The benefits of cannabis for better gut health

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Healthy bacteria in the body can be maintained better with cannabis

Microorganisms are present all over the world and in every living body, including humans. Living inside of the gastrointestinal system there is a vast population of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses sharing the space, and most of them play a major role in keeping a healthy gut. At least 1,000 different species live in the gut alone and, depending on eating habits and other factors, helpful bacteria can be destroyed to allow living space for harmful microorganisms to take over. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a major role in regulating the actions of the bacteria in the body, working as some sort of a bridge between them; therefore, cannabis itself has direct effects on the overall health status of the gut.

Current studies suggest that the ECS relays signals back and forth between the brain and living microorganisms in the gut, sharing a symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship. That is the general idea of how the system works in a healthy individual; however, chronic imbalances or impairments of the gut microbiome can lead to harm in physical and mental health. In 2015, researchers in Canada discovered that a daily regimen of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) given to mice that were on a high-fat diet got their guts health improved after 3-4 weeks of treatment until reaching a level quite close to those of animals eating healthy food.

In 2017, another study investigated the effect of cannabis on the human microbiome and researchers were able to find key differences between users and nonusers. Apparently, cannabis users tend to possess bacteria populations associated with higher caloric intake but lower BMI; however, the diet had also some influence on that. Then, in 2018, researchers conducted a study on HIV-positive individuals, and it was observed that cannabis use was associated with decreased abundance of two strains of bacteria linked to obesity.