism, 10(2), 139-147. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2009.07.006

17. Kogan, N. M., Melamed, E., Wasserman, E., Raphael, B., Breuer, A., Stok, K. S., … Bab, I. (2015). Cannabidiol, a Major Non-Psychotropic Cannabis Constituent Enhances Fracture Healing and Stimulates Lysyl Hydroxylase Activity in Osteoblasts. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 30(10), 1905-1913. doi:10.1002/jbmr.2513

18. Linge, R., Jiménez-Sánchez, L., Campa, L., Pilar-Cuéllar, F., Vidal, R., Pazos, A., … Díaz, Á. (2016). Cannabidiol induces rapid-acting antidepressant-like effects and enhances cortical 5-HT/glutamate neurotransmission: role of 5-HT1A receptors. Neuropharmacology, 103, 16-26. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.12.017

19. Bergamaschi, M. M., Queiroz, R. H., Chagas, M. H., De Oliveira, D. C., De Martinis, B. S., Kapczinski, F., … Crippa, J. A. (2011). Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients. Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(6), 1219-1226. doi:10.1038/npp.2011.6

20. Schier, A. R., Ribeiro, N. P., E Silva, A. C., Hallak, J. E., Crippa, J. A., Nardi, A. E., & Zuardi, A. W. (2012). Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 34, S104-S117. doi:10.1016/s1516-4446(12)70057-0

21. Porter, B. E., & Jacobson, C. (2013). Report of a parent survey of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis use in pediatric treatment-resistant epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior, 29(3), 574-577. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2013.08.037

22. Pazos, M., Cinquina, V., Gómez, A., Layunta, R., Santos, M., Fernández-Ruiz, J., & Martínez-Orgado, J. (2012). Cannabidiol administration after hypoxia–ischemia to newborn rats reduces long-term brain injury and restores neurobehavioral function. Neuropharmacology, 63(5), 776-783. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.05.034

23. Shannon, S. (2016). Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report. The Permanente Journal. doi:10.7812/tpp/16-005

24. Weiss, L., Zeira, M., Reich, S., Har-Noy, M., Mechoulam, R., Slavin, S., & Gallily, R. (2006). Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Autoimmunity, 39(2), 143-151. doi:10.1080/08916930500356674

25. Stanley, C. P., Hind, W. H., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2013). Is the cardiovascular system a therapeutic target for cannabidiol? British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 75(2), 313-322. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04351.x

26. Massi, P., Solinas, M., Cinquina, V., & Parolaro, D. (2013). Cannabidiol as potential anticancer drug. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 75(2), 303-312. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04298.x

27. Ligresti, A. (2006). Antitumor Activity of Plant Cannabinoids with Emphasis on the Effect of Cannabidiol on Human Breast Carcinoma. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 318(3), 1375-1387. doi:10.1124/jpet.106.105247

28. Shrivastava, A., Kuzontkoski, P. M., Groopman, J. E., & Prasad, A. (2011). Cannabidiol Induces Programmed Cell Death in Breast Cancer Cells by Coordinating the Cross-talk between Apoptosis and Autophagy. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 10(7), 1161-1172. doi:10.1158/1535-7163.mct-10-1100

29. Lukhele, S. T., & Motadi, L. R. (2016). Cannabidiol rather than Cannabis sativa extracts inhibit cell growth and induce apoptosis in cervical cancer cells. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 16(1). doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1280-0

30. McKallip, R. J. (2006). Cannabidiol-Induced Apoptosis in Human Leukemia Cells: A Novel Role of Cannabidiol in the Regulation of p22phox and Nox4 Expression. Molecular Pharmacology, 70(3), 897-908. doi:10.1124/mol.106.023937

31. Romano, B., Borrelli, F., Pagano, E., Cascio, M. G., Pertwee, R. G., & Izzo, A. A. (2014). Inhibition of colon carcinogenesis by a standardized Cannabis sativa extract with high content of cannabidiol. Phytomedicine, 21(5), 631-639. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2013.11.006

32. Formukong, E. A., Evans, A. T., & Evans, F. J. (1988). Analgesic and antiinflammatory activity of constituents of Cannabis sativa L. Inflammation, 12(4), 361-371. doi:10.1007/bf00915771

Roberta Pescow is a writer at Hyperbiotics and proud mom of two amazing and unique young men. Natural wellness is a subject she’s passionate about, so she loves sharing information that helps others discover all the ways probiotics support glowing health and well-being. To learn more about how a healthy microbiome can enrich your life, subscribe to our newsletter.

CBD Oil and Gut Health – Can It Improve Leaky Gut?

Have you wondered if CBD Oil could help restore your gut health?

A colleague of mine, Sally, is a health coach and she is full of important information on CBD oil and gut health to share with you, answering all of the questions you may have.

If you have heard CBD oil and are not sure what all the buzz is about, this article is for you.

CBD Oil and Gut Health

  1. A little history

Hemp (or cannabis) has been used for centuries and has been dated all the way back to prehistory. The earliest known record of it being used for medicinal purposes goes back to 2727 BCE, where Emperor Shen Neng actually advocated that it should be taken as a tea to help pain, arthritis, malaria and memory disorders.

We even know that the Egyptians were already using it for reducing tumor growths! For centuries, it was one of the most widely used natural herbs for every ailment you can think of, until its ban in the early 20 th century. This was largely lobbied by the pharmaceutical industry, as it had an unfair advantage of healing without side effects!

  1. What is CBD? + Legality

So what is CBD? Well, CBD is technically a “phytocannabinoid”, and it is one of over 60 known compounds found in the hemp plant (THC is another compound, which we’ll discuss further down). It works very similarly to neurochemicals called endocannabinoids that are found in our own body (and that we naturally produce). These endocannabinoids are found to be responsible for many systems in our body, including sleep, healing, and digestion.

Our internal endocannabinoid system acts in two great ways: First, it regulates pleasure and energy, and second, it helps our body go back to a state of wellbeing after injury or disease.

Because the phytocannabinoids in CBD are so similar to our own endocannabinoids in the body, they act in the same way a key fits a lock: The cannabinoids fit in and activate our endocannabinoid system, stimulating healing.

Due to these similarities between CBD and our own system, some of its incredible attributes are that it has virtually no side effects and a zero percent chance of overdose. This is a huge advantage, compared to the disastrous consequences of pharmaceutical overdoses and side effects in our modern world.

  1. Will I get high?

Absolutely not! The compound in cannabis that makes you feel “high” is called THC, which is a completely different compound to CBD. There is absolutely no conceivable way for you to feel high with CBD unless it also contains high amounts of THC. All you have to do is read the label and make sure that it contains only CBD. It will usually contain only a trace amount of THC, but this will NEVER be enough to make you high and wouldn’t even show up in blood tests. Furthermore, CBD oil is legal in all 50 states, so you didn’t worry about getting arrested.

The stigma that has been attached to cannabis is slowly dissipating now that we are realizing its potentially incredible healing benefits, and I encourage you to be very open-minded about this particular compound of it, which could help you in surprising ways.

  1. What does CBD oil help?

The endocannabinoid system is responsible for so many essential parts of our body, including inflammation, mood, pain, and healing. Because of this, activating it through CBD has been found to help a huge host of ailments.

Pacher and Kuno (2013) stated in a review that “modulating the endocannabinoid system may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans, including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, and cancer”.

Indeed, the list of ailments that are actually improved with CBD is so incredibly long because of the fact that our endocannabinoid system is so essential to our everyday life of wellness and disease. To give you an idea, here are some conditions that have been shown to be improved with CBD:

  • – Cancer
  • – Heart Disease
  • – Alzheimer’s Disease
  • – Parkinson’s Disease
  • – Anxiety and Stress
  • – Sleep
  • – ALS
  • – Autoimmune disorders
  • – Diabetes
  • – IBS
  • – Chronic pain
  • – Asthma
  • And many more…
  1. How does CBD help your gut?

Because our endocannabinoid system is so central to so many functions, it can help our gut in a number of different ways, namely:

  1. Inflammation

The decline in gut health is often associated with chronic inflammation in the body, and clinical studies have found that CBD could temporarily reduce this inflammation, as well as reduce bloating and stomach aches.

Moreover, another study on rats showed that increased levels of endocannabinoids in the body (stimulated by CBD) were found to block the development of colitis in mice that had inflammatory bowel disease.

Thus, the first way CBD helps to improve gut health is by decreasing the inflammation associated with it.

  1. Gut Permeability

Inflammation is a big cause in gut permeability, CBD is already helping to mitigate this particular issue. On top of this, in a study on rats, researchers found that “Cannabinoids are likely to increase gut motility and possibly reduce intestinal permeability (….) especially in patients with diabetes.”

More research into this shows that CBD seems to increase good gut bacteria, while decreasing and killing off any bad bacteria and pathogens, again contributing to reducing the possibility of a leaky gut.

  1. Anxiety and stress

At this point, we know the devastating role stress and anxiety have on our gut health. It has even been shown that the endocannabinoid system seems to be affected by early-life stress, which can then turn into IBS later in life, meaning that an under-active endocannabinoid system could actually create gut issues.

Using CBD for stress is an old and well-known technique. Its use has even appeared in a Vedic text dated around 2’000 BCE, so its reputation is known. Indeed, many studies have demonstrated CBD’s ability to promote stress resilience and decreased anxiety by relaxing the muscles in the body.

  1. Pain

Ah, pain. Of all the uses for CBD, pain seems to be the main reason for its use, and dozens of randomized controlled trials on thousands of patients have positively demonstrated its ability to lessen the pain for all sorts of disorders.

This, of course, makes sense, as the endocannabinoid system is centrally involved in the processing of pain signals. By therefore activating this system through the use of phytocannabinoids like CBD, we can effectively reduce pain by both relaxing the muscles that react to it, as well as actually treating the cause of the pain.

5. An overall gut health tool

We can, therefore, determine that by improving these four factors (inflammation, gut permeability, stress, and pain), we can effectively reduce both the symptoms of bad gut health, like diarrhea, stomachaches, and pain, as well as start to improve and even restore gut health completely.

Of course, restoring gut health should be a holistic practice, in which you should involve other elements like probiotics, meditation and consuming whole natural foods. However, it does seem that CBD could potentially be a new powerful arsenal in our improvement of gut diseases.

  1. How to take CBD

CBD can be taken in a huge variety of forms, from smoking to gummy bears to oils. Each of these methods can be considered, and it’s up to you to figure out how you would enjoy it the most. Personally, I opted for an oil-based CBD, and put a few drops under my tongue, leaving it there to be absorbed for about 30 seconds to a minute, swallowing the rest. Another great way to take it is in tablet form with water.

  1. Dosage

The dosage of cannabis is extremely individualized, as each person metabolizes it differently. Leonard Leinow, in his book “CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis” suggests starting with around 0.15mg/day/lb of body weight, and slowly increasing over the week to around 0.5mg/day/lb of body weight. This means that if you weigh 150 pounds, you should start taking 22mg of CBD, working your way up to around 75mg of CBD. However, once again, it is entirely up to you to define which quantity will start to relieve your symptoms, as some people will invariably do better with less and some with more.

There you have it! I truly hope that you will be able to find relief in your symptoms by adding this small but mighty tool into your regimen.

Let us know if you have tried it and how it has helped you!

CBD Oil and Gut Health

Author bio

Sally is a health coach, specialized in gut health, dedicated to helping women feel empowered and excited to become the happiest, most balanced version of themselves.

She provides great resources to help with gut symptoms, including a free 30-day Gut Health Challenge, which you can take part in here.


CBD Oil and Gut Health

– Pacher and Kunos (2014) “Modulating the endocannabinoid system in human health and disease: successes and failures” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684164/

– Leinow and Birnbaum (2017) “CBD: A patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis”

– Zinah Zamil Al-Ghezi, Hasan F Alghetaa, Mitzi Nagarkatti and Prakash Nagarkatti. (2017) “Combination of cannabinoids, THC and cannabidiol (CBD), mitigate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) by altering the gut microbiome.”

– G. A Grieson (1894) “The Hemp Plant in Sanskrit and Hindi Literature”

– A.R Schier et al (2012) “Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa Constituent, as an Anxiolytic Drug”

– E. B. Russo (2008) “Cannabinoids in the management of Difficult to Treat Pain”

CBD and Gut Health, An Overview

Robust gut health isn’t just about digestion—although it plays a major role. The way your digestion system functions has been linked to an array of physiological processes, including hormone regulation, toxin elimination, defense against bacteria and viruses, cell regeneration, and more.

There’s so much control happening throughout your GI tract, that it’s been called the “second brain,” and when disease, stress, pollutants, or poor nutrition negatively affects that brain, it can have a profound impact on how you operate. That’s why a substance like Cannabidiol—which has effects throughout the digestive system—shows such promise for gut health.

“There are cannabinoid receptors in the GI tract that are there to help maintain homeostasis within the body,” says Michelle Weiner, DO, MPH, of the Spine and Wellness Centers of America. “When your gut is out of whack, it can have a ripple effect throughout every system, affecting everything from your immune response to your emotional health. CBD can help get you back on track by addressing and correcting imbalances in the gut.”

The CBD and Gut-Health Connection

When it comes to the mechanisms of action that causes CBD to be beneficial throughout the digestive system, there are two major processes involved:


Whether you’re dealing with Crohn’s disease, which affects that lining of the digestive tract, or another problem affecting the digestive system, it’s likely that your biggest problem is inflammation. When any part of this system becomes inflamed, it can lead to a range of symptoms, from malnutrition due to lack of proper nutrient absorption to severe diarrhea that has a cascading effect of fatigue and dehydration.

CBD has been shown to reduce systemic inflammation, according to James Holley, molecular biologist with the International Cannabinoid Cancer Research Institute. For digestion, it does this in several ways, he notes. “In the stomach, it does so by desensitizing the ‘capsaicin receptor,” he says. “This receptor is responsible for triggering inflammation in the mucous membranes in the gut, a phenomenon generally known to those who eat spicy foods and feel a burning sensation.”

Immune response

In addition to lowering inflammation, CBD can be beneficial for improving the type of immune process that originates in the gut, Weiner adds.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have noted that there is significant interaction between the body’s immune system and gut bacteria, and that a huge portion of your immune system is actually in your GI tract.

With many types of GI imbalance, the immune response goes into overdrive, which is one of the reasons that inflammation is so prevalent. The body attacks what it believes to be invaders, but there are some good guys in there as well, sending the whole GI system off track.

CBD has been shown to suppress some immunological endpoints in a way that’s beneficial—basically, it may regulate immune response to tamp down a hyperactive immune system. Not only does that provide one more way to reduce inflammation, but it can also improve immune-related processes like handling allergens and toxins.

By making a significant difference in how these two processes are handled by the body—and particularly throughout the gut—CBD may help ease symptoms of numerous conditions that affect the digestive system.

The Emotional Component

In addition to potentially lowering inflammation and improving immune response, CBD oil may play a part in helping those with gut-health problems deal with emotional challenges as well.

Regulating anxiety, stress, and depression is a huge deal when it comes to better gut functioning, because the microbiome is constantly sending messages to the brain, and vice versa, according to Harvard Medical School.

Stress and other psychological factors affect movement and contractions of the GI tract, a recent Harvard post notes. That can make existing inflammation worse, and even make you more prone to infection or lowered immune response. Those with GI disorders also tend to perceive pain more acutely, Harvard researchers note, simply because an impaired GI tract can boost pain signals—creating even more anxiety and stress.

Although more research is needed into the effects of CBD oil on anxiety—and subsequent gut-health benefits—preliminary evidence is promising, and many health care practitioners who use CBD oil have a strong anecdotal basis for recommending CBD to patients.

“When you see someone with gastrointestinal symptoms, no matter what type of condition they have, it’s very common to see anxiety and stress as part of their condition,” says Weiner. “That becomes a vicious cycle. Their anxiety may be increased because their gut health is off, and then the resulting symptoms, in turn, cause them to feel even more stressed.”

Getting Synergistic

CBD can be part of a comprehensive approach to address the underlying issues of gut imbalance, and ease symptoms like cramping, fatigue, and diarrhea.

Other strategies can include chewing food more thoroughly, eating smaller meals throughout the day, not eating for a few hours before bedtime, taking probiotics, and increasing vegetable consumption.

When tactics like these are employed together, along with CBD, they can help boost homeostasis and gut health, says Brandon Baird, a chemist and Chief Executive Officer of PolyPhase Health. That’s when your “second brain”—the digestive system—can get back online, and working the way it should.

Like other benefits of CBD, more research is needed to understand how strategies like probiotic use and CBD can work together for gut health, Baird says. But based on anecdotal evidence, he looks forward to more studies that emphasize the strength of using CBD in conjunction with other gut-happy tactics.

“I think there will be a paradigm shift when we have more data available, and many experts have no doubt that day is coming,” he says. “Using CBD products can provide a holistic solution to whole-body health, and that includes gut health.”