cbd and gluten - celiac disease
9 min.

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CBD is extracted alongside THC from cannabis yet their effects on the human body are worlds apart. CBD is recognized around the world1 for its health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory properties2 and ability to alleviate pain3 As a result, it could be considered an effective treatment for health conditions like celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that makes the intestinal wall reactive to gluten4.

This article highlights and discusses the benefits, uses, and dosage of CBD oil for celiac disease.

What Is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a common autoimmune disease that affects a significant portion of the population. The immune reaction occurs when a person ingests gluten in foods like wheat, rye, and barley. When the affected person eats this protein, his or her immune system responds by attacking the intestinal wall. With critical structures such as villi found all over the small intestines, this condition has the potential to affect one’s health greatly.

Once severe damage occurs to the villi, your small intestines become “malfunctional”, thus making it hard for them to take up nutrients from passing food. This can lead to a condition of malnourishment and in some severe cases to loss of bone density, miscarriages, neurological disorders, and infertility. The other symptoms you should look out for include diarrhea, bloating, excess gas, fatigue, weight loss, iron-deficiency anemia, constipation, an itchy rash, and mouth ulcers. In adults, celiac disease is a bit complicated because it may pave way for other health conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, liver disorders, depression, seizures, and dermatitis herpetiformis5.

Why CBD Can Be An Effective Treatment For Celiac Disease

CBD is a natural compound obtained from the Cannabis Sativa L. (also known as hemp). CBD’s ability to effectively interact with the human endocannabinoid system is a contributing factor to its effectiveness when treating celiac disease. This system consists of endocannabinoids, as well as CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, which regulate body functions like immunity, sleep, appetite, pain, and mood.

CBD triggers the production of CB1 and CB2, boosting the body’s immune system. It can also help relieve celiac disease symptoms such as pain, inflammation, loss of appetite, and irritation that affect the gastrointestinal tract.

Some patients also complain of nausea, which can lead to appetite and weight loss. CBD oil  has anti-nausea properties that will help relieve both nausea and appetite loss and boost the metabolism6

In most cases, patients opt to use gluten-free meals, a diet that is hard to maintain. Back in 2003, a study on Cannabinoid Receptors in Celiac Disease7 revealed that cannabinoid receptors in the intestinal tract were more widespread in the untreated patients to those who had been following a gluten-free diet for more than a year. This disocvery led researchers to believe that targeting the cannabinoid receptors can help in relieving the symptoms of celiac disease

Scientifically, CBD has been shown to be an inhibitor of FAAH enzyme, also known as Fatty acid amide hydrolase8 This enzyme will breakdown anandamide that has neuroprotective properties. By inhibiting FAAH enzyme, CBD thus promotes the anti-inflammatory effects within the intestine.

According to studies, Celiac disease can lead to nerve damage9.  CBD can be a solution for neuropathy pain10, as it has neuroprotective11 and neurodegenerative12 properties. Taking CBD oil, can therefore,  help repair this damage for better nerve function.

How To Use CBD To Treat Celiac Disease

CBD oil can be used in various ways. Patients mostly prefer the sublingual method where they place a drop of CBD oil on the tongue and allow a minute or so before swallowing.

You can also use CBD Vape pens for vaping the oil, thus making absorption quick and the relief of symptoms faster. If vaping or sublingual use is problematic, you can use CBD capsules because they are easier to ingest.

What Medical Research Says About Using CBD For Celiac Disease

While we explore the potential effects of CBD oil in addressing celiac disease, we must admit that only limited studies focus on this subject. Furthermore, most of the research on CBD Oil and celiac disease has ended up in inconclusive results. In 2011, for instance, the scientific journal PLOS One featured a research by Italian scholars who were determined to evaluate the possibility of reducing intestinal inflammation after using CBD for celiac disease13.

According to their findings, they concluded that CBD regulates inflammatory reactions in the intestine. As a result, it prevents intestinal damage, a symptom associated with celiac disease.

Research conducted at the University of Teramo also aimed to analyze the specific attributes of the Endocannabinoid System14. Although their findings are inconclusive, the researchers proved a significant correlation between the malfunctions of the endocannabinoid system and the pathogenesis of celiac disease.

Nonetheless, more studies should be done to explore the therapeutic effects of CBD towards easing the symptoms of Celiac disease.

How to correctly dose CBD

There are several factors you have to consider before taking CBD oil. These can include the severity/stage of your condition, as well as how well your body tolerates CBD. While side-effects of CBD oil are rare, there are some, which you should be aware of. Read our CBD oil side-effects guide for more detailed information.

To find the perfect dose of CBD for your specific case, you may have to experiment a bit and look for signs of improvement. A great guide to CBD dosage is the step-up method, developed by Leinow & Birnbaum in their book “CBD: A patient’s guide to Medical Cannabis”15. The authors recommend starting with a lower dose and slowly increasing it until symptoms improve.

You can find a detailed explanation of the step-up method in our CBD dosage guide.

Benefits of CBD oil for Celiac Disease – Summary

  • Fights inflammation
  • Relieves (neuropathy ) pain
  • Improves appetite
  • Calms irritation in the gastrointestinal tract.

Based on the various studies available, it is clear that the relation between CBD oil and celiac disease exists. CBD oil can relieve inflammation in the nervous and immune system in addition to eliminating other symptoms like pain. This will also improve the quality of sleep while improving appetite.

Despite the numerous fruitful benefits of treating celiac disease with CBD oil, it is wise to wait for additional scientific studies to test if the oil can be a reliable relief for celiac disease. Nonetheless, you can manage celiac disease by maintaining a gluten-free diet plan.

References

  1. Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (2018). CANNABIDIOL (CBD). [online] World Health Organization []
  2. Nagarkatti, Prakash, et al. (2009) “Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs.” Future medicinal chemistry 1(7).1333-1349. []
  3. De Gregorio, D., McLaughlin, R., Posa, L., Ochoa-Sanchez, R., Enns, J., Lopez-Canul, M., Aboud, M., Maione, S., Comai, S., and Gobbi, G. (2019). Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses both allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a model of neuropathic pain. PAIN, 160(1), pp.136-150. []
  4. Celiac Disease Foundation. (2019). What is Celiac Disease? | Celiac Disease Foundation. [online] Available at: https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/ []
  5. Celiac Disease Foundation. (2019). What is Celiac Disease? | Celiac Disease Foundation. [online] Available at: https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/. []
  6. Parker, L., Rock, E., and Limebeer, C. (2011). Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163(7), pp.1411-1422. []
  7. Battista, N., Di Sabatino, A., Di Tommaso, M., Biancheri, P., Rapino, C., Giuffrida, P., Papadia, C., Montana, C., Pasini, A., Vanoli, A., Lanzarotto, F., Villanacci, V., Corazza, G. and Maccarrone, M. (2013). Altered Expression of Type-1 and Type-2 Cannabinoid Receptors in Celiac Disease. PLoS ONE, 8(4), p.e62078. []
  8. Massi, P., Valenti, M., Vaccani, A., Gasperi, V., Perletti, G., Marras, E., Fezza, F., Maccarrone, M. and Parolaro, D. (2008). 5-Lipoxygenase and anandamide hydrolase (FAAH) mediate the antitumor activity of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Journal of Neurochemistry, 104(4), pp.1091-1100 []
  9. Celiac Disease Foundation. (2019). Neuropathy Linked to Celiac Disease | Celiac Disease Foundation. [online] Available at: https://celiac.org/about-the-foundation/featured-news/2015/06/neuropathy-linked-to-celiac-disease/ []
  10. Ward, S., McAllister, S., Kawamura, R., Murase, R., Neelakantan, H. and Walker, E. (2014). Cannabidiol inhibits paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain through 5-HT1Areceptors without diminishing nervous system function or chemotherapy efficacy. British Journal of Pharmacology, 171(3), pp.636-645. []
  11. Hampson, A., Grimaldi, M., Axelrod, J. and Wink, D. (1998). Cannabidiol and (-) 9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 95(14), pp.8268-8273. []
  12. Iuvone, T., Esposito, G., De Filippis, D., Scuderi, C. and Steardo, L. (2009). Cannabidiol: A Promising Drug for Neurodegenerative Disorders?. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, 15(1), pp.65-75. []
  13. De Filippis, D., Esposito, G., Cirillo, C., Cipriano, M., De Winter, B., Scuderi, C., Sarnelli, G., Cuomo, R., Steardo, L., De Man, J. and Iuvone, T. (2011). Cannabidiol Reduces Intestinal Inflammation through the Control of Neuroimmune AxisPLoS ONE, 6(12), p.e28159. []
  14. semanticscholar.org. (2013). Anecdotal reports of benefit abound Cannabis. [online] Available at https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/3a67/a6d84199626f644406e09d01303da91d65a3.pdf []
  15. Leinow, L. and Birnbaum, J. (2017). CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis. North Atlantic Books. []

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Alyssha Bal

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