How does CBD affect your gut microbiome?

Does CBD = chill-mode for your microbiome, as well as your mind? Here’s what the science says …

First off, what is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis plants that has many potential health benefits.

A surprising discovery is that us humans have an endocannabinoid system in our bodies! In fact, our bodies produce its very own type of CBD-like molecules called endocannabinoids. No wonder we respond so well to CBD 😊

Our endocannabinoid system helps keep us healthy because it affects our bodies in a number of different ways including:

  • Sleep
  • Mood
  • Appetite
  • Memory
  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Reproduction
  • Stress

The endocannabinoid system also responds to CBD, which can affect how we feel and function.  

It’s no wonder that CBD-containing products – from oils to candy-style gummies – are taking the wellness world by storm.  

Does CBD affect our gut microbiome?

One of the areas that CBD may affect is the gut microbiome, which is the community of microorganisms that live in and on our bodies.

The gut microbiome plays a vital role in our digestion, immunity, metabolism, skin health, mood, and more!

CBD can influence the gut microbiome in several positive ways, by:

  1. Reducing gut permeability
  2. Regulating the bacteria in our gut
  3. Lowering gut inflammation

Let’s look at this in more detail.

1. Reducing gut permeability

The microbiome and endocannabinoid system are two powerful systems that interact with each other in various ways, influencing our gut microbiome and overall well-being.

Scientists believe they interact to maintain our intestinal barrier, which is essential to help prevent leakage of toxins and harmful microbes from our gut into the bloodstream.

  • The gut microbiota can also influence the integrity of the intestinal barrier by producing short-chain fatty acids that can activate cannabinoid receptors in the gut

2. Regulating the bacteria in our gut

Studies show that CBD and the endocannabinoid system can affect the type and diversity of microbes in our gut, which is an important part of gut health.

One study in mice found that a CBD-rich extract increased the number of Akkermancia muciniphila, a type of bacterium accepted as probiotic, which are beneficial bacteria that have a range of possible health benefits.   

At the same time, and as a note of caution, scientists have noted that high doses of CBD may trigger inflammation and a decrease in some gut bacteria. The team therefore cautions against the long-term effects of CBD usage and calls for further studies.

3. Lowering gut inflammation

CBD may lower gut inflammation and potentially reduce swelling and irritation of the intestinal lining.  

CBD may also affect the production of short-chain fatty acids, which are beneficial molecules produced by our gut bacteria. For example, SCFAs can influence inflammation, appetite, and energy metabolism.

More research is needed to determine the safest, most effective CBD dosages for people.

How are some ways to incorporate CBD into your gut health routine?

Sublingual (under the tongue):

  • One effective way to use CBD oil is sublingual, which involves holding the oil under the tongue for at least 60 seconds before swallowing to enable absorption

CBD-infused snacks:

  • There are plenty of delicious CBD-infused snacks out there, such as brownies, cookies, candies, and gummies. These products represent one of the easiest and simplest ways to incorporate CBD into your everyday routine

Making it routine:

A great way to incorporate a new supplement into your daily routine is to make it part of your morning or evening ritual.

You can add CBD capsules to the vitamins and other supplements you take every morning or evening, or use CBD oils/liquids in your morning coffee or nighttime cuppa tea!

Can CBD cause gut issues?

CBD may interact with other medications or supplements that affect the gut microbiome, such as antibiotics, probiotics, prebiotics, or fiber. CBD may either enhance or inhibit their effects, depending on the type and dose of each substance.

Whilst there are some reports that CBD can reduce gut permeability, stopping unwanted substances from leaving your gut into your bloodstream, some studies find that (high doses) may cause ‘leaky gut’.  

Therefore, it is important to consult with a doctor before using CBD, especially in combination with other products.

Summary

The ECS and the microbiome are closely intertwined and have a mutual influence on each other. They may both play important roles in maintaining gut health and general well-being. 

CBD may have different effects depending on the dose, route of administration, type of product, and individual factors. Therefore, it is important to consult with a doctor before using CBD for any health condition.

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References and further reading

CBD and the Microbiome – KGK Science

Endocannabinoid System: A Simple Guide to How It Works (healthline.com)

Gut Health, PEA, and Your Endocannabinoid System | Amy Myers MD

Potential Probiotic or Trigger of Gut Inflammation – The Janus-Faced Nature of Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract: Journal of Dietary Supplements: Vol 17, No 5 (tandfonline.com)