Forget Baking Soda: New Study Suggests Cannabis and Chili Peppers for Gut Disorders

We don’t typically associate cannabis and chili peppers, although they’re both responsible for different kinds of “high.” But, as it turns out, the two are uniquely similar; scientists have had luck in using both chilies and cannabis for gut health.

Eating spicy chilies stimulates the release of compounds called endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. And we’ll assume you already know a little bit about the cannabis high, right? But how could you use chilies and cannabis for gut health?

New research is finding that both could play an important role in fighting some of the toughest gut disorders. Crohn’s, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes are just a few identified so far. Autoimmune disorders are notoriously difficult to diagnose and harder still to treat, making this great news for the 24 million Americans that have been diagnosed.

In some regards, the notion that cannabis might help gut disorders is hardly new. In fact, people have turned to cannabis for relief from stomach and digestive ailments for a long time--as in thousands of years. The first medical texts that describe using cannabis for gut health date back to 1500 BCE. Crazier still: evidence suggests that by then, the practice was already over a thousand years old.

But chili peppers? We thought those were for upsetting stomachs, not curing them! So, what gives?

Your Gut: What Happens to an Ecosystem Out of Balance

We're looking specifically at this study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). In it, researches charts a direct link between your nervous system and a healthy and happy gut. How are the two connected? By helping to maintain an intestinal environment that’s friendly to foreign bodies.

Wait…we thought the body was supposed to protect against invaders, right? It is, with one major exception—food!

Obviously, when we eat, we want our guts to be tolerant of these “foreign bodies” because they include food! The problems begin when our immune system becomes oversensitized—a syndrome not yet completely understood—and it begins attacking “friendly” cells, attempting to repel the “invader” (that is, the perfectly healthy food we’ve just eaten) when it shouldn’t. The result is a slew of painful, potentially debilitating autoimmune disorders.

Chilies: Packing Heat in More Ways Than One

Where do chilies enter the picture? It turns out that capsaicin, a molecule in chilies, actually produces a chemical "heat." That heat, in turn, stimulates our immune system. Scientists wanted to test this hypothesis by giving capsaicin to mice with type 1 diabetes, thinking it would increase their autoimmune response.

As so often occurs in the field of research, the opposite happened, and that’s where it got really interesting. The capsaicin spurred the mice’s guts to produce anandamide, an endocannabinoid that controls appetite and energy, among many other functions. The mice grew healthier, experienced less gut inflammation, and even became “cured” of diabetes.

Cannabis for Gut Health

Exciting as this finding was, it presented a problem: to have the same beneficial effect as that experienced by the mice in the experiment, humans would have to consume a massive— and painful—amount of chilies! So scientists looked for another molecule that might perform the same function in our bodies. And what they found—surprise!—was THC.

Just as our bodies produce anandamide, cannabis plants produce THC. Further experiments on mice showed that orally administered THC was as effective as capsaicin in healing gut inflammation and other autoimmune conditions.

Needless to say, it’s going to take a good deal more research and experimentation before we fully understand the mechanisms by which cannabis can contribute to your gut health and even heal major disorders. Then again, it’s possible that all it will do is to demonstrate what the Chinese physicians of 3500 years ago knew all along.

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How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?

A frequently asked about subject among users of marijuana is ‘how long does marijuana stay in your system?’ Maybe you’re interviewing for a job in the near future and know your employer uses a drug test, or perhaps you want to get an idea for planning out your next tolerance break.

Whatever the case may be, it’s important to keep in mind that everybody is different, and so the answer will differ for each person. That being said, we do have a pretty good estimate of how long the average smoker should expect the chemical to stick around in their body. Depending on how the chemical is being tested, there can be different results for each individual.

How Long Does Marijuana Stay In Your System?


Hair is typically considered to be the most effective test for determining whether THC has been present for longer periods of time. The average hair test can detect THC from about a month a half after you intake the chemical. Although, some with experience with hair tests claim that presence of THC can be substantially reduced by washing the hair with purifying agents like vinegar and certain heavy-duty soaps. There is no guarantee that this method would work though, and it could take hours to sufficiently scrub out any traces of marijuana.


Saliva tests are the least effective test, as THC does not last very long in saliva at all. If you’re a very light smoker, you could probably pass a test administered to you 24 hours after your intake; heavy smokers can expect about five days before they’re clean depending on their frequency of use, and never more than a week. You’re only likely to encounter this test if you’re being arrested for DUI, as it’s a favorite of roadside police prowling the highways for intoxicated drivers.


Urine tests are the most common type of testing for the presence of marijuana, and the ones most frequently used by employers for vetting potential employees. This form of detection is in the middle of the road as far as its ability to identify THC, and it can take anywhere between 5 and 63 days depending on the nature of your smoking habit to pass a test with a negative result. For the average individual who consumes cannabis, it will probably be a month from your last consumption before you want this test administered to you.


This is probably the most hardcore test for THC, as it is much harder to erase the presence of THC from the blood than it is to cleanse it from hair or urine. The one caveat to this is that marijuana does not stay in blood for very long, and infrequent smokers can rest easy after about a 24 hour period, while experienced users can expect up to a week or more before they’re clean. Detox attempts will likely be in vain though, as the THC likes to persist in the blood even when exposed to rigorous bodily cleansing methods such as heavy exercise, sweating, detox drinks and frequent urination. The best bet to pass a blood test is the consumption of fruit pectin, which is known to accelerate the process of expelling fats from your body.

Remember, the effectiveness of these tests varies from individual to individual. If you’re not a heavy cannabis consumer, then you have a good chance of removing the chemical from your system through a variety of detoxing techniques if you find yourself in a bind for time or simply want the peace of mind of knowing you’re THC-free for whatever reason. Keep in mind which type of test you’re preparing for, and you’ll have a better idea how long it will take for the weed to leave your body and escape detection.

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