Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease characterized by an immune response to gluten. Consuming gluten triggers an immune reaction in the small intestine that can damage the gut’s lining and cause malabsorption, meaning the body cannot properly absorb important nutrients. Intestinal damage causes symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, weight loss, and mouth ulcers. In addition, people may experience symptoms beyond the digestive tract, including fatigue, mood changes, headaches, joint pain, and iron-deficiency anemia. When left untreated, the disease may lead to complications such as malnutrition, lactose intolerance, bone density loss or bone softening, reproductive issues like infertility or miscarriage, nervous system damage, and cancer. These symptoms and complications are often disruptive to normal everyday functioning and can greatly diminish the quality of life of those suffering from celiac disease.
Because gluten is the main trigger for celiac, treating the disease centers on eliminating contact with and consumption of gluten. This extends beyond avoiding wheat and other grains; gluten often finds its way into products such as toothpaste and mouthwash, lip products, dietary supplements, and even envelope glue. It can be very difficult to avoid damage from gluten when trace amounts are detected in an array of everyday products. Additionally, even with the strictest elimination protocol, many patients require medication to quell ongoing intestinal inflammation and heal damaged intestinal tissue, as well as a way to find relief from the myriad of symptoms previously listed. Fortunately, cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound derived from the hemp plant, may offer relief to those suffering from celiac disease.
CBD is a compound often sought for its analgesic, or pain relieving, properties. Several studies show that it is useful in treating the chronic pain that commonly accompanies conditions such as arthritis, migraine headaches, and abdominal pain, among a host of other ailments. Because celiac disease often involves chronic joint pain, headaches, and abdominal pain, it’s plausible to assume that CBD would manage these sorts of symptoms as they pertain to celiac, as well.
While research on gut inflammation specifically has not confirmed a link between CBD and that sort of inflammation, there are plenty of studies that confirm CBD to reduce other types of inflammation. For example, researchers have concluded that CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory when treating migraine headaches and nerve-related inflammation. A 2017 study also suggests that CBD reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in Alzheimer’s patients, and that these effects may hold a significant impact on fatigue. It is then possible that inflammation and fatigue in celiac disease patients may also be reduced with CBD.
CBD is widely known for treating symptoms caused by cancer and cancer treatments, especially nausea and vomiting. An important 2011 study found that CBD interacts directly with serotonin receptors in the brain, which regulate nausea and vomiting. Researchers here concluded that CBD holds clinical applications for suppressing severe and ongoing nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients. Anecdotal evidence suggests CBD treats similar symptoms in those suffering from celiac disease, as well. By preventing vomiting, CBD may by extension dimmish symptoms and complications of celiac such as weight loss, mouth ulcers, anemia, and malnutrition.
One popular application for CBD is mood regulation and more specifically, anxiety reduction. Studies show that CBD reduces anxiety in people suffering from social anxiety disorder (SAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally, several studies found that CBD acts as an antidepressant as well as an antistress agent, stress being an emotional state that promotes both anxiety and depression. It works by interacting with both serotonin and dopamine receptors in the brain, which regulate mood and motivation, respectively. Emotional states are greatly impacted by gut issues on a molecular level, and celiac patients are often effected with depression and anxiety as a result. Because CBD is confirmed to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress, it may help regulate these emotional issues as they coincide with celiac disease, as well.
While there needs to be more research on the benefits of using hemp-derived CBD for patients with celiacs, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that CBD can help relieve an array of symptoms. If you are interested in trying CBD to help with celiacs, we recommend that you contanct one of the Consultants at Bee’s Knees wellness. They specialize in finding the right CBD products and routines to focus on your specific needs.