Can CBD Gummies Cause Constipation

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You may be wondering if CBD causes constipation. Here's a detailed guide on how cannabis affects the digestive system! If you are suffering from Constipation, learn more about your marijuana-related treatment options. Find out how CBD can be used to treat the symptoms of Constipation. Learn why some cannabis users experience constipation as a side effect and how to combat side effects to get the most out of your cannabis.

Can CBD Cause Constipation?

Ah, the digestive system, everyone’s favorite body system to discuss. It can be awkward, for sure, but digestive health is hugely important, and bowel movements are a big part of that.

Paying attention to how your body is processing food can help you stay healthy, catch problems early, and have a more fulfilling life. So don’t be embarrassed to ask some “poop” questions.

The short answer is, yes, in some cases CBD can cause constipation, but this is quite rare. Usually, it has the opposite effect and most people find that using CBD oil or other CBD products can improve their digestive health.

How Cannabis Affects the Digestive System

One of the least-well-understood mechanisms in the human body is the digestive system and how it interfaces with the nervous system, the endocrine system, and many other important body systems. In short, what you eat, how you want it, and how your body digests it matters a lot.

So one of the interesting and inspiring things about CBD and the development of new CBD products is the potential for better bowel health. This is especially important for those suffering from conditions like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel disease, and other gastrointestinal issues.

But even the casual cannabis consumer can find wellness benefits in the use of CBD products. One thing that’s important to note is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved CBD as a treatment for epilepsy, and only some forms of epilepsy at that. So health claims about cannabis products are not currently legal. Still, the initial research is promising.

The Endocannabinoid System

So what’s going on under the hood? Why is CBD so impactful on bowel health? This is all thanks to the endocannabinoid system (or ECS), a system of receptors and transmitter molecules made in the human body. The transmitter molecules, called cannabinoids, include anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol.

These may be all of the naturally occurring (or endogenous) cannabinoids, but there may be more. These are produced by the human body and act on cannabinoid receptors, which mainly occur in the nervous system, but are also present in the bowels! This is part of how THC (the most psychoactive chemical in cannabis plants) creates a “high” effect.

It binds with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. Cannabidiol (or CBD) on the other hand, interacts with the endocannabinoid system differently. Scientists aren’t quite sure how exactly, although they do know that CBD does not bind to the two identified endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors) in the same way as THC does.

It’s clear that CBD can have some therapeutic benefits as well, however, so more research is certainly warranted.

CBD and Constipation

So what does all this have to do with constipation? It’s important to note that not only do cannabinoids act on the digestive system, but they also act on the brain. In fact, the ECS works as a sort of a gut/brain communication system.

So, depending on the cause of constipation and other factors at work, some people may find that CBD helps relieve constipation, while others won’t. The gut is a complicated place and constipation can be caused by a variety of different issues. To start, there are three basic kinds of constipation:

  • Atonic: This type of constipation is caused by a failure of the intestinal muscles to work correctly, either due to atrophy or other issues.
  • Obstructive: With obstructive constipation, there is something in the bowels blocking or obstructing bowel function.
  • Spastic: Most people who experience chronic constipation have some sort of spastic constipation, which means constipation caused by spasms and inflammation in the intestines. Rather than worsening constipation, most people with these conditions find that CBD can reduce their symptoms.

How CBD Can Help

For spastic constipation, in particular, CBD can be an effective anti-inflammatory treatment. We’ll cover the specific diseases that are often the cause of spastic constipation in a minute, but at the basic level, we can say these are inflammatory diseases.

People with chronic constipation from Crohn’s or irritable bowel syndrome experience symptoms because their immune system is overactive, or improperly reactive, causing inflammation and irritation along the digestive tract. Since this immune response involves both the nervous system and the gut, the endocannabinoid system plays a major role.

So, CBD, and other cannabinoids can provide a lot of relief by acting on this system. For some people, over-the-counter laxatives provide enough relief from constipation itself. Inflammatory bowel diseases come with many other symptoms though, and many report that CBD and other cannabinoids help to relieve stomach pain, diarrhea, and other discomforts as well.

All of this should be taken with a grain of salt as research is still underway and the Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD for the treatment of such diseases on the national level.

Constipation and CBD Oils

That said, for people without inflammatory bowel conditions, CBD (and cannabis-derived products in general) can be somewhat dehydrating. This means that some people do experience constipation after using CBD products, and especially after consuming edible CBD products. Simply staying properly hydrated will prevent this.

The only other way CBD oil can cause constipation is when people who are using it for relief from an inflammatory bowel condition use it for a very long time. Some people with these conditions experience an eventual return of symptoms, sometimes suddenly, once the body becomes too adjusted to a particular therapy.

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So some people who use CBD oil to treat Crohn’s and similar symptoms do have constipation come on suddenly with the return of symptoms.

Other Side Effects of CBD Oil

The more likely GI side effect to experience after using CBD oil is diarrhea. While CBD can help people with bowel conditions manage this symptom as well, others find that too much CBD will trigger diarrhea. Other possible side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Tiredness
  • Light-headedness
  • Appetite changes

As you can see, these are all pretty mild. They’re also more likely to occur with full-spectrum CBD products rather than CBD isolate products. Full-spectrum hemp products use all parts of the plant and so may have more THC present than CBD isolate products do. THC can exacerbate some of these side effects.

CBD Products for GI Diseases

It would be impossible to write about CBD and digestive health without mentioning that many of the state medical marijuana programs do include Crohn’s disease, IBS, and other gastrointestinal diseases as approved conditions.

While the FDA has not approved CBD as a treatment on the national level yet, many in the field think this will happen soon, especially as more research is concluded on these diseases. As noted above, one advantage of CBD is that it can work in “both directions” for people who experience constipation as well as diarrhea thanks to conditions like Crohn’s disease. Let’s look at some of these conditions a little more closely.

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)

The term “inflammatory bowel disease” refers to a few different conditions, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. We discussed some of the common symptoms and how these diseases work above, but let’s look at some of the ways in which people are using CBD and other cannabinoids to combat the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

It all goes back to the endocannabinoid system, which regulates the connection between the gut and the central nervous system. ECS receptors are found in immune cells as well and some research suggests that the ECS may be the regulatory system at work behind the maintenance of homeostasis in the gut (normal gut function) and gut motility in particular (the ability to move food through the digestive tract).

So, the little-understood inflammatory bowel diseases may be rooted in ECS malfunction. There is currently more research underway to study this possibility. In the meantime, many who suffer from Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis have found great relief from CBD products and hemp seed oil in particular.

Since these body systems are still poorly understood, it’s not known which cannabinoids (CBD, THC, or others) work best for GI issues, but early research suggests that pairing multiple cannabinoids may be the most effective.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome affects the same part of the body as the diseases above, the digestive tract. It can be more difficult to diagnose, however, as the inflammation isn’t as clear and consistent as with IBDs. Stil, IBS can be very uncomfortable and is characterized by stomach pain, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

People with IBS often have additional health issues like fibromyalgia, migraines, joint disorders, anxiety, and other problems. Like IBDs, IBS is still somewhat poorly understood, as are its links with these other disorders. Again, the ECS has provided scientists with a potential path forward.

This research is also in its early stages, but cannabinoids including CBD have helped many people with IBS reduce and manage symptoms.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is easy to understand for anyone who’s had heartburn. Experiencing heartburn every once in a while can be uncomfortable, but people with GERD experience it chronically, sometimes every time they eat. They may also experience chest pain and trouble swallowing.

People who have used CBD oil as a therapy for GERD report mixed results. Some find that it helps to relieve pain and reduce symptoms, while others see no effect. Again, it’s still unclear which cannabinoids work best for GERD, and more research needs to be done on CBD treatments in general.

Managing Chronic Pain

One reason that cannabis is so often used to relieve the symptoms of these conditions is that it also works generally to reduce pain. A lot of these syndromes are characterized by chronic pain in the gut or elsewhere. While it’s still an understudied area how CBD and other cannabinoids might work with the ECS to regulate the gut and immune system, we can say that CBD is helpful in at least managing the associated pain that comes with Crohn’s or GERD.

For digestive issues, most people use edible CBD, such as CBD oil, but other kinds of chronic pain can be helped with topical CBD as well. Muscle soreness, whether due to exertion or an issue like fibromyalgia, is a common reason for taking CBD. Some even note positive effects on gut pain and the like simply by using topical CBD too.

Full-Spectrum CBD and the Entourage Effect

It’s not just about CBD though. One thing that’s important to note is that some think that there is an “entourage effect” when using these products to treat digestive issues. What this means is that many people report more success when using a combination of multiple cannabinoids, such as both CBD and THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol).

Even if you live in a state with a limit on the THC content of cannabis products, you may still be able to get full-spectrum CBD, however, which will include other cannabinoids besides CBD. Full-spectrum CBD is made from the entire hemp plant, rather than isolates, and so may contain other cannabinoids that are still less understood, including:

  • Cannabichromene (CBC)
  • Cannabigerol (CBG)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA)
  • Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
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The Legality of CBD Treatments

Another thing to look out for when choosing between different CBD products is that some types of CBD are not legal on the federal level yet. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp and hemp derivatives with up to 0.3% THC content. So, CBD isolates and some full-spectrum products are legal nationwide. In many states, additional products are also available and legal on the state level, but this is not true everywhere.

So, if you’re going to purchase CBD products for GI relief, know the relevant laws in your state and keep in mind that CBD is not approved by the FDA to treat these conditions. Any reputable CBD retailer will have disclaimers making this clear. While many people do find great relief from these products, it is illegal to make health claims about them outside of their use in treating epilepsy.

Finding High-Quality CBD for Digestive Issues

There are a few other things you should look out for in locating a reputable CBD retailer as well. Especially if you’re looking for full-spectrum CBD to relieve stomach pain or constipation, finding the right retailer is going to be important. So how can you find the best CBD products for your needs? Keep these shopping tips in mind, and remember to always do your research beforehand.

  • Look for third-party lab testing: Third-party testing ensures the products are pure and don’t contain dangerous additives. It also lets you know just how much CBD is in each product and can help you avoid scams and fakes.
  • Read reviews and ratings: Reading actual customer reviews and asking around about retailers will give you more accurate information than just looking at their website or walking in. Make sure to compare retailers before you buy.
  • Know what you want: Part of the comparison should be comparing the products available. Some people prefer products like CBD tinctures, which are relatively easy to find but don’t always taste great. But if you’re looking for tastier options like gummies or cookies, you might be in for a longer search.

Final Verdict:

While CBD can contribute to constipation in some specific circumstances, it usually has the opposite effect! In fact, CBD can be very helpful for people suffering from chronic constipation or other gastrointestinal issues, in addition to the every day benefits of CBD for relaxation and stress relief.

Keep in mind that these body systems are not fully understood yet and that the FDA has yet to approve CBD for inflammatory bowel diseases but, hopefully, the research underway right now will provide some answers soon!

Constipation and CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) relieves a wide range of symptoms. You may know it helps with pain and sleep problems, but what about constipation? Discover how CBD works with your natural systems to reduce this common symptom.

Constipation: An Overview

When you experience constipation, you have three or fewer bowel movements a week. Most cases of constipation last for a short time, but the symptoms can feel unpleasant. However, some people have chronic constipation, which has a negative impact on your bowel movements for a long time.

You can have one of three types of constipation:

  • Atonic: Atonic constipation involves a lack of muscle tone in your intestines.
  • Obstructive: In obstructive constipation, a physical obstruction blocks your bowels.
  • Spastic: Irritation and inflammation in your intestines cause spastic

The type of constipation you have changes the approaches you can take to relieve your symptoms. For example, while healthy habits help patients with atonic constipation, obstructive constipation needs medical attention.

As part of a comprehensive treatment plan, CBD can address the causes and symptoms of constipation. It helps your natural functions work the way they should.

The Endocannabinoid System’s Link to the Digestive System

We all have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that makes and uses cannabinoids, the substances found in marijuana. Our ECS also creates its own cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. The ECS includes two types of receptors that bind to cannabinoids, CB1 and CB2. You can find CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body, including in the gut.

The ECS regulates the gut/brain connection through CB1 receptors. Our brain and gut communicate to each other through the vagus nerve to control our digestive functions. You can find CB1 receptors on the vagus nerve that influence these communications with cannabinoids. They process and release cannabinoids to manage the way our brain and gut send messages to each other.

CBD for Constipation Relief

CBD can relieve certain forms of constipation by addressing the causes. Its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory abilities have an indirect role to play in helping constipation patients.

If you experience constipation as a side effect of painkillers, you could lower your dose or replace it using CBD. CBD controls the pain response by increasing your anandamide levels. Anandamide, one of the endocannabinoids created by our bodies, moderates pain in damaged tissue. A fatty acid called FAAH breaks anandamide down, but CBD blocks FAAH. Taking CBD prevents the breakdown of anandamide, allowing it to manage pain sensations.

Anandamide also reduces inflammation in irritated tissue. This benefit helps patients with spastic constipation have reduced symptoms. When you have spastic constipation as a symptom of IBS, CBD also works with the body to relieve the condition’s other symptoms.

We recommend getting a doctor’s help before using CBD if you don’t know the cause of your constipation. If you have atonic or obstructive constipation, CBD may exacerbate your symptoms. However, it could also help you if you experience phases of constipation and diarrhea. You can use CBD to decrease your bowel motility and symptoms related to diarrhea when you have an episode.

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Finding the Right CBD Product for Your Constipation

CBD medicine comes in many forms. The availability in your area depends on local and state laws. Even if you don’t plan to use medication with THC, a medical marijuana program gives you access to medicine-grade CBD items. When you can’t get access to a dispensary, you can also get relief from over-the-counter CBD products. We recommend checking the product label to ensure it has enough CBD to provide benefits.

The right type of CBD product for your constipation will match the underlying causes. If you get constipation from painkillers, you want a medicine that reaches the affected area. Topical treatments will help muscle pain, while patches, edibles and pills circulate to pain sources inside your body. Medication you ingest travels to your intestine to relieve inflammation caused by IBS and other conditions.

You may also want to look into medicine that contains small amounts of THC to boost CBD’s effects. It works together with CBD to provide stronger pain and inflammation relief. Since CBD reduces the impact of THC on the brain, you can feel less of a “high” from the THC.

A doctor trained in cannabis medicine can help you find a solution that manages your symptoms. CBD has varying effects depending on the case of constipation. So, getting medical advice first will ensure you have an effective treatment.

Where to Learn More About Medical Marijuana

To discover more about using cannabis medicine, find more information about underlying and related conditions in our ailment resources.

Learn More About Constipation

Learn more about Constipation and what makes medical marijuana an effective treatment for Constipation’s symptoms.

Constipation

Even though medical cannabis can ease constipation, it can also cause it for some patients. While constipation is one of the rarer side effects of medical weed, it’s an important one to consider and discuss with your medical marijuana doctor, especially if you’re thinking about using cannabis edibles or oils.

Possible Side Effects of Medical Pot

Every physician, no matter their specialty, focuses on providing you with a treatment plan that outweighs any potential side effects. If you experience uncomfortable side effects like constipation, you should discuss it with your doctor. They’ll be able to make additional recommendations to alleviate your discomfort.

Some side effects, however, are desired by both patients and physicians. If you cope with insomnia daily, for instance, your doctor may recommend medical weed because of its tendency to cause drowsiness, which will help you fall asleep.

How Does Medical Weed Cause Constipation?

Because constipation is a rare side effect of medical marijuana, it hasn’t undergone extensive studies by researchers. Early studies and patient experiences suggest forms of medical pot that pass through the digestive tract — like oils and edibles — can cause constipation due to their additional ingredients.

Another factor that may contribute to medical weed-induced constipation are cannabinoids — specifically, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It’s thought that while cannabidiol (CBD) can cause diarrhea, THC does the opposite.

As medical marijuana becomes increasingly integrated into healthcare and accepted by the medical community, it’s anticipated that more research will be conducted into its side effects and benefits, so patients can know what to expect and why.

Signs of Constipation From Medical Cannabis

If you’ve experienced constipation before, the symptoms of medical cannabis-induced constipation are identical.

Symptoms of Medical Marijuana-induced Constipation Includes:

  • Lumpy or hard stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Less than three bowel movements a week
  • Straining to pass stool
  • Feeling like your rectum is blocked

In extreme cases, you may be unable to use the restroom. If this happens, seek medical attention.

Long-Term Side Effects of Constipation

While brief constipation often leaves you without any lingering effects, chronic constipation can cause several issues that require assistance from a medical professional, whether it’s your primary doctor or an ER physician. Some of these long-term side effects include:

  • Anal fissures
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Impaction
  • Rectal prolapse

Sometimes, continued constipation is a sign of a more life-threatening condition, such as:

  • Bowel stricture
  • Rectum bulge
  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Colon cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Abdominal cancer

Due to the range of issues that could cause chronic constipation, it’s critical to meet with your physician if you’re experiencing this side effect.

How to Avoid and Manage Constipation From Medical Marijuana

Since medical marijuana-induced constipation has a slight mystery surrounding it, there’s less of an understanding about how to avoid and manage constipation from medical weed edibles or oils. Physicians have recommended a few techniques with success, however, for reducing or eliminating constipation, including:

  • Modifying your diet
  • Switching your strain of medical pot
  • Changing your administration method
  • Updating your dosage of medical cannabis

Symptom trackers are helpful to use, so your physician can see which changes are making symptoms better, worse or the same between appointments.

Talk to Your Medical Marijuana Doctor About Your Constipation

Even though medical cannabis poses several side effects, most doctors and patients find its benefits outweigh those risks. No matter what kind of experience you’re having with medical weed, it’s essential to meet with your doctor regularly. They can provide personalized advice that considers your situation, symptoms, past treatments and preferences. If you’re experiencing constipation or another side effect, contact your medical marijuana doctor.

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