Cannabinoids are emerging as a powerful tool in medicine to help regulate human processes as varied as appetite, immune health, and gut health.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that act on certain receptors on our cells. Endocannabinoids are naturally produced in the body and phytocannabinoids are found in plant sources.
The human endocannabinoid system regulates how these natural compounds interact with our bodies, and newer research has isolated just what benefits to our gut health we stand to gain from natural sources of cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids help to improve symptoms of Intestinal Permeability
National Institutes of Health-funded research out of the University of California Riverside focused on the reduction of intestinal inflammation when the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) was introduced into the gastrointestinal system.
This reduction in intestinal inflammation has also been associated with a reduction in epithelial permeability or leaky gut.
Leaky gut can lead to food sensitivities, increased visceral fat, liver fat, a larger waist circumference, and overall metabolic dysfunction.
Cannabidiol helps to reduce appetite and incidences of obesity
In animal models, food intake over a four-hour period was significantly reduced by oral intake of cannabidiol.
Other research has also shown that antagonists of the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) can cause positive changes in the gut bacteria of hosts. This can help improve Diet-Induced Obesity as well as hyperglycemia and insulin resistance.
CBD is an indirect antagonist of the cannabinoid receptor 1.
Cannabinoids help to improve symptoms of Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)
Cannabinoids have been shown to reduce cramping and gastrointestinal motility that is associated with IBD and particularly diarrhea predominant forms.
CBD has also been shown to reduce the intestinal damage associated with clostridium difficile infection due to its ability to preserve mucosal integrity.
Clostridium difficile infection causes severe diarrhea and has an annual incidence of ∼450,000 cases in the U.S. with a mortality rate of up to 20%.
The wide-ranging benefits of cannabinoids have strong implications for the improvement of overall gut health.
Adding natural, non-psychoactive plant cannabinoids in your supplement arsenal can reduce symptoms of gut inflammation and irritability, while also modulating appetite and helping you achieve a more desirable waistline.
A practitioner who takes a holistic approach focusing on diet and age management through natural interventions can help you create a treatment plan. That can include these and other natural compounds to help you feel better and live better.
DiPatrizio, N. V. 2016. Endocannabinoids in the Gut. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
Farrimond, J. A., Whalley, B. J. and Williams, C. M. 2012. Cannabinol and cannabidiol exert opposing effects on rat feeding patterns. Psychopharmacology.
Mehrpouya-Bahrami, P., Chitrala, K. N., Ganewatta, M. S., Tang, C., Murphy, E. A., Enos, R. T., et al. 2017. Blockade of CB1 cannabinoid receptor alters gut microbiota and attenuates inflammation and diet-induced obesity. Scientific Reports.
Sharkey, K. A. & Wiley, J. W. 2016. The role of the endocannabinoid system in the brain-gut axis. Gastroenterology.
Gigli, S., Seguella, L., Pesce, M., Bruzzese, E., D’Alessandro, A., Cuomo, R., et al. 2017. Cannabidiol restores intestinal barrier dysfunction and inhibits the apoptotic process induced by Clostridium difficile toxin A in Caco-2 cells. United European Gastroenterology Journal.