Studies have indicated many favorable health benefits of CBD products. However, some researchers and users have also reported the side-effects of consuming CBD.
In addition to these studies, many users have also reported positive as well as adverse effects of these products. On one side, many individuals report relief from chronic pain conditions, arthritis, stress, and sleep disorders. On the other side, a few of them also complain about the side-effects including nausea, drowsiness, and upset stomach. There are also some stray incidences where users have reported diarrhea after ingesting CBD.
We will try to holistically understand whether it is only the CBD or some other elements as well causing diarrhea after its consumption.
Before dwelling directly into it, we will first look at some of the potential health benefits and side effects of consuming CBD.
Health benefits of CBD
Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the major compounds in a Cannabis Sativa plant like marijuana or hemp. Compounds present in these plants are known to offer many health benefits. However, THC, one of those compounds present in the plant, also imparts its psychoactive properties to the extract apart from offering many health benefits.
CBD on the contrary does not possess psychedelic properties while still offers many health benefits. And this comes up as one of the major reasons for the high popularity of CBD products in the world of alternative medicines.
The CBD products are available in many different forms including tincture, oil, balm, cream, gummies, capsules, and vapes, etc. You can consume them orally and inhale them in the form of vapors. Besides, you can topically apply them on your body to get relief from varied medical disorders.
Epidiolex is the only CBD based prescription oil medicine that has received US FDA approval for the treatment of epilepsy.
However, research has indicated its potential benefits in treating many medical disorders including,
- Chronic pains
- Pains related to Arthritis
- Sleep disorder like insomnia
- Pains related to cancers
- Nerve pains
- Parkinson’s disease
- Stomach disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Migraines, and
- Anxiety and Depression
The above reasons have encouraged the US federal government to legalize many activities related to CBD. However, it still lacks uniformity in the legal status of CBD among different states across the country.
Side effects of CBD
Similar to the health benefits, the research around the side effects of using CBD products also lacks enough scientific studies. Having said that, based on the reports of the available scientific research and the feedback received from the users, CBD has been reported to have some adverse side effects. They include,
- Dry mouth
- Low BP
- Worsening Parkinson’s disease symptoms
- Drowsiness, and
- Stomach issues
- Gastrointestinal problems,
- Increase & decrease in appetite, and
- Diarrhea, etc.
There is a lot of discussion around CBD’s effect on the stomach and in particular in causing diarrhea. So, the obvious question that comes to our mind is,” What could be the possible reasons for CBD to cause Diarrhea?”
If you study the consumers’ feedback, the forum is divided on the topic. Some claim that CBD causes diarrhea while others do not notice any such effect even on prolonged use. In fact, many users report CBD to actually have a favorable impact on their overall digestive activities.
It means there could be many reasons why some users suffer from diarrhea after consuming CBD. Let us look at some of the probable causes for the same.
Though there is no evidence of an overdose of CBD causing life-threatening medical conditions yet a higher dose of CBD oil can lead to diarrhea, fatigue, and lower blood pressure, etc. And this is not only true with CBD but also with the conventional medications as well.
If you have recently started taking CBD supplement without consulting your physician, there are more chances that overdosing of CBD would have caused diarrhea.
Further, if you have been on the supplement for a long time & have never experienced such a side effect before and now as you increase the dosage you have this side effect than a higher dosage could be a probable cause.
However, if you have this side effect despite no change in your regular dosage there could be some other reasons for the problem.
Consuming CBD on Empty Stomach
The oral consumption of CBD oil would involve your entire digestive system in processing the supplement. And if your digestive system is not prepared it may not be able to process CBD oil effectively and indigestion caused can lead to nausea or diarrhea.
Again this is true with many conventional medications. Doctors recommend you to take certain medications only after the meals.
Interaction with other medication
Your gut & liver metabolize any drug or a foreign substance that you consume for medication. A family of enzymes called CYP450 present in the liver plays the most vital role in breaking down the drug and removing the foreign elements from the body.
CYP3A4 is one of the enzymes in the CYP450 family that is responsible for the metabolism of 60% of the medications. If CBD affects the activity of this enzyme it will slow down the process of metabolism of the other medication. It can be the other way round as well. The other medication can also inhibit the activity of CYP3A4 and can reduce the effect of CBD on the body system.
In both the above conditions, the interaction of CBD with other medications can lead to many side effects including diarrhea. Since there is still limited research available on the interaction of CBD with other medications, you should avoid having medicines with the grapefruit warning label.
Using impure CBD
With the relaxation of law on activities related to CBD, many scrupulous sellers have also entered the market. With the FDA not regulating the manufacturing of CBD products, it is left to the mercy of the processors to provide the quality of the product that suits their business interests.
The product can absorb various harmful contaminants during different processing steps. For instance,
- The hemp plants can absorb harmful heavy metals from the ground and chemicals through the pesticides & herbicides used during the farming process.
- The cheaper extraction methods can also lead to chemical contamination in the product further degrading the quality of the product.
- Over and above, some sellers can intentionally use a higher percentage of THC in the product than allowable.
- On top of that, in the absence of proper regulation, you can never be sure about the information given on the product level viz-a-viz what is actually put inside the product.
So, you are never sure whether the CBD that you consumed was pure or was poor in quality and was contaminated with harmful substances.
Other ingredients of CBD
There are broadly three carrier oils that manufacturers use in making the CBD oil viz. MCT oil (coconut derivative), Olive oil, and Hemp seed oil.
Though these oils possess many beneficial properties yet they can show symptoms of diarrhea to some individuals reactive or allergic to the substances in these oils.
Moreover, some CBD products use additional chemicals to enhance the flavor and color of their CBD oil. These minor ingredients can also cause diarrhea or any other medical condition to some users.
Individual’s response to CBD
Like traditional medicines, every individual responds to CBD supplements differently. The digestibility of the CBD product would depend on the metabolism of each individual. Some individuals would be able to digest it more easily than others.
Those with weaker metabolism may show symptoms of diarrhea after CBD ingestion.
Method of Consumption
Ineffective and inadequate digestion is the prime reason for diarrhea. So, only the oral consumption of the CBD product can cause diarrhea. The direct or sublingual consumption, using capsules and gummies, etc. can lead to this medical condition.
The topical application would not cause this side effect.
Avoiding Diarrhea When Using CBD
Identifying the problem is the first step towards finding out the solution. Once we are clear about the probable reasons for diarrhea while consuming CBD, we can take adequate measures to prevent or cure it. So, now we would look at the measures to avoid diarrhea when using CBD:
Consult a doctor
This can be the remedy to all the side effects of taking CBD products including diarrhea.
Nothing can be safer than taking the supplement after consulting a qualified physician. Consulting a doctor has many advantages,
- A physician can recommend you correct dosage based on your physiology and other medical conditions.
- This offers preventive measures for overdosage, interaction with other medications, methods of consumption, and individual response mechanisms.
- Your physician can also guide you to purchase the good quality CBD oil and can advise on the label information and the ingredients as well.
- So, this will also reduce the chances of buying inferior products from spurious suppliers.
- On top of that, if you still observe some side effects like diarrhea, you can immediately consult your doctor for remedial action.
However, if you are taking the supplement on your own you must take care of some more aspects while buying & consuming these products.
Buy from a reliable company/brand
A reputed company would never offer an inferior product. There are ways to identify a good brand or company selling genuine CBD products,
- Conduct thorough research, refer customer reviews, and look for the quality test report to identify the authentic CBD brand.
- Check if the manufacturer follows good manufacturing practices.
- You can find it out by checking the farming process, extraction method, and ingredients used in the product.
- Most of the renowned sellers openly share the third party test report of all their products. Some sellers provide these reports on demand.
- Check these reports to ensure that there are no harmful contaminants in the CBD product that they are offering.
- Finally, check the label and ensure that the product does not contain any objectionable ingredient or the ingredient that you are allergic to.
- Ensure as well, that none of the ingredients interact with your other medications.
If you’re looking to buy CBD oil then we recommend you check out these CBD brands which not only provide genuine CBD products but also care about their customers.
Begin with a low dosage
Test your body response towards the new medication. Begin with less than the recommended dosage. If you find a favorable response without any side effect, increase the dosage gradually.
Stop or reduce the dosage
No matter what positive results you are getting from the CBD oil, stop consuming at once if you observe any abnormal side effects on your body. Be particularly observant of any such side effects in the conditions when you,
- Begin to take the supplement
- Increase the dosage
- Change the brand
- Use a different batch
- Alter your other medication
Consult the doctor immediately and restart only on your physician’s advice.
Do not consume empty stomach
As explained earlier, consuming CBD empty stomach can cause diarrhea. So, make sure to eat something before taking the supplement. Consuming CBD after half an hour to an hour after the food is even better to digest CBD oil. This is the ideal time for its optimal bioavailability and maximum absorption in the body.
Change the method of consumption
Diarrhea is a disorder of the human digestive system. So, if you have symptoms of diarrhea on direct oral consumption, you can change your consumption method.
- Some experts suggest consuming CBD oil by mixing with a beverage or a food item. This allows your body to have enough time to get accustomed to the oil.
- However, being the oral method this may also interact with your digestive system.
- You can shift to the topical method if you are taking the supplement to treat the pain, inflammation, or any skin ailment.
- Try for the vapor inhalation method and check the effectiveness and suitability.
Try CBD with different ingredients
Check for the ingredients in the product. Replace the product having a different mix of ingredients. This would eliminate the possibility of reaction with the specific carrier oil or any other ingredients.
So, we observed that there were two different viewpoints on whether CBD could cause diarrhea or not. On one hand, there is no strong evidence to support the fact that CBD causes diarrhea. On the other hand, some users have reported having diarrhea after ingesting CBD.
So, while analyzing the fact we realized that consumption of CBD could cause diarrhea. However, CBD itself was not the only factor responsible for the side-effect.
So, until there are enough scientific studies available on the subject, we should take proper care to avoid diarrhea when using CBD.