How CBD Can Help Your Gut
You’ve probably heard about something called cannabinoids before, usually in reference to cannabis or marijuana. But did you know that your body produces its own cannabinoids?
It’s true! Your body has what’s called an endocannabinoid system–a complex system of naturally produced cannabinoids in the body. These endocannabinoids, as they are called, stimulate the cannabinoid receptors found in the different parts of the body.
The endocannabinoid system is involved in a lot of your body processes such as appetite, digestion, mood, the sensation of pain, inflammation, and even your memory.
When you take a cannabinoid such as the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC or cannabidiol (CBD), they fit into your cannabinoid receptors and affect the level of your neurotransmitters which ultimately affects how your brain cells communicate with each other. But as I mentioned, your own body makes cannabinoids–endo, means made within, hence the name endocannabinoid. Your brain makes these cannabinoids and they circulate throughout your body and attach to receptors to help your body in some way. Let’s explore how.
CBD and Digestion
Can CBD (derived from the hemp plant) help with digestion? Yes. Many researchers believe that the ECS (endocannabinoid system) is the link in the brain-gut axis. It allows communication between the central nervous system (CNS) and the enteric nervous system (ENS). The CNS is your brain and spinal cord while your ENS runs from your esophagus to your rectum. Both of them speak the same language, using the same receptors, neurons, and neurotransmitters.
Moreover, cannabinoid receptors are found in the entire GI tract. These systems work together closely.
In summary, the ECS affects your gut in three major ways:
- Modulate inflammation–The cannabinoid receptors, when stimulated by certain cannabinoids, help in protecting the gut from inflammation.
- Regulates digestive action–Proper gut motility ensures all food is digested and nutrients are well absorbed. Cannabinoids found in plants can stimulate the cannabinoid receptors so that nausea and vomiting are prevented. This calms the stomach and even decreases excess stomach acid. Much of the research shows that the endocannabinoid system regulates nausea and vomiting in humans and other animals.
- Regulates communication to your brain–As I mentioned earlier, the ECS links the brain and gut. When you are stressed or in pain, this alters your digestive function. When you have GI problems, this is communicated back to the brain.
4 Ways to Support your ECS
To support your ECS for gut health, take these tips into consideration:
- Manage your stress. Although it’s the ECS that helps regulate your stress response, chronic stress will deplete the ability of your ECS to do so. So take it easy. Make sure you have time to relax, rest, and recuperate. HeartMath, meditation, tai chi, yoga, and breathing exercises are all great ways to support your ECS.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking of alcohol definitely impairs the ability of your cannabinoid receptors to process cannabinoids.
- Eat dietary cannabinoids. These are found in cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage. Fatty fish, nuts, and seeds also contain fatty acids–like Omega 3 fatty acids–that are building blocks for endocannabinoids. Herbs and spices such as rosemary, black pepper, clove, and basil, are good sources, too!
- Take a CBD supplement. CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. CBD oil is natural and non-harmful. Thus you can use it for the long-term. You can check out the many health benefits of CBD oil by following this link.
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