Jessica Prenni, PhD, and Tiffany Weir, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture (JP), and Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition (TW), Colorado State University

In recent decades, the gut microbiome has emerged as a critical regulator of inflammation and immunity in humans and has been associated with the development of numerous chronic diseases. Diet is one of the most critical regulators of gut microbiota composition and function. The major goal of this proposal is to explore microbe-phytocannabinoid interactions in the context of both balanced and imbalanced (as observed in obesity and chronic disease states) human microbiomes. Our secondary goal is to examine how gut microbial metabolism of phytocannabinoids in our model system impacts gut barrier function and inflammatory profiles. Successful completion of this project will generate fundamental knowledge around how phytocannabinoids modulate the gut microbiome and provide proof-of concept and preliminary data for exploring interindividual differences in phytocannabinoid metabolism that can be leveraged in future human clinical studies utilizing phytocannabinoids for reducing both intestinal and systemic inflammation. Long-term outcomes of this research will provide much-needed information that can pave the way for intentional use of phytocannabinoids to treat intestinal disorders and other conditions that are linked through compromised intestinal barrier function and the microbiota-gut-brain axis.