Bad gut health can have a significant impact on your quality of life, and in many cases, the condition isn’t curable. The good news, however, is that it is possible to limit the discomfort that bad gut health causes. Cannabis products offer a great way to restore gut health, provided the remedies are used as part of a targeted approach, and you understand the cause of your gut health issues.
Common Causes of Poor Gut Health
One primary reason for gut health issues is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Research suggests that up to 45 million Americans suffer from IBS and that it affects between 10-15% of the world’s population. IBS causes abdominal pain, discomfort, and can result in irregular bowel habits, often leading to recurrent diarrhea, constipation, or alternating combinations of the two.
The condition is frequently compared to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease, although there are crucial distinctions between these disorders and IBS. IBS is noninflammatory, and it only affects the colon and does not destroy your body’s tissue.
However, while it may be less severe than inflammatory bowel diseases, IBS still carries a range of symptoms that provide ongoing discomfort to the people it affects. In addition to those mentioned above, its common effects include but are not limited to nausea, bloating and cramps, gas, excessive burping, loss of appetite and vomiting. Furthermore, IBS is a chronic disorder, meaning it requires constant and lifelong management. This condition makes it very hard to restore gut health.
Another common cause for poor gut health, believed to affect around 1% of people worldwide, is celiac disease. It occurs in people with a specific genetic predisposition and causes damage to their small intestine whenever they ingest gluten (a protein found in grains such as wheat and rye, and present in a wide range of everyday meals). It’s estimated that two-and-a-half-million undiagnosed Americans currently have celiac disease and face the risk of developing severe long-term health problems as a result.
When a person with celiac disease eats food containing gluten, their body produces an immune response that damages the villi in their small intestine, which in turn inhibits the body’s ability to absorb nutrients effectively. As well as causing digestive problems and nutritional deficiencies, celiac disease can result in symptoms such as anemia, depression, diarrhea, constipation, weight-loss, and bloating.
If you suffer from either IBS or celiac disease, it’s vitally important that you adjust your lifestyle accordingly to mitigate the symptoms, restore gut health, improve your overall quality of life, and refrain from doing avoidable long-term damage to your body. But doing all of that requires you to know that you have IBS or celiac disease. For people who sense that there’s something wrong with their gut health but aren’t sure what it might be, genetic testing could provide valuable insight.
What Can Your Genetic Profile Tell You About Your Gut Health?
When addressing any disorder, including conditions such as IBS and celiac disease, it’s best to identify what that disorder is and understand the source of your symptoms before trying to ameliorate them.
By knowing the genetic variants linked to IBS and celiac disease, it’s possible to learn about your genetic profile and find out if you have a predisposition to either condition. There are a few different genes that are linked to IBS and celiac disease.
Genes Linked to IBS
Genes Linked to Celiac Disease
Given the considerable genetic component in determining whether you are likely to develop IBS or celiac disease, genetic testing can provide essential insight into the causes of your gut health problems. If you learn that you’re genetically predisposed to developing one of these conditions, you have the opportunity to find an effective treatment that can restore gut health.
How Cannabis Products Can Restore Gut Health
Research suggests that several of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis can alleviate the symptoms of IBS and celiac disease. By understanding the effects that these compounds produce, it’s possible to identify specific cannabis products that will meet your specific needs. There are six vital phytonutrients that you can use to combat IBS and celiac disease.
1. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Research into the ability of THC to reduce nausea began in the 1970s, and multiple studies have demonstrated its effectiveness as an antiemetic.
Clinical trials have also found that THC prevents nausea and vomiting in both adults and children undergoing chemotherapy, while also noting its mild side-effect profile relative to conventional treatments, making it an excellent remedy to restore gut health.
2. Cannabidiol (CBD)
CBD possesses anti-prokinetic properties that help it to control acid reflux — another common symptom of IBS — and it’s the only cannabinoid known to reduce contractions in the small intestine.
Acid reflux occurs when acid flows from the stomach up the esophagus and irritates the esophageal lining. Research suggests that CBD can reduce the secretion of these acids through its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
Studies also show that CBD works with the muscle tissues found in the gastrointestinal system, soothing involuntary movements in the intestines and modulating the lower esophageal sphincter in a way that reduces spasms and abnormal functions.
3. Cannabichromene (CBC)
CBC is known for its anti-inflammatory effects. It’s especially effective at preventing inflammation when used in combination with THC. This ability makes it a potential alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) without the accompanying list of undesirable side-effects such as stomach pain, heartburn, dizziness, headaches, ringing in the ears, high blood pressure, and stomach ulcers.
Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene that’s both anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting, and it’s believed to possess more gastroprotective properties than any other known terpene. Its anti-inflammatory effects are the most potent along the linings of the stomach and small intestine, making it a great solution to restore gut health.
As well as being another anti-inflammatory nutrient, this terpene is an anti-ulcerative, meaning it inhibits the formation of ulcers and promotes healing. Alpha-pinene is also a bronchodilator, which means it relaxes the bronchial muscle, making it ideal for people who have arthritis in addition to a painful digestive disorder.
Myrcene, another prevalent terpene, has proven anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory properties. It produces a sedative effect on the body, causing your muscles to relax, and myrcene reduces pain while also regulating other terpenes and cannabinoids in a manner that increases their potency.
Experience Relief With Cannabis
If you’re looking to restore your gut health using cannabis, there is a range of options that can yield positive results. Cannabinoids and terpenes are shown to mitigate the symptoms of incurable conditions such as IBS and celiac disease, provided they’re used systematically. By using your genetics to understand the cause of your poor gut health, you can use cannabis products to improve your digestive condition.