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.
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.