Does CBD Help Digestion?
If you struggle with digestive problems, you’ll know how painful and debilitating they can be. Research into the effects of CBD indicates that this cannabis compound may be able to offer help improve digestion and keep the pain and stress of this condition at bay.
When digestion goes wrong
The digestive system is an essential part of our body, helping to break down the food and drink that you consume, allowing your body to extract all the nutrients and vitamins that you need from your food. The digestive system also plays a key role in removing waste, extracting the parts of food that you don’t need.
The digestive system is large and comprises the mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines, gallbladder, pancreas, anus, and rectum. With so many organs involved, problems with digestion can arise at any point in this system.
Common digestive problems include:
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Intestinal cramps
These symptoms can be painful, debilitating, and interfere with your everyday life. Unfortunately, digestive issues can also be hard to treat.
What causes digestive problems?
Digestive problems can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Bacterial imbalance
- Certain medications
- Medical conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS)
While some causes like medication can pretty easily be remedied, others like general inflammation, stress, and other conditions can be harder to treat.
General lifestyle changes such as drinking more water, eating more fiber, and eating smaller frequent meals throughout the day can help to improve digestion for some. However, in more severe cases, medical intervention may be required. Unfortunately, in these cases, symptoms can be difficult to treat.
How can CBD help with digestion?
The good news for people suffering from hard-to-treat digestive issues is that CBD shows a lot of promise as a treatment for digestive conditions. CBD can help easy stomach pain and other symptoms by improving the underlying cause.
Research tells us that CBD may be able to help target:
- Inflammation: Inflammation in the gut and other parts of the digestive system can lead to pain, gas, diarrhea, and other frustrating symptoms. CBD has shown an impressive ability to act as an anti-inflammatory. CBD has been found to enhance the expression of receptors that suppress inflammation (1) and pro-inflammatory cytokines (2). Impressively, CBD has also been shown in a 2019 study to reduce inflammation in the gut, which indicates that the cannabinoid could prove useful as a treatment for digestive conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (3).
- Stress and anxiety: There is a strong link between our brain and our gut, so strong in fact that issues in one system can also negatively affect the other. Known as the gut-brain axis, this connection means that issues like anxiety and stress can result in digestive issues like abdominal pain or bowel movement changes. Irritable bowel disease, for example, can have a worse prognosis when a patient also has depression (4). The good news is that CBD has demonstrated strong anxiolytic and stress-reducing properties. A 2019 study found that CBD was able to significantly reduce anxiety in teenagers with social anxiety disorder (5).
- Gut health: CBD may also be able to help improve digestion by increasing gut bacteria. The death of gut flora can be a cause of various digestive issues, and so ensuring that your gut bacteria are at a healthy level is important. A 2020 study found that oral CBD increased gut bacteria numbers (6). However, it’s important to note that high doses of CBD actually disrupted the microbiome.
How to take CBD?
CBD is an extremely versatile product, with various forms and consumption methods available. The best way to take CBD will depend on your specific needs and history. For example, if you have strong symptoms and a high tolerance, then you may want to consider high bioavailability options like a CBD vape. If you have more mild symptoms then a low-dose edible may be better. A good rule of thumb with CBD dosing is to start low and work your way up.
Ways to take CBD include:
- Vaping – Strong, instant delivery
- Eating (edibles, tinctures, oils) – Longer-lasting, medium effects
- Nasal spray – Fast, strong effects
- Topical application – Very mind and slow delivery
If you’re trying to target digestive issues with CBD then it’s important to note that many digestive studies involve patients/models swallowing CBD.
How to ensure you’re consuming quality CBD
If you’re thinking of adding CBD into your routine, you’ll want to ensure that your consuming a quality product. There are a few things that you want to look for when sourcing a new CBD product:
- Third-party lab testing – It’s a good sign if a company undergoes third-party lab testing on its products. The results from these tests tell you exactly what is in their products e.g. contamination, too low CBD doses, THC
- Quality production methods – The methods used to extract CBD from hemp or cannabis can have a big impact on its quality. Alcohol extraction is one of the safest and most efficient extraction methods.
- Reviews – One easy way to establish whether a company provides quality CBD products or not is to look at their reviews. Are customers happy with the products that they purchase? Is the company transparent with its reviews?
The bottom line
Digestive issues can be painful and debilitating, but CBD offers a lot of hope as a treatment. Thanks to its ability to reduce inflammation, improve mental health, and increase gut flora, CBD may be able to help with digestion.
**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**