CBD and diarrhea
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- Research overview
- The studies
- Patient perspectives
- What the experts say
- Bottom line
CBD oil has been gaining traction among cannabis doctors and patients as a potential remedy for ailments ranging from arthritis to epilepsy. Taking CBD oil generally causes few side effects compared with many prescription medications and over-the-counter painkillers. There are possible side effects associated with CBD, though these may be rare and/or only occur in high oral doses.
Can using CBD oil help diarrhea? Or can CBD oil cause diarrhea? In this article, we’ll take a look at the effects of the cannabinoid on the body and highlight the most current research on CBD oil and diarrhea.
In 2019, the Mayo Clinic reported that CBD is generally well-tolerated but may cause a number of side effects — among them, diarrhea. At least two studies have confirmed a possible link between CBD oil and diarrhea, but research is still emerging and it’s important to consult your physician about starting a regimen and determining appropriate dosages.
Can CBD oil help diarrhea?
For some people, CBD oil and other cannabis products may help alleviate diarrhea and other symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). According to a 2016 literature review published in the journal Gastroenterology & Hepatology, cannabis and CBD may be used therapeutically to treat IBD. The authors of the review expressed concern for the side effects of cannabis on IBD patients, but ultimately concluded, “A significant portion of IBD patients, particularly those with severe disease, use cannabis to relieve symptoms of pain, nausea, and appetite and to improve their overall mood.” It is worth noting that the researchers focused on cannabis overall and not specifically CBD products.
For some people, CBD oil and other cannabis products may help alleviate diarrhea and other symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
One 2018 randomized control trial examined whether a CBD-rich botanical extract could help people with ulcerative colitis, a type of IBD with a litany of symptoms including diarrhea. Results, published in the scientific journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, determined that “CBD-rich botanical extract may be beneficial for symptomatic treatment of ulcerative colitis.”
Can CBD oil cause diarrhea?
One 2019 report, published in the journal Current Neuropharmacology, discussed the effects of CBD based on clinical trials of the FDA-approved drug Epidiolex, which is derived from CBD and prescribed to treat severe cases of childhood epilepsy. It also looked at the use of Epidiolex to treat psychiatric problems. The researchers determined that diarrhea was among the most common adverse effects for individuals taking Epidiolex to treat epilepsy and psychiatric disorders. They noted, however, that the incidence of any side effect was low compared to other drugs used to treat such conditions.
In 2018, results of randomized CBD trials were published in the journal CNS Drugs. In these trials, CBD was found to have a high level of tolerance with minimal adverse effects. Similar to the Epidiolex trials, these studies showed that diarrhea was among the most common side effects of CBD and occurred more frequently in individuals on a regimen of the cannabinoid than those taking a placebo. Researchers reported that the effects ranged from mild to moderate, with no severe cases.
Brooke Bogdan has been using medical cannabis since 2012 to address symptoms of ulcerative colitis. In a 2019 article published in Everyday Health, Bogdan shared how medical marijuana helped her find relief from chronic pain. When she started using cannabis, Bogdan’s condition was so severe that she needed to have a total colectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the colon.
Prior to the surgery, Bogdan had endured constant discomfort and nightly insomnia, but with the integration of medical marijuana into her treatment, she has witnessed vast improvements. Bogdan wrote, “Cannabis helped provide an outlet of relief for me when I was close to losing my life. When prescription medication doesn’t help my ulcerative colitis symptoms, I turn to cannabis.”
To help alleviate diarrhea, it is suggested to use CBD oil vape pens, tinctures and dabs rather than edibles. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Specifically, Bogdan mentioned that CBD oil vape pens, as well as tinctures and dabs, have relieved her symptoms. She advised against the consumption of edibles for people coping with ulcerative colitis because, “Our digestive tracts don’t function well, therefore we may not be able to absorb the medication into our systems via chewing and swallowing.”
Other patients have described experiencing minor diarrhea after consuming high levels of CBD. Curt Rollins is a retired florist who lives in Brunswick, Georgia. For more than 30 years, he worked with his hands designing intricate floral arrangements for weddings and baby showers. “I loved the work, but my hands paid the price,” Rollins revealed in a phone interview with Weedmaps.
When Rollins developed debilitating arthritis in both his hands, he turned to over-the-counter painkillers and cortisol shots, but nothing brought relief. Then, his doctor suggested CBD oil and his hands started to improve. “The pain got a lot better without too many side effects. But I did find that my stomach would get a bit upset if I had too much CBD oil every day,” Rollins shared.
How many milligrams of CBD would qualify as excessive? That depends on the individual, but a rule of thumb is that 500 milligrams or more is a high dose of CBD. Rollins continued, “When I reduced the dose or just rubbed the CBD oil on my hands instead of swallowing it too, I didn’t have any problems with nausea or diarrhea anymore.”
So, does CBD oil cause diarrhea? The answer is probably not, as long as you’re using CBD at lower levels under a qualified physician’s care. But elevated doses of CBD (or any medicine) may be problematic and affect the digestive system. Vaping or dabbing CBD can help users avoid the issue completely.
What the experts say
A link between CBD oil and diarrhea may exist, but only at high oral doses, according to Dr. Adie Rae, a neuroscientist at Legacy Research Institute in Portland, Oregon, and a scientific adviser to Weedmaps. “Yes, CBD causes diarrhea at high oral doses, as reported in the Epidiolex clinical trials and randomized clinical trials in adults,” said Rae, referencing the two trials cited in this article.
Rae was quick to add that “most people will not take enough CBD to cause diarrhea; this usually happens at very high doses of 500 milligrams or more.”
Of course, a lower oral dosage of 400 milligrams, for example, could still trigger diarrhea in some individuals. Height and weight may also play a role. In addition, dietary habits, exercise frequency, and general health may influence whether taking CBD oil leads to diarrhea or not.
CBD oil interacts in different ways with the endocannabinoid system of each unique individual. Before you take CBD, discuss your best treatment options with your healthcare provider and always listen to what your body is telling you.
In terms of CBD easing diarrhea, especially acute bouts, Rae noted that there is little evidence that CBD is a directly useful tool. She asserted, however, that “CBD could still improve the quality of life for patients suffering from chronic bowel disorders, even if it doesn’t improve some specific symptoms like diarrhea.”
Other researchers agree. Dr. Timna Naftali, a gastroenterology specialist at Tel Aviv University’s Meir Hospital in Israel, studied the effects of a treatment with 15% CBD and 4% THC on patients with Crohn’s disease. Naftali found that 65% of patients experienced clinical remission and improved quality of life after eight weeks of cannabis treatment.
Mild to moderate diarrhea may coincide with using oral CBD at elevated doses, but no studies currently indicate that such effects are serious or result from taking CBD oil in lower doses or in different forms. As for whether CBD can help gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, the Israeli study is promising but more human trials are needed. For those who want to try it, an inhalable route is probably best.
CBD and diarrhea Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Research overview The studies Patient perspectives What the experts say
Cannabis for Diarrhea
Cannabis for Diarrhea
Diarrhea, is the condition of having at least three loose or liquid bowel movements each day. To some people, it is a simple sickness disorder that comes and goes even without treatment. Even though it looks, sounds and seems harmless, around 3.5 million people die from it every year.
Diarrhea lasting more than 2 days may be a sign of more serious problem. Chronic diarrhea that lasts at least 4 weeks may be a symptom of a chronic disease. Chronic diarrhea symptoms may be continual or they may come and go. Diarrhea rarely comes alone and is usually combined with cramps, abdominal pain, nausea, an urgent need to use the bathroom, or loss of bowel control and in more severe cases fever.
Diarrhea of any duration may cause dehydration, which means the body lacks enough fluid and electrolytes chemicals in salts, including sodium, potassium, and chloride-to function properly. It may be a result of an infection, heavy drinking or just bad food. People of all ages can get diarrhea. In the United States, adults average one bout of acute diarrhea each year and young children under five years have an average of two episodes of acute diarrhea each year.
Other causes of diarrhea
Acute diarrhea is usually caused by a bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection. Chronic diarrhea is usually related to a functional disorder such as irritable bowel syndrome or an intestinal disease such as Crohn’s disease. The most common causes of diarrhea include: Bacterial infections, viral infections, parasites, functional bowel disorders, intestinal diseases, food intolerances and sensitivities, and reaction to medicine like antibiotics, cancer drugs, and antacids containing magnesium can all cause diarrhea.
Some people develop diarrhea after stomach surgery, which may cause food to move through the digestive system more quickly.
Using cannabis to treat diarrhea
So cannabis for diarrhea, eh? In most cases of diarrhea, the only treatment necessary is replacing lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration and sometimes antibiotics in case diarrhea is caused by bacteria or parasites. Specifically, cannabis works as a motivator for the anodyne part of morphine, stimulates the central nervous system and serves as a wicked appetite booster. Morphine usually makes you lose appetite, but weed makes a phenomenal comeback and speeds up your digestive tract so you actually recover faster.
Cannabinoid receptor agonists delay gastric emptying in humans as well as in rodents, and they may also inhibit human gastric acid secretion. The major active constituent of the plant Cannabis sativa (marijuana), THC, and a variety of natural and synthetic cannabinoids have been shown to possess anti-flammatory activities. Cannabis helps combat cramping when cannabinoids relax contractions of the smooth muscle of the intestines.
Research shows that the body’s own cannabinoids, known as anandamides, affect neurological systems that control the gastrointestinal system. External and internal cannabinoids strongly control gastrointestinal motility and inflammation. They also have the ability to decrease gastrointestinal fluid secretion and inflammation.
Research by Dr. Anita Holdcroft of Hammersmith Hospital has reported the results of a placebo controlled trial of cannabis in a patient with severe chronic pain of gastrointestinal origin.
The patient’s demand for morphine was substantially lower during treatment with cannabis than during a period of placebo treatment. Studies indicate that cannabis in marijuana bind with cannabinoid receptors in the digestive tract, especially the small and large intestines, causing muscle relaxation, reduction of inflammation, analgesia, increased nerve-muscle coordination, anti-emesis, and relief if spasms such as those that cause diarrhea.
Cannabis is an adaptogenic immune system modulator that can increase or decrease immune systems function in ways that almost always contribute to healthier outcomes. The use of medical marijuana to treat digestive system problems is time-tested, and is usually a safer intervention than the use of pharmaceutical drugs or surgery.
It is also worth noting that there have been a number of anecdotal accounts of the past against dysentery and cholera. Therefore the legalization of cannabis in the United States will enable more research and help cure several digestive system problems diarrhea inclusive.
Source: Medical Marijuana Blog
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The use of medical cannabis for diarrhea and other digestive system problems is a safer intervention than the use of pharmaceutical drugs or surgery.