One of the many proclaimed benefits of CBD is its ability to help improve our gut health and conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It’s surprising how the gut is still quite a mystery to us. However, the more we learn about it, the more we find that our gut’s health is essential to our overall health.
So can taking CBD truly help our gut?
As we know, CBD comes from cannabis plants, and there are reports that cannabis has cause constipation and lowered gut motility. Woah, that definitely doesn’t sound good for our gut! So what’s the answer? Let’s find out!
Can CBD Cause Constipation?
Sit back and relax because CBD does not cause constipation, but cannabis can. Wait how is that possible, isn’t CBD from cannabis?
While CBD does come from cannabis plants, not all compounds in it act the same. THC is the most well-known compound in cannabis, and that’s because it can cause a high when taken in large amounts. Large amounts that you find in marijuana.
THC causes a high because it strongly binds and over activates CB1 receptors which are heavily concentrated in the brain. However, you can also find CB1 receptors throughout the body, in particular, the digestive tract. When CB1 receptors are activated they slow down gut motility — stretching and contractions of the gastrointestinal (GI) muscles.
Since THC can bind stronger to CB1 receptors than our own endocannabinoids can, a strong dosage of THC can constipation. It’s pretty rare, but it definitely can happen.
CBD Can Cause Diarrhea
While CBD is extremely unlikely to cause constipation, there is a chance it can cause diarrhea.
Whereas THC binds to CB1 receptors in the gut, CBD indirectly interacts with CB2 receptors. CB2 receptors help normalize gut motility. Normally, this is good, and CBD helps improve gut health.
However, a few studies have found that CBD cause diarrhea when taken in high doses. We aren’t completely sure why but we have seen a biphasic effect with cannabinoids like CBD and THC. This means that what helps with an issue at lower dosages, can hurt at higher dosages.
For example, CBD is a mild stimulant at low and average dosages, but when high dosages are taken, it can make you tired. Because CBD products don’t just contain just CBD but hundreds of similar compounds, it may be a case of a lesser phytocannabinoid causing an issue when the body receives enough of it.
While we aren’t totally sure why CBD product can have counteracting effects at different dosages we have enough info to avoid it. The takeaway is if CBD causes you to have diarrhea, you may simply need to lower your dosages.
Can CBD Improve Digestive Issues?
We now know that CBD indirectly triggers CB2 receptors that help normalizes gut motility (GI muscles contracting). But what does that really mean for the health of our gut and what conditions can CBD help with?
Does CBD Help IBS?
When our gut muscles contract too much it can cause irritable bowel syndrome resulting in bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and you guessed it, constipation.
In 2012, one study looked at CBD’s anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects on the digestive system and IBS. They found that CBD had quite the number of substantial effects that may help with IBS from slowing it down to alleviating the symptoms.
Can CBD Oil Help Leaky Gut?
CBD may help with a “leaky gut”, a condition where bacteria and toxins make their way through the intestinal tract into the bloodstream. Research has shown CBD can restore endothelial membrane permeability. This is the barrier that blocks harmful pathogens and bacteria from moving between the gut and bloodstream during nutrient exchange.
We are still learning a lot about CBD and cannabis in general, but as we are coming to find it can play a key role in our gut health and gut motility. While you’re unlikely to experience constipation from CBD, THC can make you constipated. As well, high doses of CBD can cause diarrhea.
All-in-all, your gut will most likely thank you for giving it some CBD. CBD’s anti-inflammatory benefits may help calm gut issues and may even prevent them from ever occurring in the first place.
You’ll definitely want to keep your eyes on the lookout for future research on CBD’s ability to play a positive role in us having a healthy gut. You’ll also want to pay attention to future research on gut health, and the state of your gut. While, we don’t fully understand how vital of a role gut health plays, we do know it substantial.