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. 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.
Constipation from Marijuana: Side Effects
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
- 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.
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.
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.