Have you ever felt sick to your stomach after taking CBD oil? If so, you're not alone — but the reason you feel that way probably isn't as Understand exactly how marijuana interacts with digestive processes and everything to know about cannabis, diarrhea, and constipation.
Ever Feel Queasy and Sick After Taking CBD Oil? These Experts Explain Why
Have you ever felt sick to your stomach after taking CBD oil? If so, you’re not alone — but the reason you feel that way probably isn’t as straightforward as you think. Upset stomach, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal distress are not typically caused by cannabinoid oil itself, but rather by ingredients used to deliver CBD oil into the body or flaws during production.
Without those factors, CBD may even help treat stomach issues. “It’s been shown to help heal ulcers and decrease acid reflux,” said Dr. Kenneth Brown, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist and doctor of internal medicine in Plano, TX, who often recommends CBD oil to his patients. “When the CBD binds to the CB1 receptor, it decreases excessive gastric acid, helps the lower esophagus prevent reflux, and increases blood flow to the lining of the stomach to help it heal quicker.”
CBD is also known to help heal the digestive tract. So, why do some people have issues?
“In my practice, when someone has gastrointestinal issues with CBD, we start with the product, because many times that may be a reason they are feeling sick. Just like all other health supplements, the quality and the source of CBD oil make all the difference,” Dr. Brown told POPSUGAR. Quality can be diminished if the cannabis or hemp is grown in poor soil or undergoes harsh extraction processes (often involving chemicals), or if the product is sourced from multiple locations.
Then there’s the issue of the carrier, as experts call it. “CBD oil is used with many carriers, including olive oil, coconut/MCT oil, grapeseed oil, emu oil, or hempseed oil,” explained Dr. Michele Ross, PhD, CEO of Infused Health and a leading cannabinoid medicine researcher. “If you are experiencing gastrointestinal distress symptoms or an upset stomach, you may have a sensitivity, especially to coconut/MCT oil, which is the most common carrier I’ve seen. Many people can experience abdominal cramping and stomach pain, especially when consuming large quantities.”
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, Dr. Ross suggests that you stop taking CBD oil for a day or two to identify that it’s the supplement and not some other issue (your diet, stress) that is causing your discomfort. Then, try taking the CBD oil again at half the dose you were taking before. If it’s still bothering you, try a CBD oil that uses a different carrier, or perhaps an entirely different method that’s applied to the skin, rather than through the stomach.
Any cannabis products referenced above are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The writer is not a medical doctor, and their experience is based on personal use, the results of which may not be typical or intended. The legality of cannabis products varies by state, and readers are encouraged to check their local laws before purchasing and using cannabis products. Nothing in this article should be construed as advice regarding the legal status of cannabis products. Any views expressed in this article by a third-party sponsor are those of such sponsor, and do not necessarily represent the views of POPSUGAR.
Can Marijuana Cause Diarrhea?
No one likes to talk about it, but at one point or another, everyone has experienced issues while going #2. Anecdotal stories, in particular, abound about problems arising in cannabis use. But the question remains, can marijuana actually cause diarrhea?
The short answer is somewhat complicated: anecdotally, marijuana can cause and soothe discomfort associated with diarrhea and constipation. However, the research still has a long way to go to provide medical cannabis patients with an informed answer.
This article dives into the specifics of how cannabis interacts with our digestive system and what to know about diarrhea and constipation associated with the use of marijuana.
How Marijuana Helps You Poop
For centuries, people have used cannabis for medicinal reasons, including problems with our digestive system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) manages multiple regulatory processes in our bodies, including digestion and waste elimination. Since cannabis directly interacts with the ECS, added to the fact that the gastrointestinal organs have a high concentration of endocannabinoid receptors, it makes sense that it would interplay with our time in the restroom.
The cannabinoid receptors in the gastrointestinal tract influence bowel movements, though little research has explored precisely how cannabis compounds interact with these receptors.
Most studies on cannabis’ effect on gastrointestinal issues focus on patients with irritable bowel disease (IBD) or Crohn’s disease due to cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects. However, there’s promising research to suggest that cannabis may be helpful for other digestive illnesses .
Marijuana reduces abdominal pain and increases appetite, potentially encouraging the body to properly digest foods and poop normally. And a recent population study found that current cannabis users were less likely than non-users to report experiencing constipation.
How to Recognize Diarrhea and Constipation From Marijuana
If you think you’re experiencing marijuana-induced diarrhea or constipation, look out for the following signs and learn how to mitigate or stop unpleasant symptoms.
The symptoms of cannabis-related diarrhea and constipation are, understandably, the same as diarrhea or constipation related to other illnesses. Signs of diarrhea include:
- Loose, runny stools
- Stomach cramps
- Sudden and frequent need to visit the restroom
The symptoms of cannabis-induced constipation include:
- Less than frequent bowel movements,
- Painful to go to the bathroom
- Cramps in abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Hard stools
How to Stop It
When experiencing diarrhea or constipation related to medical marijuana use, simply stopping your use or lowering your dosage should be enough to mitigate any unpleasant symptoms. Additionally, some anecdotal evidence points to edibles and oils as more likely to cause digestive issues – if you use edibles to medicate, switching to vapes or smoking may also stop symptoms.
When to Be Concerned
Diarrhea or constipation, whether cannabis-related or not, usually goes away within a few days after taking steps to address the issue. However, longer-term symptoms may be an indication of a larger health concern.
Colon or rectal cancers, tearing in the lining of the anus, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) all feature diarrhea or constipation as a symptom. If you are experiencing long-term bowel movement problems, it may be worth consulting your doctor for a professional opinion.
Cannabis users can also experience diarrhea or constipation due to what’s called cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) . This rare but concerning condition often occurs in heavy, continued cannabis use, potentially due to an overload of THC stored in fat cells in the body.
CHS is accompanied by recurrent bouts of pain in the stomach and intense nausea and vomiting. Symptoms typically vary in the three phases of CHS:
- Prodromal Phase. Includes abdominal pain and nausea.
- Hyperemetic Phase. Lasts 24-48 hours and often includes compulsive vomiting.
- Recovery Phase. Symptoms gradually lessen and disappear with decreased cannabis use.
While all these symptoms are unpleasant, it’s easy enough to treat CHS: simply abstain from THC for a while until you can rebuild your tolerance. A hot shower, black pepper (which contains beta-caryophyllene ), and soothing distractions will help soothe symptoms in the meantime.
The Bottom Line
More research is needed to truly understand how and why cannabis can cause and alleviate diarrhea and constipation. However, each individual should act according to their body’s needs and response to cannabis. If it helps, great! If it causes more problematic symptoms, be sure to discuss your experience with a Leafwell doctor to understand better how to mitigate issues while enjoying the many benefits of medical marijuana.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes diarrhea, the THC or the CBD?
There’s no definitive answer. We need more research to affirmatively say which cannabinoid, THC , CBD , or the hundreds of others in cannabis, actually causes diarrhea. The Entourage Effect also affects how a particular cultivar interacts with the body’s gastrointestinal system, making it more complicated.
Why does eating cannabis upset my stomach?
Eating cannabis edibles upsets the stomach due to the high levels of THC introduced into the body via the liver instead of through the lungs. The liver processes THC into a version of the cannabinoid that’s much more potent, and too much can bypass cannabis’ anti-nausea effects and go straight to causing nausea and stomach discomfort.
An upset stomach after cannabis use may also be associated with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. It’s also worth remembering that the edible you’re eating may have ingredients other than cannabis that may be causing an upset stomach.
Is marijuana good for constipation?
While more research is needed, marijuana anecdotally is good for helping with constipation. Cannabis can relax stomach discomfort and increase appetite, encouraging users to eat food that’ll help the digestive system get back on track.