Nutritionist Jennifer Hanway explains the health benefits of CBD and why she recommends THC-free CBD oil for digestive and gut issues. Numerous things can lead to bloating. The relief provided by CBD may lead to better gut health that will save you from pain and discomfort.
Why CBD is Good for Gut and Digestive Health
You’ve probably heard the buzz about CBD, the wellness world’s newest darling. But did you know that it has benefits for those struggling with gut and digestive issues? I’ve been using Beam CBD Oil for about 6 months, ever since a friend introduced me to the brand. I’d been looking for a CBD product I would feel confident recommending to my clients, and was delighted to discover Beam’s THC-free CBD tinctures.
Read on to learn more about CBD for gut and digestive health, plus overall wellness.
What is CBD and what does ‘THC free’ mean?
Cannabidiol is one of at least 85 active cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, and makes up to 40% of the plant’s total cannabinoid extract. It has the most widely studied applications for medical usage.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is the part of the cannabis plant that induces a euphoric state (i.e. gets you high). Typically most CBD oils and tinctures contain around 0.3% THC, but all of Beam’s CBD products are completely THC free, which is why I use it personally and with my clients in my wellness practices. (Save 15% on your next Beam purchase using my code JHANWAY15).
The Health Benefits of CBD
Most people are familiar with the relaxing effects of CBD, and these are due to the down regulation of the HPA axis at times of stress (think of this as our bodies becoming more resilient and less reactive to stressful situations). CBD specifically reduces our production of cortisol (the stress hormone secreted by our adrenal glands). It has also been shown to reduce anxiety and panic attacks. Additionally, it confers huge antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This is one of the reasons I love to use it with my gut health clients.
CBD Oil for Digestive Issues and Gut Health
One of the reasons great gut health is so intrinsic to overall health and prevention of chronic disease is its relationship to systemic inflammation. An imbalanced microbiome combined with a compromised cellular lining means that food particles and toxins can get into our bloodstream. This alerts our immune system (70-80% of our immune system is housed in the gut) and setting off an inflammatory response. It can cause skin issues including acne, eczema and rosacea, hormone imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, joint pain, brain fog, low energy and lack of libido.
CBD has been shown to modulate both acute and systemic inflammation. It does this by preventing the production of cytokines and interleukins (the proteins that signal to our immune system to set off an inflammatory response), resulting in therapeutic benefits for those suffering with IBS, colitis, gas, bloating and damage to the gut lining.
CBD is also great for digestive health because its cortisol lowering benefits help to prevent leaky gut or intestinal permeability. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone. It breaks down tissues in the body, and it has a hugely destructive effect on the one cell thick lining of our GI tract. Managing cortisol levels is one of the most important aspect of a well functioning digestive system.
Another reason I recommend CBD for overall gut health? It has also been shown to regulate appetite, which can be helpful if you suffer from bloating due to eating too much or too frequently (I recommend a minimum of 3-4 hours between meals and snack for efficient digestion and optimum gastric clearance), or if you struggle to eat enough due to stress around food and gut health.
How to take CBD oil for better gut and digestive health
1. Start with the lowest dose and work your way up
Try taking one serving of Beam CBD Oil in the early evening on a daily basis. If you would like more you can try twice a day (I take mine mid-morning and early evening).
2. Taking CBD when you experience digestive issues and stress-related symptoms
If you have eaten something that is causing cramps and bloating, or are having stress-related symptoms then try 1 serving of Beam CBD Oil to help ease your symptoms.
I typically take my Beam sublingually (placing 1 serving underneath my tongue), holding it there for about a minute, swallowing, then chasing it with a glass of water. There are numerous capillaries under the tongue which means the active ingredients are absorbed straight into the bloodstream, and do not have to go through a possibly compromised GI system, which would negate a lot of the positive benefits of taking CBD. Beam’s mint flavor is perfect for sublingual use.
I also love to add Beam CBD to my morning coffee or afternoon matcha latte. You can even add it to your smoothies if you wish!
Save 15% on your Beam purchase using code JHANWAY15.
Looking for more ways to improve your gut health?
You’ll love my new free masterclass ‘Gut Health – The Foundation of Wellbeing’:
What Causes Bloating? And 3 Ways CBD Can Help
According to findings published in 2018, gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are super common among Americans. And bloating was reported by over 20% of the more than 70 thousand respondents surveyed . These findings are based on a survey focused on determining the prevalence and predictors of GI symptoms among the general population. Other commonly reported issues included heartburn/reflux (30.9%), abdominal pain (24.8%) and diarrhea (20.2%). Fortunately, CBD may provide relief for those suffering from GI issues, including bloating. To better understand how, let’s first look at what bloating is and what causes it. Then we’ll see how products like CBD drops can help.
What Is Bloating? And What Causes It?
Bloating involves your GI tract, which starts at your mouth and ends at, well … the other end. It also includes everything in between involved in the digestive process, including your stomach and intestines, so a lot is going on. When parts of the GI tract become filled with air or gas, it can lead to your abdominal area feeling swollen or tight. The results may be a distended abdomen that feels hard and painful. Other common issues associated with bloating include excessive gas, frequent burping, or abdominal groans and gurgles.
Not pleasant! There are quite a few causes of bloating. Some controllable ones include eating and drinking too fast, which can trap excess air in your GI tract. And then there’s also things like chewing gum, smoking and carbonated beverages.
There are also medical issues that can cause bloating when gas is created internally. These include food intolerance, giardiasis and functional GI disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Weight gain and hormonal fluxes may also be at play. Now that we understand bloating a little better, let’s take a look at how CBD might help!
Reduce Gastrointestinal Inflammation
While CBD won’t cure any of the medical issues mentioned above, it may help relieve symptoms associated with them. This is because when we’re talking about bad stuff happening in your gut, we’re usually looking at inflammation issues. Several investigations have looked at the role CBD can play in the reduction of GI inflammation. In fact, some of the most recent research conducted on the benefits of CBD reports that it could prove helpful in helping people who suffer from IBS . This is amazing because, up until now, not a whole lot has been found to provide relief.
This is all thanks to the connection between your endocannabinoid system (ECS) and your GI tract. According to findings published in 2016, the ECS influences various gastrointestinal physiological and pathophysiological processes . This leads to the potential of CBD to reduce inflammation, as well as other GI issues like mucosal lesions and hemorrhage when it interacts with the ECS. And if you’re unfamiliar with the ECS, you may want to brush up on your knowledge because it’s definitely worth knowing more about.
For digestion to properly occur and for food not to sit around in your gut, you need blood flow to and through your intestines and the rest of your GI tract. Unfortunately, if you’re stressed, this may not be happening correctly.
That’s because when you’re stressed, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol moves blood away from the digestive tract and pushes it to your brain, large muscles, and limbs. This can wreak havoc on digestive health. In research conducted on the connection between CBD and anxiety, investigators discovered that CBD could lower cortisol levels in patients . While more research is still needed in this area, it’s promising, and we’re looking forward to what folks report on next.
Sometimes bloating and other GI issues are caused by eating too much, too frequently. Your digestive system isn’t given a chance to work through the last meal before you give it another. Poor thing just needs a break! CBD may be able to help with this in a few ways. As we just mentioned, CBD has been investigated for its potential benefits in dealing with various anxiety disorders , some of which may lead to overeating. By treating the cause of the problem, the symptom may disappear.
Additionally, other investigations examine how CBD interacts with other cannabinoids within the ECS, related explicitly to hyperphagia . That last word refers to an abnormally increased appetite and the feeling that you need to just eat and eat. Researchers are hoping to find connections to substantiate theories that CBD may play a role in helping people feel full and dull that urge to constantly eat.
When and How to Take CBD
When dealing with gut health and bloating, you have two options as far as CBD goes. One is to take it when you start to feel discomfort mounting and bloating sets in. If you wait until this point, it may be too late, and the benefits are probably not as obvious, though some people still report relief.
A better way would be taking CBD on a consistent, daily basis to promote better overall homeostasis, including improved gut health that will reduce bloating. You have a couple of options here for how to take your CBD . The first is sublingually by using CBD drops . This just means placing a dropper full of your favorite flavor of CBD drops under your tongue, waiting 15 to 30 seconds, and then carrying on with the rest of your daily routine. This is a quick and effective way of getting CBD into your system.
You can also eat your CBD. This can be done by adding CBD drops to drinks or food . Or you can opt for other ingestible methods like CBD capsules and CBD gummies . These will deliver the CBD directly to your digestive system where it is most needed before sending it throughout the rest of your body. And if you’re wondering “ How much CBD should I take ?” you’re not alone. It will take a bit of research, and you’ll need to adjust for individual factors. But starting with a lower daily serving and slowly increasing it after about a week is always a good approach. The name of the game is consistency and listening to your body.