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CBD and Constipation: Debunking the Myths

Digestive issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are common reasons patients choose medical cannabis as a potential treatment. This has sparked questions about the impact of cannabidiol (CBD) on digestive problems like diarrhea or constipation. This article will explore the scientific evidence surrounding the link between CBD and digestive issues, specifically constipation. Additionally, we will provide useful tips to help manage and prevent constipation when using CBD. If you’re considering CBD for its potential therapeutic benefits but have concerns about side effects like constipation, keep reading to separate fact from fiction.

Understanding the Causes of Constipation

Constipation is a prevalent digestive issue that affects many individuals at some point in their lives. While it can be an unpleasant experience, there are various potential causes:

  • Lack of Fiber: Insufficient intake of dietary fiber is a common culprit for digestive issues, including constipation. Fiber is crucial for maintaining healthy and regular bowel movements.
  • Dehydration: Failing to drink enough water can result in hard and dry stools that are difficult to pass, leading to constipation.
  • Inactivity: Sedentary lifestyles, particularly among office workers, can slow down the digestive process and contribute to constipation. Regular physical activity is essential to promote healthy digestion.
  • Medications: Certain medications, including opioids, antacids, and antidepressants, can induce constipation as a side effect due to their impact on the digestive system.
  • Medical Conditions: Conditions like hypothyroidism, diabetes, and irritable bowel syndrome can increase the risk of or directly cause constipation.
  • Ignoring the Urge to Go: Delaying bowel movements for prolonged periods can lead to constipation as stool remains in the colon for an extended time, becoming harder and more difficult to pass.
  • Stress: High levels of stress and anxiety can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system, potentially leading to constipation.

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CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in the cannabis plant that has gained popularity for its potential therapeutic benefits. It is available in various forms, such as oils, tinctures, gummies, capsules, and topical creams.

The current scientific research on the relationship between CBD and constipation is limited and sometimes conflicting. However, anecdotal evidence from medical cannabis users suggests that CBD can be beneficial for managing digestive issues. While a few studies have suggested that high doses of CBD can cause constipation or other digestive problems, the levels of consumption required for these effects are highly unlikely in real-world scenarios. On the other hand, other studies have found no negative link between CBD and digestive ailments and have even indicated a positive association.

For instance, a study conducted at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the University of Mississippi found that extremely high doses of CBD supplements were harmful to the gut microbiome, potentially leading to inflammation and constipation. However, the doses used in this study were unrealistic for human consumption. Furthermore, several studies have demonstrated that cannabinoids, including CBD, possess anti-inflammatory properties, indicating their potential effectiveness in treating gut inflammation associated with conditions like IBS or IBD. The fact that medical professionals continue to prescribe medical marijuana for gastrointestinal conditions suggests that CBD is not linked to the development of constipation.

Related Link: Hemp Gummies vs. CBD Gummies: What To Look For And How To Buy

Does CBD Oil Cause Constipation?

CBD oil is typically infused with CBD and mixed with carrier oils like coconut oil or hemp seed oil. Some individuals use CBD oil to manage symptoms of various health conditions, such as anxiety, pain, and inflammation.

Based on current evidence, CBD oil is unlikely to cause constipation. However, individual factors such as unique biochemistry, medical history, and other considerations may influence the effects. Additionally, carrier oils like coconut oil or hemp seed oil may play a role in how individuals respond to CBD oil when consumed orally or smoked. If you have concerns that CBD oil may contribute to gastrointestinal distress, consulting with your doctor and experimenting with lower doses or different consumption methods is advisable.

Can CBD Gummies Cause Constipation?

CBD gummies are edible products that contain CBD, often combined with other ingredients like sugar, gelatin, and food coloring. They are marketed as a convenient and enjoyable way to consume CBD, making them a popular alternative to other forms, such as tinctures and oils.

As with CBD oil, the impact of CBD gummies on digestion can vary from person to person. While some individuals might get constipation after using CBD gummies, others may find relief from digestive issues, considering that gummies are ingested and directly interact with the digestive system.

Some people, especially children, may experience an exacerbation of symptoms due to the constipating effect of gelatin and sugar, two common ingredients in CBD gummies. An allergy to one or more of the ingredients in CBD gummies may also cause constipation in some people.

Potential for Bowel Movement Regulation?

Research has shown that CBD may have potential therapeutic effects on various health conditions, including digestive issues like IBS and IBD. Some studies suggest CBD may help regulate the digestive system and alleviate constipation. Another compound, CBG (cannabigerol), found in the hemp plant and structurally similar to CBD, has been found to promote healthy bowel function.

A study conducted in 2018 discovered that CBG could activate the CB1 receptors in the colon, which are involved in regulating gut motility. Gut motility refers to the contractions of the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract that move food and waste through the digestive system. Activation of the CB1 receptors by CBG may improve bowel movement and relieve constipation. Similarly, a study conducted in 2016 found that CBD could promote healthy gut motility and reduce symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal pain, and inflammation in animal models. Based on the current evidence, both CBD and CBG have the potential to regulate bowel movements and relieve constipation. However, further research is necessary to understand their effects fully. It is always best to consult a healthcare provider before using CBD or CBG for digestive issues to ensure safety and appropriateness.

Avoiding Constipation When Taking CBD

If you are concerned about the possibility of constipation when using CBD, rest assured that available studies suggest constipation is unlikely to be caused by CBD unless taken in exceptionally high doses. However, there are additional steps you can take to minimize the risk and relieve symptoms if they do occur, regardless of their origin.

If you take CBD, follow these steps to reduce the risk of constipation:

  • Stay hydrated: Constipation can be avoided, and digestive health can be improved by drinking lots of water. While guidelines may vary, many sources recommend that adults consume at least 8 glasses of water daily, while others suggest simply drinking when you’re thirsty.
  • Increase fiber intake: Including fiber-rich foods in your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, can help maintain soft stool and prevent constipation.
  • Exercise regularly: Engaging in regular physical activity stimulates the digestive system and prevents constipation. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.
  • Avoid certain foods and drinks: Some foods and drinks can contribute to constipation, so it’s best to limit or avoid them if you are prone to constipation. Examples include dairy products, processed foods, red meat, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Choose the right CBD product: Certain forms of CBD, such as edibles made with sugar and gelatin, may include ingredients that are more likely to cause constipation in some individuals. Experimenting with different CBD products is recommended to find the one that works best for you and your digestive system.

Relieving Constipation When Taking CBD

If constipation occurs despite taking these precautions, here are some tips that may help relieve symptoms:

  • Drink plenty of water and fluids: Increasing water intake can help soften the stool and alleviate constipation.
  • Use over-the-counter remedies: Over-the-counter laxatives, such as lubricants, stool softeners, or osmotic agents, can relieve constipation. However, if you are using cannabis to treat a gastrointestinal issue, consult your doctor before using such remedies.
  • Soak in a warm bath: A warm bath can stimulate the muscles in the intestines and relieve constipation.
  • Engage in light exercises: Gentle exercises like walking or stretching can stimulate the digestive system and relieve constipation.

Related Link: Still Awake? Five Examples of CBD Helping People Sleep

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CBD Products That May Help with Constipation

Choosing the appropriate form of CBD is crucial if you are prone to constipation. Here are some CBD products that may help alleviate constipation:

  • CBD Oil: CBD oil is a popular form of CBD that can be taken orally or added to food and drinks. It is known for its potency and fast-acting effects, which may help relieve constipation. CBD oils are also formulated with additional ingredients like peppermint oil to support digestive health.
  • CBD Gummies: CBD gummies offer a convenient and enjoyable way to consume CBD. Some CBD gummies contain functional ingredients like fiber and probiotics, which may aid in relieving constipation. Opt for gummies that are free from artificial ingredients and instead contain natural sweeteners, such as fruit juice.
  • CBD Tea: CBD-infused tea can provide a relaxing and therapeutic experience while addressing constipation symptoms. Consider choosing teas that contain natural laxatives like cascara sagrada for additional relief.
  • CBD Capsules: CBD capsules are discreet and easy to consume. Some capsules contain additional ingredients like fiber and probiotics that may help alleviate constipation. Look for capsules with natural ingredients that are easy to digest.
  • CBD Topicals: While not commonly used for digestive health, CBD topicals such as creams and lotions can be directly applied to the skin. Some topicals contain ingredients like menthol, which can have a soothing and cooling effect on the digestive system, potentially relieving constipation.

Looking for CBD products to help with anxiety? Check out our selection today.

Debunking The CBD Constipation Myth

It is highly unlikely that CBD would cause constipation, and there is little evidence to suggest that even high-dose CBD users would develop the condition as a direct result of their use. CBD may even have therapeutic benefits for managing digestive issues. However, individual factors and product ingredients can influence how CBD affects digestion. It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before using CBD, especially if you have concerns about constipation or any other aspect of your health. By choosing the right CBD product, staying hydrated, maintaining a fiber-rich diet, and leading a healthy lifestyle, you can enjoy the potential benefits of CBD without worrying about constipation.

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