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Inside Look: Hemp Extract and the Microbiome

Inside Look: Hemp Extract and the Microbiome

The fascinating research into the microbiome over the past decade has revealed that the gut is the root of all wellness, and that giving your digestive tract lots of TLC is absolutely essential for maintaining vibrant, lasting health. Supporting the health of your gut might include things like consuming plenty of whole plant foods in your diet, taking prebiotic and probiotic supplements, spending time outdoors in nature, engaging in mindfulness practice, and making loving connections—but now we’re learning that CBD oil from the hemp plant may be a worthwhile (and surprising!) addition to your gut health regimen.

Unfortunately, because of the stigma related to cannabis in general, the benefits of CBD (cannabidiol) have been largely ignored by the bulk of serious scientists for many years. But the latest research is highlighting its remarkable potential for sustaining gut wellness and overall health. Discover how non-psychoactive, legal CBD oil can help support a glowing vitality that radiates from your gut to every cell in your body!

What Is CBD Oil? Cannabidiol and the Endocannabinoid System

Within your miraculous body is a vast network of cell receptors and corresponding molecules known as the endocannabinoid system, which stretches across your brain, GI tract, nervous system, glands, skin, immune system, and connective tissues. The receptors (primarily CB1 and CB2) and the endocannabinoid molecules inside you fit together like locks and keys to help regulate bodily functions from head to toe. Although the endocannabinoid system performs differently depending on the location in your body, its ultimate goal is always balance, homeostasis, and wellness.1

Interestingly, the endocannabinoid system doesn’t only respond to cannabinoids produced inside your body (endocannabinoids); it interacts with cannabinoids from external sources as well. Plants in the cannabis family also produce cannabinoid compounds that interact effectively with this fascinating system.

Two of the cannabis plant cannabinoids most widely studied for their medicinal potential (of more than 60 such compounds!) are THC (found in high concentrations in marijuana), and CBD, which exists in high concentrations in hemp plants. THC fits directly into the CB1 receptor, producing the experience known as a “high.” CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t fit exactly into CB1 or CB2—but it’s able to stimulate activity in both types of receptors without binding to them and it works to inhibit enzymes that break down endocannabinoids, effectively encouraging wellness all across the body without producing any sort of a psychoactive response.2

CBD oil is a natural extract from the Cannabis Sativa L. plant, also known as hemp, that works in harmony with your endocannabinoid system and is legal in all 50 states. In addition to a significant cannabidiol commonent, CBD oil products may also contain other beneficial non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBC, CBG, and CBN—as well as vitamins, trace minerals, amino acids, terpenes, fatty acids, antioxidants, and additional nutrients.

It’s important to understand that trace amounts of THC are also found in hemp plants, and CBD oil can legally contain up to 0.3% THC. But don’t worry—this miniscule amount won’t have any kind of psychological affect and doesn’t show up on drug tests.

One of the most popular ways to support your endocannabinoid system with cannabidiol is by supplementing with CBD oil products, which come in a dropper bottle to take orally, but CBD is also sold in capsule, edible, isolate, and vape oil forms.

CBD Oil for Gut Health

The link between a robust microbiome and overall health has been clear for some time, and research shows supplementing with a high quality, time-released probiotic (like PRO-15) is an excellent way to support your microbial community.

The exciting news is that evidence is beginning to support the theory that the gut microbiome is very much interconnected with the body’s endocannabinoid system, suggesting that probiotics and CBD might work together in a complementary way to keep your gut in top form.

Here’s what we know so far:
• When your microbiome is out of balance, it can compromise the gut barrier, leading to many unpleasant health challenges, such as uncomfortable digestion, anxious or sad mood, poor energy, and blood sugar issues.3,4,5,6,7
• Between the cells that line the intestine are gaps called tight junctions that open and close to allow nutrition through to the bloodstream, while blocking inhospitable microbes that could harm us. The microbiome plays an important role in keeping tight junctions functioning as they should—and when it contains the right helpful bacteria, it acts as a gatekeeper to help keep undesirable intestinal contents from leaking out into the rest of the body.8
• Animal research shows that cannabinoids like CBD improve the gut microbiome by increasing the numbers of beneficial microbes and inhibiting undesirable strains of bacteria that would otherwise compromise the gut barrier.9
• In one study, Lactobacillus probiotic supplementation increased the expression of intestinal cannabinoid receptors in rats, improving microbial composition and reducing certain digestive issues.10
• Plant cannabinoids including CBD strengthen the gut barrier in vitro by reducing gut permeability associated with temporary inflammation.11

CBD also shows promise for encouraging healthy digestion in general. Clinical studies show that CBD and other cannabinoids seem to reduce temporary gut inflammation, overactive motility, bloating, abdominal discomfort, unsettled tummy, and poor appetite.12,13,14

More CBD Oil Benefits

Finding out that CBD is great for your gut is reason enough to celebrate, but it turns out the benefits are much farther reaching. Cannabidiol helps keep you feeling your best in lots of other great ways including:

• Healthy joints: Research in Israel revealed that CBD protected at-risk joints from further decline as well as reduced achiness and temporary inflammation.15
• Strong bones: CBD seems to have a protective effect on bones, helping to preserve their strength in older adults.16 It may also encourage bone healing regardless of age. When rodents were given CBD, their broken limbs healed faster than those that didn’t receive cannabidiol.17
• Calm, pleasant mood: CBD may help you relax, even during stressful events like public speaking or mingling in large groups, and it also encourages a sense of sunny optimism—all without any psychoactive effect.18,19,20
• Optimal brain and neurologic function: Multiple studies find that in both children and adults, cannabidiol appears to have a protective effect on the brain and neurological system, supporting healthy function and healing.21,22
• Restful sleep: Taking CBD before bedtime helped children fall asleep and improved their sleep quality.23
• Healthy blood sugar levels: Animal research shows that CBD is associated with improved blood sugar levels and pancreatic function.24
• Cardiovascular wellness: CBD has been found to relax dilated arteries and have a protective effect on cardiovascular health.25
• Protection at the cellular level: Cannabidiol seems to encourage your cells to work together as a team in order to maintain wellness in bodily areas including the blood, breasts, colon, and cervix.26,27,28,29,30,31
• Relief from occasional aches and pains: CBD shows promise for easing temporary discomfort and soreness throughout the body.32

Choosing a High-Quality CBD Oil

Unfortunately all CBD oils are not the same, and some may contain very little cannabidiol. To protect yourself, look for an established brand such as Hempure that makes full-spectrum CBD products using organically grown materials with zero THC. Hempure also utilizes third-party laboratory testing to test for potency, toxins, microbes, terpenes, and solvents—and consumers can easily view the results on the website.

Your CBD oil should also be cruelty free, sustainably sourced, and free of any artificial additives of any kind. Typically CBD oil isn’t a single-ingredient product, so it’s perfectly fine if your hemp extract is sold in a healthy oil base such as olive or coconut, so long as you can be confident about how much cannabidiol the bottle actually contains. When shopping for CBD, it’s important not to confuse CBD oil with culinary hemp oil, which is a delicious, healthy ingredient for smoothies and salad dressings, but contains no cannabidiol at all.

CBD oil shows great potential as a wonderful addition to a gut-healthy lifestyle. Partnering well with probiotics and prebiotics, it rounds out a gut-friendly trio that will help keep you feeling your best at every stage of life.


1. Mouslech Z, Valla V. (2009). Endocannabinoid system: An overview of its potential in current medical practice. Neuro Endocrinology Letters, 30(2):153-79.

2. Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S. A., Hegde, V. L., & Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future Medicinal Chemistry, 1(7), 1333-1349. doi:10.4155/fmc.09.93

3. Maes, M., Kubera, M., Leunis, J., & Berk, M. (2012). Increased IgA and IgM responses against gut commensals in chronic depression: Further evidence for increased bacterial translocation or leaky gut. Journal of Affective Disorders, 141(1), 55-62. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2012.02.023

4. Fetissov, S. O., & Déchelotte, P. (2011). The new link between gut–brain axis and neuropsychiatric disorders. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 14(5), 477-482. doi:10.1097/mco.0b013e32834936e7

5. De Kort, S., Keszthelyi, D., & Masclee, A. A. (2011). Leaky gut and diabetes mellitus: what is the link? Obesity Reviews, 12(6), 449-458. doi:10.1111/j.1467-789x.2010.00845.x

6. Camilleri, M., Lasch, K., & Zhou, W. (2012). Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Methods, Mechanisms, and Pathophysiology. The confluence of increased permeability, inflammation, and pain in irritable bowel syndrome. American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 303(7), G775-G785. doi:10.1152/ajpgi.00155.2012

7. Maes, M., Mihaylova, I., & Leunis, J. (2007). Increased serum IgA and IgM against LPS of enterobacteria in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): Indication for the involvement of gram-negative enterobacteria in the etiology of CFS and for the presence of an increased gut–intestinal permeability. Journal of Affective Disorders, 99(1-3), 237-240. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2006.08.021

8. Guo, S., Al-Sadi, R., Said, H. M., & Ma, T. Y. (2013). Lipopolysaccharide Causes an Increase in Intestinal Tight Junction Permeability in Vitro and in Vivo by Inducing Enterocyte Membrane Expression and Localization of TLR-4 and CD14. The American Journal of Pathology, 182(2), 375-387. doi:10.1016/j.ajpath.2012.10.014

9. Zinah Zamil Al-Ghezi, Hasan F Alghetaa, Mitzi Nagarkatti and Prakash Nagarkatti. (2017). Combination of cannabinoids, Δ9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), mitigate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) by altering the gut microbiome. The Journal of Immunology, 198 (1 Supplement) 219.20

10. Rousseaux, C., Thuru, X., Gelot, A., Barnich, N., Neut, C., Dubuquoy, L., … Desreumaux, P. (2006). Lactobacillus acidophilus modulates intestinal pain and induces opioid and cannabinoid receptors. Nature Medicine, 13(1), 35-37. doi:10.1038/nm1521

11. Alhamoruni, A., Wright, K., Larvin, M., & O'Sullivan, S. (2012). Cannabinoids mediate opposing effects on inflammation-induced intestinal permeability. British Journal of Pharmacology, 165(8), 2598-2610. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01589.x

12. Pagano, E., Capasso, R., Piscitelli, F., Romano, B., Parisi, O. A., Finizio, S., … Borrelli, F. (2016). An Orally Active Cannabis Extract with High Content in Cannabidiol attenuates Chemically-induced Intestinal Inflammation and Hypermotility in the Mouse. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 7. doi:10.3389/fphar.2016.00341

13. Lal S., Prasad, N., Ryan, M., Tangri, S., Silverberg, M.S., Gordon, A., Steinhart, H. (2011). Cannabis use amongst patients with inflammatory bowel disease. European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 23(10):891-6. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e328349bb4c.

14. Ahmed, W., & Katz, S. (2016). Therapeutic Use of Cannabis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 12(11), 668-679.

15. Kaplan, B. L., Springs, A. E., & Kaminski, N. E. (2008). The profile of immune modulation by cannabidiol (CBD) involves deregulation of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT). Biochemical Pharmacology, 76(6), 726-737. doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2008.06.022

16. Idris, A. I., Sophocleous, A., Landao-Bassonga, E., Canals, M., Milligan, G., Baker, D., … Ralston, S. H. (2009). Cannabinoid Receptor Type 1 Protects against Age- Related Osteoporosis by Regulating Osteoblast and Adipocyte Differentiation in Marrow Stromal Cells. Cell Metabolism, 10(2), 139-147. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2009.07.006

17. Kogan, N. M., Melamed, E., Wasserman, E., Raphael, B., Breuer, A., Stok, K. S., … Bab, I. (2015). Cannabidiol, a Major Non-Psychotropic Cannabis Constituent Enhances Fracture Healing and Stimulates Lysyl Hydroxylase Activity in Osteoblasts. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 30(10), 1905-1913. doi:10.1002/jbmr.2513

18. Linge, R., Jiménez-Sánchez, L., Campa, L., Pilar-Cuéllar, F., Vidal, R., Pazos, A., … Díaz, Á. (2016). Cannabidiol induces rapid-acting antidepressant-like effects and enhances cortical 5-HT/glutamate neurotransmission: role of 5-HT1A receptors. Neuropharmacology, 103, 16-26. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.12.017

19. Bergamaschi, M. M., Queiroz, R. H., Chagas, M. H., De Oliveira, D. C., De Martinis, B. S., Kapczinski, F., … Crippa, J. A. (2011). Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients. Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(6), 1219-1226. doi:10.1038/npp.2011.6

20. Schier, A. R., Ribeiro, N. P., E Silva, A. C., Hallak, J. E., Crippa, J. A., Nardi, A. E., & Zuardi, A. W. (2012). Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 34, S104-S117. doi:10.1016/s1516-4446(12)70057-0

21. Porter, B. E., & Jacobson, C. (2013). Report of a parent survey of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis use in pediatric treatment-resistant epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior, 29(3), 574-577. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2013.08.037

22. Pazos, M., Cinquina, V., Gómez, A., Layunta, R., Santos, M., Fernández-Ruiz, J., & Martínez-Orgado, J. (2012). Cannabidiol administration after hypoxia–ischemia to newborn rats reduces long-term brain injury and restores neurobehavioral function. Neuropharmacology, 63(5), 776-783. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.05.034

23. Shannon, S. (2016). Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report. The Permanente Journal. doi:10.7812/tpp/16-005

24. Weiss, L., Zeira, M., Reich, S., Har-Noy, M., Mechoulam, R., Slavin, S., & Gallily, R. (2006). Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Autoimmunity, 39(2), 143-151. doi:10.1080/08916930500356674

25. Stanley, C. P., Hind, W. H., & O'Sullivan, S. E. (2013). Is the cardiovascular system a therapeutic target for cannabidiol? British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 75(2), 313-322. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04351.x

26. Massi, P., Solinas, M., Cinquina, V., & Parolaro, D. (2013). Cannabidiol as potential anticancer drug. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 75(2), 303-312. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04298.x

27. Ligresti, A. (2006). Antitumor Activity of Plant Cannabinoids with Emphasis on the Effect of Cannabidiol on Human Breast Carcinoma. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 318(3), 1375-1387. doi:10.1124/jpet.106.105247

28. Shrivastava, A., Kuzontkoski, P. M., Groopman, J. E., & Prasad, A. (2011). Cannabidiol Induces Programmed Cell Death in Breast Cancer Cells by Coordinating the Cross-talk between Apoptosis and Autophagy. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 10(7), 1161-1172. doi:10.1158/1535-7163.mct-10-1100

29. Lukhele, S. T., & Motadi, L. R. (2016). Cannabidiol rather than Cannabis sativa extracts inhibit cell growth and induce apoptosis in cervical cancer cells. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 16(1). doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1280-0

30. McKallip, R. J. (2006). Cannabidiol-Induced Apoptosis in Human Leukemia Cells: A Novel Role of Cannabidiol in the Regulation of p22phox and Nox4 Expression. Molecular Pharmacology, 70(3), 897-908. doi:10.1124/mol.106.023937

31. Romano, B., Borrelli, F., Pagano, E., Cascio, M. G., Pertwee, R. G., & Izzo, A. A. (2014). Inhibition of colon carcinogenesis by a standardized Cannabis sativa extract with high content of cannabidiol. Phytomedicine, 21(5), 631-639. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2013.11.006

32. Formukong, E. A., Evans, A. T., & Evans, F. J. (1988). Analgesic and antiinflammatory activity of constituents of Cannabis sativa L. Inflammation, 12(4), 361-371. doi:10.1007/bf00915771


Roberta Pescow is a writer at Hyperbiotics and proud mom of two amazing and unique young men. Natural wellness is a subject she’s passionate about, so she loves sharing information that helps others discover all the ways probiotics support glowing health and well-being. To learn more about how a healthy microbiome can enrich your life, subscribe to our newsletter.