The gut-brain axis is a complex communication system between the central nervous system (CNS) and the enteric nervous system (ENS). It links the peripheral intestinal functions with emotional and cognitive centers of the brain through various mechanisms including immune activation, intestinal permeability, enteric reflex, and entero-endocrine signaling.
Cannabis is known to affect the brain and body in a variety of ways, from euphoria and altered states of mind to impaired short-term memory, difficulty concentrating, and an increased appetite. It can also reduce athletic performance and increase the risk of driving while high.
Stress is a multi-system process that can influence many body systems, including the brain and the gut. The gut-brain axis is a cross-talk between the autonomic nervous system (ANS), the central nervous system (CNS) and the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis (HPA).
Chronic stress can negatively affect the HPA axis, which regulates glucocorticoid production and influences digestion, the immune system, mood and behaviour [2,6,7]. It also increases inflammation and splenic TNF-a release, as well as inhibiting the vagus nerve. In addition, it decreases tight junction proteins, allowing LPS and other bacterial products to reach the gut epithelium. These changes can lead to intestinal inflammation and altered microbial composition and function in the gut microbiota.
Corticosterone is a hormone produced in the pituitary gland that triggers the production of endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for the regulation of sleep, appetite and memory. Its activity can be increased in response to stress, and decreased when experiencing anxiety and depression.
Studies have shown that glucocorticoid levels can be elevated in people who are chronic cannabis users, and that they may affect the brain-gut axis in a sex-specific manner. This means that females can be more vulnerable to the effects of stress and cannabis than males, but it is important to note that this is not an universal phenomenon.
Several animal models of depression have also revealed that chronic stress can modulate gut microbiota composition and function, leading to negative effects on microbial metabolism and the synthesis of glucocorticoid-responsive neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. This is because stress and inflammation have been linked to dysregulation of the glucocorticoid receptor and increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-a and IL-6. This can lead to the activation of IDO, which promotes the kynurenine pathway for tryptophan metabolism.
In addition, chronic stress can reduce GLP-1 in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and increase CRF in the pituitary gland, which are known to modulate eating behavior . The presence of specific bacterial species in the gut can also alter brain-gut neurotransmitter pathways by increasing the availability of short chain fatty acids (SCFA), promoting the production of serotonin and BDNF and decreasing appetite.
The brain-gut axis is a complex network of connections between the gut and the brain. It’s made up of a number of metabolic, endocrine, and neurotransmission pathways that help control mood and behaviour.
The gastrointestinal tract produces many important substances that affect our mood and mental health, including serotonin (the “happy hormone”) and GABA. These substances are produced by certain types of bacteria in the intestines and interact with the brain to regulate mood and happiness.
Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety are associated with changes in the levels of these chemicals, as well as changes in the bacterial species of the gastrointestinal tract. These changes can be caused by a variety of factors, such as diet, stress, and medication.
A large number of studies have shown that the microbiota plays a critical role in the regulation of mood by interacting with neurotransmission, immune, and endocrine systems. For example, changes in the microbiota can alter how the central nervous system (CNS) metabolises tryptophan, which is needed for the synthesis of serotonin. This is a process that regulates mood, sleep, appetite, and other processes.
Another way that the microbiota can influence the brain-gut axis is by producing short-chain fatty acids, which have neuroactive properties and are responsible for the regulation of mood. These acids interact with the cells that produce serotonin in the gut and promote its production.
Some research shows that the vagus nerve, which links the intestines to the brain, is affected by mood and can even change the permeability of the gut lining. This can allow toxins and bacteria into the body, which can then pass into the bloodstream and reach the brain.
These effects are thought to be linked to a type of stress hormone called corticoliberin. This hormone stimulates the production of vasopressin and ACTH, which then send signals to the adrenal gland to make glucocorticoids, mainly cortisol.
This can lead to a number of mental health issues, such as depression, irritability, anxiety, and fatigue. It can also affect other parts of the body, such as the skin and bone health.
Have you ever felt “gut-wrenching” or “butterflies in your stomach?” The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotions and may be triggered by feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness and elation. The gut-brain connection is no joke — it’s linked to many common health conditions and can have a significant impact on mental wellbeing.
The endocannabinoid system plays a role in the interaction of the brain and the gastrointestinal tract. It produces a range of neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which are known to regulate mood and cognition. These chemicals also affect bowel movements and nutrient absorption in the body.
Cannabis is a marijuana plant that is grown for its psychoactive effects, as well as to produce fiber (hemp). There are different types of cannabis, with sativa and indica being the most commonly consumed.
Sativa This type of marijuana has high levels of THC and is considered to be an energetic, uplifting substance. It can be smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes, pipes and water pipes called bongs, and also in vaporizers. Vaporisers heat cannabis to temperatures that release its active ingredients while minimizing the toxins associated with burning.
Indica This form of marijuana is shorter and wider than sativa, and is more sedating. It is often taken at night to relax and calm the mind.
Smoking is the most popular way to consume cannabis. People usually smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes, pipes or water pipes called bongs, and also with vaporizers. These devices pull the active ingredients from the marijuana and collect their vapor in a storage unit before the user inhales the smoke.
Vaporizers can be found in many stores. They use a liquid marijuana extract to vaporize the plant, so it doesn’t have to be burned.
The endocannabinoid receptors that make up the ECS are present in the nervous system, the gastrointestinal tract and all other vital systems in the body. These receptors help the ECS communicate with these other systems and ensure that the crosstalk between them is regulated. This can be important for health, especially when the endocannabinoid system is under stress, such as when experiencing anxiety or IBS.
Sleep is vital to the functioning of our nervous system and is necessary for healthy brain development. It helps clear the brain of waste products, which build up during the day. It also allows our neurons, or nerve cells, to reorganize.
Insufficient sleep has been linked to several health conditions, including depression and anxiety. It’s also associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and obesity.
However, there’s a lot of uncertainty about exactly what happens during sleep and how it affects our bodies. There’s no one definite criterion for what defines “sleep” or even what the physiological boundaries of “stages” are (a term used to refer to different states of sleep).
The majority of studies have shown that there are distinct stages in the sleep cycle and that each stage is characterized by a specific pattern of EEG waves. These patterns range from low-voltage mixed-frequency waves to higher-voltage theta waves that appear in the later stages of sleep.
There’s also a difference in how long it takes us to reach each stage of sleep. During the first stages of sleep, we often go through periods of drowsiness, a transition state from wakefulness to sleep. During this time, we often have intermittent short waves called spindles that occur in the EEG.
It’s thought that these short, irregular waves are a result of specific interactions between the central nervous system and the peripheral systems. This is especially true during the early stages of sleep when it’s believed that brain cells reorganize themselves, creating new connections and improving memory.
Researchers have found that different microbial communities in the gut play an important role in determining which phases of sleep are most common. They have also discovered that a person’s level of microbial diversity, or the types of bacteria in their microbiome, is related to the levels of an endocannabinoid molecule called palmitoylethanolamide, which helps control feelings of pleasure and motivation.
In addition, certain metabolites in the gut can enhance sleep. For instance, scientists have recently found that the microbial biosynthesis of butyrate, which is a byproduct of dairy products and non-digestible carbohydrates, can help promote sleep. Adding butyrate to your diet can help increase the number of stages in your sleep and improve your overall quality of sleep.