It is normal to have questions about how marijuana affects the various systems of your body. Among the most common is whether cannabis affects your digestive system, and if it does, whether it would relieve or cause constipation.
You are unlikely to find a straightforward and concise answer to this question as it is more complicated than a yes or no answer.
It May Help in the Right Quantity
For generations, people have been using medical marijuana for a range of needs, including to treat inflammatory bowel disease and diarrhea. Based on some of the early research, it seems that the effects are due to the THC in marijuana. There is also some evidence that CBD may affect gastric motility, meaning how slowly or quickly matter moves through your intestines.
It Depends on the Cannabinoids and Quantity
So far, it seems that whether you notice constipation, diarrhea, or neither from marijuana depends on the amount you consume as well as the cannabinoids present.
It seems that if you consume too much marijuana, you are likely to have diarrhea or constipation. Some self-reported data seems to indicate that consuming marijuana regularly over time can lead to constipation, but it is not clear.
CBD and THC
The anecdotal evidence seems to connect THC to constipation and CBD to diarrhea, although this is not always the case. Remember that if you experience either, it is not necessarily from your marijuana consumption. Other factors may be at play, as well.
Based on these seeming connections, some people choose to try CBD to treat constipation and THC to treat diarrhea, as they may produce the opposite effects, therefore resolving the issue. Remember that if you try to treat constipation or diarrhea in this way, you will not be relying on scientific evidence.
There Is No Scientific Evidence Yet
When it comes down to it, there is no scientific evidence that marijuana either helps or hurts with marijuana. Most of the “evidence” you will find related to this so far is anecdotal or based on self-reported data.
Self-reported data come with its own challenges since you must take the patients’ interpretation of the symptoms at face value. Additionally, some of the self-reported data come from people who have conditions that could affect their bowel movements, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
You are also likely to come across many claims online that indicate marijuana can relieve constipation and/or diarrhea, but without scientific evidence to back them up. These may or may not refer to studies in a vague way, without actually citing any sources.
Right now, research into marijuana and its potential benefits is still in its infancy. If you want a clear answer as to whether cannabis affects your digestive system, you will need to wait for more research to be completed. In the meantime, you must carefully evaluate the sources of your information.
Look at Other Factors As Well
Whether you think you may be experiencing constipation from THC or diarrhea from CBD, you should start by ruling out other factors. Start with issues that can be proven, instead of relying on the supposed link between marijuana and your digestive system.
Remember that constipation can also come from your diet, medications, or underlying health conditions. Make sure that you get medical attention if the constipation comes with fever, vomiting, inability to pass gas, severe abdominal pain, or severe rectal pain.
Some other potential causes of diarrhea can include food intolerance or allergy, an infection, a digestive tract problem, or medications. Visit the doctor if the diarrhea lasts more than two days, you have at least six loose stools within 24 hours, or you experience vomiting, fever, severe rectal or abdominal pain, or diarrhea that resembles coffee grounds or is bloody.
What to Do If You Think It Is Marijuana
If you use marijuana regularly and have reasons to believe that your consumption is related to the changes in your digestive habits, then you may want to make some changes. You do not have to stop smoking or using your favorite CBD products. Instead, you could try a lower dose or reduce the frequency.
You may even experience an improvement if you switch to a different marijuana strain or a different method of using CBD, such as a topical treatment.
Expect to Wait for More Research
Unfortunately, you should not expect to have a definitive answer as to whether cannabis affects the digestive system anytime soon. The fact that cannabis is illegal at the federal level in the United States and many other countries severely limits the research that can be done.
Should You Use Marijuana to Treat Digestive Problems?
In terms of using marijuana to treat your digestive issues, whether they are constipation, diarrhea, or something else, there is no evidence indicating you will be successful, but it likely will not hurt to try. However, you should not choose marijuana as a remedy for these problems over medications that have been tested and proven to be effective. Instead, consider marijuana as an option if traditional medicines and dietary changes do not work or complement those traditional treatments with marijuana use after consulting your doctor.
The key here is that you should always consult your doctor before trying marijuana to relieve symptoms. It may interact with certain medications or conditions, and your doctor can advise you of whether it is safe for you to consume.
The Bottom Line
Due to a lack of research, experts do not know for certain whether marijuana is linked to constipation or other changes to your bowel habits. It seems that consuming too much THC may be linked to constipation while consuming too much CBD may be linked to diarrhea, but this is based on anecdotal evidence.
Until marijuana becomes legal everywhere, there is unlikely to be enough research into this area to come up with a definitive answer. In the meantime, you should always look for other potential causes of your bowel issues. If you think bowel changes are due to marijuana consumption, then you can change your habits to see if it makes a difference. Something as simple as switching strains may produce results, but it also may not.