Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and Gut Health

Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and Gut Health

Lately, there has been a much better understanding of our microbiome (gut bacteria) and the role it plays in immune function and overall health. What we have discovered is that 70% of our immune system resides in our gut and we have trillions of microorganisms that live in our gut. Some studies state that our gut bacteria should have a healthy balance of 85% good bacteria and 15% bad and when that healthy balance is disrupted and an imbalance of gut bacteria (dysbiosis) it can affect our overall health big time.

In fact, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, a peer reviewed scientific journal, stated that many things can cause a disruption in this healthy balance of gut bacteria including antibiotic use, stress, aging, poor dietary habits, and illnesses, all of which can cause an overgrowth of the bad guys and an undergrowth of the good guys (bad guys take over :( )

The study concluded that this disruption in gut bacteria, if not addressed, can lead to further health complications like chronic diseases, chronic inflammation (which goes hand in hand with chronic diseases), inflammatory bowel disease, autism, obesity, increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut, which will make matters even worse) and cancer (1).

This study highlights the importance of taking care of your gut health, while minimizing the things mentioned above that will negatively impact your gut microbiome. It is important to eat whole foods not only for their nutrients, but because they provide food that makes your good gut bacteria happy by providing good fuel and fiber, which in turn will keep the bad guys at bay.

When eating processed carbohydrates (boxed food), food sprayed with pesticides, foods loaded with sugar, highly processed refined foods (fast food) or a round of antibiotics, it can wipe out the good guys.

Restoring balance is important, which brings us to probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that that can naturally be found in certain foods (kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, etc.), or if you are growing your own veggies or buying at a local farmers market your food will be covered in dirt, which contains soil-based organisms that are billions of tiny microorganisms that feed our good gut bacteria.

One of the things I always try to tell everyone is how important it is to take probiotics when taking a round of antibiotics to help retore the good gut bacteria because antibiotics don’t differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys, they wipe out everything!

In a world where antibiotics are passed out like candy, our gut microbiota is wiped out constantly, reducing the functioning of our immune system, immune response, and you guessed it, wiping out the good gut bacteria and giving the bad guys a chance to take over.

We have a symbiotic relationship with our gut microbiota, meaning that we provide them a home and in turn they boost our immune functioning (2). The microbiota is what regulates immune homeostasis and our immune system so taking care and maintaining it is vital (2). When we have a disruption in our gut microbiome, this can lead to a poor functioning immune system, but also autoimmune disorders and health conditions that were mentioned above (2).

Here is where cannabinoids come in…

According to Current Neuropharmacology, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is responsible for regulating GI tract functioning and was shown to reduce gastrointestinal mucosal lesions, regulate hemorrhaging, reduce inflammation, and maintain immune homeostasis (3).

This is huge for those that suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions, chronic bowel conditions and diseases, and chronic diseases because we can take exogenous cannabinoids like CBD and THC to help address issues within the GI tract!

Cannabinoids work on CB1 receptors which was shown to help reduce gastric acid secretion, reduce gastric motor activity, and decrease damage caused to our gut lining from stress, reduce gastric acid output, reduce damage caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and damage caused to our gut from alcohol (3).

The study concluded that our ECS system has “…therapeutic potential in numerous diseases including obesity/metabolic syndrome, diabetes, neuro-degenerative, inflammatory, cardiovascular and psychiatric disorders, liver and skin diseases, pain, cachexia (muscle loss and weight loss), cancer, as well as chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting” (3).

Many people suffer from GI tract issues and this study helps show just how beneficial cannabinoids are for our gut health and they can even have a positive impact on our gut microbiome, unlike pharmaceuticals, check this out!

The studies show that using cannabinoids that directly act on our endocannabinoid system (ECS) shows a promising future for addressing inflammatory bowel disease and other related GI tract disorders like the ones mentioned above.

More studies will need to be conducted to understand the true potential of these plant compounds. The future looks promising, and I may be a little biased and say that this plant holds everything that we have been praying for when it comes to human health. Mankind has been forced to rely on a pill (thanks big pharma :( ) for the past 85 years since cannabis was made illegal.

Could it be the fact that cannabis was shown to be effective for over 200 chronic diseases (4)? I’m not the smartest man in the world, but if one plant can address 200 different chronic diseases, that’s not good for business if you are in the pharmaceutical industry.

*This information is for educational purposes only and simply sharing of the information pertained to this study. No medical advice or claims are being made, from me anyway.


References

  1. Zhang, Y. J., Li, S., Gan, R. Y., Zhou, T., Xu, D. P., & Li, H. B. (2015). Impacts of gut bacteria on human health and diseases. International journal of molecular sciences16(4), 7493–7519. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms16047493
  2. Wu, H. J., & Wu, E. (2012). The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity. Gut microbes, 3(1), 4–14. https://doi.org/10.4161/gmic.19320
  3. Gyires, K., & Zádori, Z. S. (2016). Role of Cannabinoids in Gastrointestinal Mucosal Defense and Inflammation. Current neuropharmacology, 14(8), 935–951. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159x14666160303110150
  4. Blesching, U. (2022). The cannabis health index: Combining the science of medical marijuana with mindfulness techniques to treat over 200 chronic diseases. Logos/Uwe Blesching.

 

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