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How does cannabis affect the gut microbiome?

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Health-conscious people revolve around the gut microbiome and the connection between the gut and the brain. The gut microbiome is an essential part of who we are — a big part six pounds Of your body weight can be attributed to the trillions of bacteria, viruses and microbes that live deep in your gut. The past decade has seen researchers delve deeper into gut health to reveal how these microorganisms affect various bodily functions.

This increased interest has led researchers to think: What is the relationship between cannabis and the gut? How does cannabis and the endocannabinoid system interact with all the microbes that live in the digestive system?

Know your gut microbiome

The alimentary canal is another name for the digestive system, which begins at the esophagus and ends at the anus. Trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi live through it.

When you are in balance, these microbes generally coexist with us and help stimulate and regulate immune systemBreak down potentially toxic foods, synthesize essential vitamins and amino acids, and strengthen the gut barrier. The gut barrier is a semi-permeable structure lining the gut that allows nutrients to be absorbed and prevents entry of disease-causing particles and bacteria.

Sometimes, the gut microbes can cause an imbalance, known as Gastrointestinal dysbacteriosis. A combination of factors can trigger this: diets that are high in fat or sugar, low in fiber, drinking alcohol daily, or eating products with pesticide residues. If left unchecked, gut dysbacteriosis can contribute to chronic digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease or Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Gut bacteria also play a role in The development of obesity, where people who are overweight or obese show reduced microbial diversity. An imbalanced gut microbiome has also been linked to varied mood and neurological disorders such as Autism, anxiety and depression. It has been shown that a healthy gut microbiome Promote brain developmentcognition, behavior and the promotion of sound mental health.

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Jason Mitchell, co-founder and CEO of cannabis wellness, the CEO of Probiotics Probiotics. There are hundreds of millions of neurons in the gut. In fact, there is a nerve that runs from the brain to the gut and connects to other organs as well, including the lungs and heart.”

The effect of gut microbiota is not limited to the digestive system only. This community of microbes also exerts a profound influence on the vital processes in the brain, and vice versa. This two-way flow of information is known as gut-brain axis.

Communication between the brain and the gut plays an essential role in digestive health, thinking, decision-making, and emotions. For example, you may experience a gut-brain connection if you get nervous before a presentation and butterflies hit your stomach, or if you lose your appetite when anxious.

The endocannabinoid system and gut microbiome

The endocannabinoid system The ECS is a major system within the body that helps regulate mood, emotions, pain, appetite, and response to stress. Made up of naturally occurring cannabinoids in the body – called endocannabinoids – cannabinoid receptors and enzymes, ECS extends throughout the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, immune cells, and intestines.

The endocannabinoid system plays a key role in maintaining a balanced gut microbiome, and also regulates vital gut functions. Endocannabinoid receptors in the gut help regulate and support internal balance with functions such as motility [movement of food through the gut]digestion, inflammatory response, and even immune responses,” Mitchell said.

The gut microbiome can also affect the endocannabinoid system. Dr. Dustin Sulak, medical cannabis expert and founder of healer.comThere is evidence that poor microbial health in the gut can detrimentally affect the endocannabinoid system: Study 2020 mouse He found that the dysplastic gut microbiome imbalanced the endocannabinoid system, resulting in depressive behaviors in mice.

How can gut dysbacteriosis affect the endocannabinoid system and lead to depression? The endocannabinoid system also plays a role in Regulation of the alimentary canal axis It helps communicate changes in the gut to the brain. An unbalanced community of gut microbes can affect the function of the endocannabinoid system and lead to a decrease in mood.

Likewise, a balanced gut microbiome may contribute to healthy endocannabinoid function and positive mood.

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How cannabis affects the gut microbiome and gut health

Evidence is mounting that cannabis may support a healthy gut microbiome, gut-brain communication, and strong gut health in general.

The cannabinoids in hemp can interact with cannabinoid receptors in the gut, and the plant has been used for thousands of years to treat symptoms of inflammation and digestive disorders, including abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

It also appears that THC may be able to alter the gut microbiome Protects against weight gain. When obese mice were given THC, they retained their fat-free microbiome and did not become obese. THC also helped reduce some of the symptoms associated with obesity, including low-grade inflammation and intestinal permeability, which results when toxins or bacteria from the gut leak into the bloodstream.

“In relation to the human evidence, one study found that the microbiome of cannabis users contained fewer bacteria associated with obesity,” Sulak said. This finding could help explain why cannabis is used more frequently Less likely to be obese than non-consumers, although THC can provoke a dangerous case of munchies.

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else great search It suggests that cannabis may also help treat alcohol use disorders that detrimentally affect the gut microbiome. Excessive alcohol intake can contribute to gut inflammation, suppression of immune cells in the gut lining, and overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the microbiome.

The combined effects of this damage can also lead to “leaky gut,” or gut permeability, in which food particles, bacteria, and waste products seep directly into the bloodstream. The study authors report that cannabidiol — and cannabis in general — can reduce intestinal permeability, regulate gut bacteria, and reduce gut inflammation.

in one 2019 preclinical rat studyIn the study, a combination of THC and CBD has been found to promote a healthy gut microbiome and high levels of certain short-chain fatty acids in the large intestine, which enhance immune function and boost metabolism. These acids can also help maintain a healthy central nervous system and enhance communication between the brain and the gut.

Cannabis can contribute to gut and brain health in other ways as well: stabilization of the blood-brain barrier And reduce both inflammation of the intestine and inflammation of the nerves. Inflammation in both the gut and the brain can negatively affect brain health and function.

The relationship between cannabis, the endocannabinoid system, and the gut microbiome is complex and important, and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface, Solak said.

Mitchell speculated that the future might see terpenes and other small cannabinoids enter the conversation.

“There are many cannabinoids and terpenes that are of particular interest to me because they have profound effects on the gut and ECS in supporting stress domain balance, inflammatory response, and immune support,” he said. “I love beta-caryophyllene, CBD, and CBN. These three ingredients need more research, but it seems clear that there will be great things to be determined here in the future.”

Emma Stone

Emma Stone is a New Zealand-based journalist specializing in cannabis and health and wellbeing. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and worked as a researcher and lecturer, but he loves being a writer more than anything else. She would happily spend her days writing, reading, wandering in the fresh air, eating and swimming.

View Emma Stone’s articles

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