Among many of my targets causing insomnia remains SIBO. I wouldn’t say I’m experiencing all the classic symptoms but SIBO is a mysterious beast that manifesting in a mysterious ways. One fact remains – my insomnia is caused by my gut issues. The quest to find the underlying cause remains on course and right now SIBO is in my biggest suspect.
Among many symptoms exhibited by SIBO suffering population is food sensitivities. When I started looking for simple solutions to eliminate SIBO from my suspects I came across FODMAP diet. I had heard of it before but never took it seriously. Once I looked at the high FODMAP list of foods it hit me – these are exactly the same things that I’m sensitive to and among the ones that contribute to insomnia. Honey, for goodness sake, would make me totally sleepless! Why oh why, I couldn’t figure out but now I think SIBO is the culprit. Last week I started the low FODMAPs diet – fingers crossed.
Contents: Jump to...
CBD and SIBO – Fiends or Foe?
Having recently discovered CBD oil I immediately got to work – can CBD oil help or hurt with SIBO issues? Is CBD low FODMAP? One of the first blog posts I cam across sucked the wind out of my sales. Tim Harris writes ‘SIBO and Weed do not mix‘ because “marijuana slows gut motility enough that marijuana smokers, like opioid users, are more likely to develop SIBO,” and also quotes following research:
Shook & Burks found that THC reduced the frequency of intestinal contractions, and reduced the flow of food in the small intestine, without altering basal tone, and concluded “…delta 9-THC, delta 9,11-THC, cannabinol and nabilone (but not cannabidiol) exert an inhibitory effect on GI transit and motility in rats”.
He further finished with “Granted, I’m not a rat but this is exactly NOT what is needed for SIBO, you want to increase intestinal motility as much as possible.”
OK, where to start? Let’s ask the pros as to what the gut motility really is. Medscape says “The phrase intestinal motility disorders applies to abnormal intestinal contractions, such as spasms and intestinal paralysis. This phrase is used to describe a variety of disorders in which the gut has lost its ability to coordinate muscular activity because of endogenous or exogenous causes.” Basically, motility refers to your GI tract’s ability to digest food and move it through the pipes, so to speak. If it moves too fast – you’re not digesting and not nourishing yourself and if it moves too slow you could be fermenting things, producing inflammation or “feeding” SIBO.
The guy believes CBD oil can reduce gut motility but then quotes science that refers to THC as the culprit. These are two different compounds of marijuana! THC gets you high, CBD (Hemp oil) makes you healthy. CBD does not have psychotropic effects; THC does. If you smoke weed then you get both and yes, you may decrease your gut motility, among some other things but CBD oil’s research promises nothing but positive outlook for our gut health.
Why CBD Can Actually Improve Gut Motility
First of all, CBD is one of the most powerful plant based antibacterial and anti-inflammatory there is. This is nothing but good news for people like me with mysterious gut inflammation, histamine sensitivity, neurotransmitter issues and so on. Take a look if you want: Cannabidiol Reduces Intestinal Inflammation through the Control of Neuroimmune Axis.
I also found studies that suggest THC can, in fact slow gut motility and cause light constipation in a “dose-dependent manner,” but those same studies also point out that neither CBN nor CBD slowed motility.
Second, among other things, gut motility disorders and weak digestion accompanied by low stomach acid (aka ‘spleen qi deficiency’ in TCM) is what could be causing SIBO in the first place!
Traditional Chinese medicine does not take things like SIBO seriously. They don’t treat good or bad bacteria. What they treat is energetic dis-balances that our organ systems suffer from. So they strengthen one’s qi, tonify the ‘spleen’ (and related organs), nourish the blood and balance yin/yan of kidneys. They believe that once underlying imbalances in energy systems have been address, the body naturally returns to a state of homeostasis where everything functions properly.
Why I Am Going For It
In Western terms, SIBO is all about bacteria, fermentation and inflammation. If there is good evidence that CBD can regulate and restore normal GI motility and reduce inflammation then I’m going for it and will report after a few weeks. As a welcome bonus, people report sleeping much better on CBD oil. Would be two in one for me!
For now, Mr. Harris, my Zen friend, please do not misinform us with hasty conclusions without understanding the full picture. Perhaps, if you turn your comments on we’d be able to chime in and have a productive discussion.
UPDATE: Ever since writing this post I’ve been exploring more possible causes behind my gut issues and I learned that one of the biggest issues we can be facing these days is low stomach acid (aka hypochloridia). There could be a number of reasons behind low stomach acid but the most noteworthy one is stress and adrenal fatigue. Stress, in basic terms, dials down our digestive juices. This, in turn, cascades into a number of ‘unexplained’ health conditions.
CBD oil from cannabis plant has wonderful HPA axis (stress response) modulating abilities (I was able to dial down my amped-up nervous system in two months). When this happens your digestion starts restoring itself too. Ever hear of “rest & digest”? This is the function of you parasympathetic nervous system. Proper gut motility is all about lowering inflammation from undigested food (due to low stomach acid) and calming your nervous system so that it can rest and digest. See my article on stress and low stomach acid for more.
Additional Tips for Better Gut Motility
Also, if you haven’t tried yet then I would recommend researching these additional items that help improve gut motility: Caprylic acid (coco acid that is anti-fungal and great digestive aid), Triphala (an ancient, time proven digestion aid and gut flora balancer), and of course quality magnesium (see my video) to help loosen up those digestive tract muscles, moisten the intestines and increase peristalsis. I’ve used every single of them, sometimes in combination, and they work very well to get things moving through the system.
Recently, I’ve also learned about the importance of pancreatic enzymes. Body Ecology reports:
Pancreatic insufficiency can lead to slow transit time and poorly absorbed food. Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) can develop if the pancreas lacks sufficient enzymes for digestion. This manifests often as bloating, gas, fatigue, and constipation. It has also been linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
I’ve tried a product before called GB3 but did not do very well on it at night (was hot). My guess it is because it also had black radish in it. I seem to do best on animal based pancreatin only.
So this is my plan now: keep taking CBD to tune my CNS and keep my digestion moving to take the load of off pancreas by eating mostly cooked/easy to digest meals and aid digestion fire with the mentioned supplements.
Over to you… What’s your experience with SIBO and CBD oil and insomnia? I’d love to hear from you. My comment section is always open for criticism or insights.
Thank you very much for writing this. I and many other people have had the same thought about Tim’s blog. (BTW-great blog, it kept me going on herbs for months and months despite not getting good or quick results). I have an unopened bottle of CBD oil that I have yet to try, primarily because out of fear that it would slow the migrating motor complex.
Hi Jason, thanks for your note. I have some really strange gut issues that resemble SIBO, inflammation, dysbiosis and have been on CBD over a month now. I am taking some other herbal formulas to help move my liver and overall my digestion is all getting better. Try it and let me know how you do. You may not notice it that fast but all research points only to benefits, granted that your CBD contains only trace amounts of THC.
So I did end up trying CBD oil. It was a strange experience. It seemed to give me a dream filled 6 to 6 and 1/2 hrs sleep, but I never got more than that (my record lately is about 7 hrs of sleep). My sleep is always broken. For dose, I was only taking 1-3 drops. More than that seemed to hurt my sleep. It did not seem to make my SIBO better or worse. My next major step is now to check for sleep apnea.
Hi Jason, same thing happened to me when I took it before bed so I started taking it in the morning only and it took two months before my sleep became deeper. It dialed down my overactive CNS and I can even take in the PM now. You’re doing the right thing by taking small doses. Just keep taking it because it takes a while to work its way into the system (see my other article on CBD) and balance things out. As far as SIBO, I think dosages are too small to have a positive effect but your balanced nervous system should help you create more stomach acid, improve digestion and eventually help with SIBO.
I tried CBD Oil and like Tim found a negative experience. Sure, I felt more relaxed, together, and healthy on it … except it also (seems to have) jacked my food sensitivities to the point I have an official IBS diagnosis, even weeks after stopping it.
Of course there are alway many variables, and n=1 isn’t a full study. But I bet my Jays hat this or, less likely, an osteo adjustment did it.
Until Tim’s article I just wasn’t sure how.
And yes, yes IBS isn’t always SIBO but the solution is essentially the same here so, use info as you will. Also, I did have a lot of intolerance before and creaky health. It seemed to jack those up a valance level tho.
Hi Colin, but I think Tim was referring to weed in general, not CBD. Your increased food sensitivities could be a coincidence, happening concurrently with other changes in your body and while taking CBD. Just a side-note, I’ve been communicating with a guy from Canada who did a fecal transplant and reported very good progress with IBS. Labs do it very safely but the procedure costs a lot of money, he did it himself by finding a donor and so on, which I thought was insane but I guess some are willing to try anything. Also, have you tried Traditional Chinese Medicine?
No I have not tried Chinese Medicine, although I have learned some things from it.
Some updates from last time. Whether it was CBS or another trigger, I definitely “graduated” to a new level of IBS. I now have a hyper restrictive diet, and symptom manage ok if I do only that and get good sleep.
On the very plus side I finally gave a real root cause diagnosis along with a healing protocol. I fully buy into both as it is hard science lab based and others similar to me follow it and are “cured”. Cured bring my words and a vague-ish term 🙂
The protocol does not call for CBS but I am still curious about it.
I don’t think I have enough typos in that post. 🙂
Morning fog is gone. I can see them clearly now. Heh.
Interesting. You know, during the past month I’m starting to think my CBS issues are all, well BS. There are other things that mess with methylation pathways and it could be anything from gut issues like candida, SIBO to heavy metal toxicity.
Night and day difference since I first posted here last year. Now I have great symptom control and working on healing. And that’s coming along too.
As long as I eat right, I am now generally the healthiest, happiest person in the room. And that comes from a guy too exhausted to driver 20 minutes a year ago.
All of that came from the be right diagnosis from the right practioner. And having that based on the rapidly evolving science of SIBO/Dysbiosis/Leaky Gut, etc. This is the info that has really good hard science that the universities and research institute know to be true, but had years before normal doctors know this.
As for sleep, having been terrified of panic attacks for years, and falling aleep with anxiety every night, now it’s good. That falling asleep was one of the “hangovers” from years of being sick. I found a trusted hypnotherapist was super great at resolving that. But I do need another check up there. As for sleep length it’s great if life is relaxed (8h), less so but ok (6.5h) if stressful times. Even healthy people have stress 🙂
Personally, it was http://bellalindemann.com
for me. But Stephanie Clairmont and others seem very good.
Thank you for sharing this, Colin. Happy to hear you found your source and fix. I’ve been chasing SIBO and leaky gut combo for years but didn’t get anywhere but it is probably because my underlying issue is mercury toxicity. I’ll have to address gut issues once the heavy metals are out.
As for CBD, I too take 3 drops morning and night. Seems to be the right amount.
I’m not sure what kicked me into a worse state of full on IBS. CBD, an a relaxing a lot more at work may have done it, getting healthier may have done, increased home stress may have done it,…or something else. Sucked but it did let me realise what has been underlying issues for ten years. And solve (solving) them. So it has its good side for sure!! 😀
Good luck everyone 🙂
If you have questions, email me personally. Happy to share, if I can.
Key insight stress causes gut issues but too gut issues cause stress. Both lead to a state that causes insomnia, nausea, dramatic food intolerances, massive fatigue, mood issues, etc..
I am super happy about symptom control, and believe I am on path to a cure the dysbiosis, damage and leaky gut. What goods I can eat thereafter remain to be seen.
Good luck 🙂
I am currently screening for Faecal transplant donors at home, I tried the clinic but it’s too expensive. My gastroenterologist is supporting me.
So, which is best to take hemp cbd oil or marijuana cbd oil? I’m just soooo exhausted I need to take something. I’m too tired to even do a full diet change
Hi Kristine, there are some that say CBD is CBD, either hemp or canabis but the ones that sell canabis derivatives claim that CBD from canabis is a better product, especially if it comes in a full plant extract, meaning it has a full spectrum of medicinal healing qualities. What are you dealing with? Diet changes help if you know the exact diagnosis.
I’ve been diagnosed with Sibo and took the antimicrobial supplements and followed a strict diet for 2 months. I was doing much better and got off the meds. I continued to follow the Sibo specific diet but a week after I got off the meds, severe bloating, pain, and constipation returned. I’m really curious if the CBD oil would help the healing process and/or prevent it from reoccurring!
Hi Ashley, what meds were you taking? SIBO could be just one of your issues and it is possible that he underlying cause which allowed for SIBO is not being addressed. Various studies say that CBD is antimicrobial and anti-parasitic but I believe CBD is best for its neuro-balancing and immune boosting qualities. Once our immune system is stronger it should be able to deal with SIBO or any other pathogens.
Hi. CBD oil did not work for me. Flared up all the symptoms and it took almost ten days to get past it. I tried it twice.
Hi Suzanne, did it also have some THC in it? One is also advised to introduce it very slowly. I would say microdose with any chronic, advanced condition and build up. I read that many people will have an undesirable reaction to it but in almost all cases they start with too large of a dose.
I had the same experience. In fact, it seems CBD made my IBS so much worse. You can never tell exactly but so it seems.
Fast forward 6 months, an IN A diagnosis and Roadmaps diet later and I retried. No flare ups and lots of benefits. Maybe, for some, it makes symptoms worse but no symptoms even better?
About CBD, am looking at a tincture available in NYS that is 1:1 CBD:THC, any thoughts on that? This is for SIBO – where to date, antibiotics/herbs/diets have just been stop gaps. At this stage, i want my quality of life back.
Hi, as I mention in the post THC can be counter productive for SIBO as there’s some evidence that it can slow gut transit time. There’s really no reason to go the THC route when pure CBD route is available these days. Everything I’m learning right now screams at me that SIBO is not the root cause of our issues; it is a consequence of other underlying issues. Have you tried the ileocecal and pyloric valve massage? It’s really helped me. How’s your thyroid and adrenal health?
I stumbled across your blog as I have patients who suffer from IBS and SIBO. I wanted to share with you and your readers that TCM does take SIBO seriously. At least those who know about it and understand how to treat it. You briefly touched on some basic principles of TCM but unfortunately did not share the depth or breadth of our ability to help dysbiosis or infection. Many of
Our botanicals are strong antimicrobials and antibiotics with wonderful abilities to increase motility. In fact, one of the most widely used and studied herb, berberine, is a TCM herb that has be used effectively. We can address damp heat in the large intestine and improve gut motility. We can move liver qi stagnation to move the Bowels. We can address constipation or diarrhea and can clear infection. I’m happy to talk in person if
You’d like to understand how effective acupuncture and TCM can be in treating SIBO. I am an expert in TCM and understand that the web can have conflicting and confusing information. I appreciate you sharing your experience and wanted to guide you in a different and positIve direction when it comes to TCM and SIBO. It’s true many practitioners may be unfamiliar with SIBO just as western trained doctors may not be aware. I hope this helps you discover yet another modality that may be key to your healing.
Thank you for your insights and clarification, Kristen. It is very true that TCM has all these methods to deal with gut issues. Since I learned that my underlying issue is most likely mercury toxicity I gave up on my GU protocol for a while. This is the reason why all of my TCM practitioners were simply dumbfounded when their formulas made me much worse. Hopefully, the ones with real SIBO here will get in touch with you for advice.
I am suffering with so much pain from the Sibo. It seems that anything I eat causes pain
I can barely eat. Lost 42 lbs in the past 3 months. What helps the pain?
There are things you can do. Rifaximin, for example, is a drug that can clear up SIBO. But you have to find the cause of SIBO and fix that too.
Sorry but are you 100% sure it’s SIBO? There is an underlying cause for everything but the challenge is finding it.
Ok, but if you have Sibo d, you do want to slow motility down. Don’t you? I’ve been using both cbd and thc.
Not sure, Tricia. Some of those studies show that THC can be counterproductive for SIBO.
Thc also has many health benefits, you stated that cbd is the one with health benefits, but they both have several. Cbn does too, so why are you not incorporating this at night which should also help you sleep? All of these compounds greatly have helped me, cbd saved my life and healed many gut issues, but the others are wonderful too. Projectcbd.org is a great wealth of info for ppl interested in this cannabinoid …..
Hi Vanessa, THC is not available where I live plus I have some genetic issues that can cause issues with THC (COMT gene mutation). Also, I’m afraid it would only keep me awake anyways. I’m glad the plant has brought you so many benefits… It’s wonderful it did.
I recently started on CBD oil for anxiety and in hopes that it will also help my digestion. I suffer from reflux and IBS-C. Currently on Zantac 150 for a year now, and suspect that the Zantac could be making my constipation much worse or causing it. I’d love to wean off of it.
After 3 days of taking 10mg of the CBD daily, I bumped it up to 20 mg. It seems like my constipation is a little worse, but I’m not sure if this is a coincidence? My reflux and stomach feel much better. I am on full spectrum CBD only, with little to no THC in it. It’s a local company, and they test every batch.
I would really like to wean off of the Zantac eventually, but I don’t want the constipation to get worse in order or to replace it with something else that could be making it worse. I currently see an TCM dr who has me on lubricating herbs. Thoughts??
Hi Lynne, very likely Zantac is messing up your digestion. Just think about it… what happens to that food when stomach acid is not secreted? Other organs try to do their best to compensate but it doesn’t work so well. Many suffer from reflux not due to high stomach acid but due to low. Are you taking magnesium citrate? Usually this helps with constipation. Also incorporate more bitter foods into your diet, I learned bitter taste helps with bile production. Do wean off if you can, sooner the better but ultimately work with an intelligent doc to guide you through this. Chinese medicine is very helpful in your cases. Try and see whether you can find a local pro.
I believe SIBO has caused me powerful insomnia. Gut issues do not let a person sleep. So fix the gut if you’re suffering from insomnia like I do. SIBO is very debilitating. It’s caused me IBS too. I’m desperate for a cure from SIBO. only antibiotics put them down…. Temporarily. Anyway will try CBD oil. Even ready to eat dirt or rocks, if they can heal my gut!
I have been wondering why my digestion feels slower, bloating increased. I have been taking cbd more regularly. I love it for anxiety & getting good rest. I see it listed as an anti kinetic on a few sites
No offense but you didn’t do your research, CBD slows down the MMC big time and will make your SIBO worse.
Hi Greg, as it seems, there is always research and some anti-research to everything these days. 🙂 What Research are you referring to that suggests CBD slows down gut motility?
I’ve read thc slows the MMC but not CBD. Can you elaborate please
When you say there is an underlying cause and you must find that – what does that mean. Can’t sibo have a mix of causes out of an extensive list? Is there a specific test for causes?
That means most of the time we only treat the symptoms. For example you get a headache and you take ibuprofen but what caused the headache in the first place? You get SIBO but what conditions led to SIBO? Is it dietary, life style, toxins? You must address the cause, otherwise we’ll always be chasing the symptoms.
Insomniac and Colin Ferguson, thank you for sharing! I am a CBD rep and although I’m surrounded by stories of people who have had immediate and over whelming success stories, I am not responding like them (story of my life). It’s beyond dismaying.
I too, have had some insomnia and my panic attacks have gotten worse. I have found out that less is more with CBD and anxiety. I have done hypnosis with success, however I’m back to square one lately, and I can’t really afford it right now.
I can tell you all about how CBD should work in 95% of people but it seems I’m outside of that group. I have been wondering if there’s a reason why a select few don’t respond as quickly as the general population. I’m thinking about being tested for SIBO but scared to death of the diet to follow because I can’t handle the taste of much of it. When you’re narrowed to 8 foods and you can’t stomach half of them, it seems impossible. I tried to eliminate obvious sugars and starches and by day 4 I had to stop for fear of passing out. (I’ve passed out 8-10 times in my life). I was ready to go to the ER because something was very very off. I decided to resume my normal eating and started to recover my energy.
I was on antibiotics and birth control for cystic acne, as a young teenager. I had some anxiety and IBS issues before that, but I think those drugs probably reeked havoc.
My naturopath just started me on a peri menopause supplement to balance me (without hormones). I’m 48 and we are just trying to make sure I’m balanced before menopause hits. I think a hot flash would send me into a panic attack currently! She also gave me a quality magnesium product bound to, potassium, I think? (Something you don’t come by every day). That is for gut and huge chronic knots in my back. I temporarily stopped the magnesium because the new meds were causing diarrhea. So I decided to give the peri menopause a week or two then try the magnesium again.
I was so hopeful that CBD was going to cure me and allow me to live life again. But I’m still struggling every day. I’m sticking with it, as I know it can take longer in some people. But like I said, it’s really hard to be surrounded by people who feel amazing and have success when I’m not.
HELLO and thank you for this great article. i am curious, nonetheless: You never mention taking rifaximin. That seems to be the modality of choice. Where do you sit with this concept? And, do you do phone consults? CAROLE 🙂
Hi Carole, I am not even sure what rifaximin is. I don’t do any consults as I’m only a student myself right now. Once I kind of get an idea on how to navigate my own troubles only then will I possibly be able to guide anyone else.
Hi Carole, I was the one who mentioned it. In most countries you need an MD to sign off. It’s not cheap but as part if an overall plan it really can radically reduce/eliminate SIBO. I needed 3 rounds, and part of a strict low FODMAPs diet, along with rotating herbal antibiotics too.
But I’m all but better. Life is good.
Who can you recommend for treating SIBO? I’ve had no success in Australia with naturopathy or western medicine.
Right down to doing elemental diets repeatedly.
No idea, I sure haven’t found anyone in my area (Lithuania) who has a reasonably good approach. Many claim to be specialists online. I would start with testing to confirm you have SIBO.
Did you check out GojiMan? He does online consults and also has a YouTube channel. He successfully guided me through my SIBO journey. He’s an expert on that topic.
Hi Joe, no I have not yet. Been learning on my own too. I’ll check him out. Thank you.