Can CBD Help with Constipation?

Yes, studies into CBD’s effects on IBS have shown that it can impact gut motility. An abnormal motility pattern can cause constipation, CBD can help to maintain normal, healthy gut motility.

This article will focus on CBD’s effects on constipation, looking at how it can help whilst clearing up not just what it is but some of the most common misconceptions surrounding it as well.

Can CBD help with constipation? Yes, studies into CBD’s effects on IBS have shown that it can impact gut motility. An abnormal motility pattern can cause constipation, CBD can help to maintain normal, healthy gut motility.

Many variables have to be considered with CBD because it depends on the product, the quality of it and how some people metabolize CBD differently, just as with any biohacking supplement.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol oil (CBD) is extracted from the leaves, stalks, and flowers of industrial hemp plants.

CBD is a cannabinoid, these are compounds found in the cannabis plant species. Unlike the similarly prominent cannabinoid, THC, CBD is non-psychoactive meaning it does not produce a ‘high’.

Because CBD is extracted from industrial hemp plants, it contains less than 0.2 – 0.3% THC content, so long as the product abides by this content level, it is legal in the US, UK, and Canada.

THC is the main psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant species, it is responsible for the ‘high’ that cannabis gives you.

What is constipation?

Constipation is a condition in the digestive system where the body has difficulty passing hard stools. It is a common issue that can affect people of any age.

You have constipation if:

  • You poo 3 or fewer times a week
  • Your poo is difficult to push out and larger than normal
  • Your poo is dry, hard or lumpy
  • You may also feel bloated, sick or have a stomach ache

Constipation can be caused by a number of things including:

  • Changing diet or daily routine
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Ignoring the need to go to the toilet
  • Not moving enough and not being active
  • Pregnancy – during and 6 weeks after
  • Not eating enough fiber
  • A side effect of some medicines
  • Stress, anxiety or depression

Traditional remedies and treatments include:

  • Consuming more liquids, and less alcohol
  • Create a toilet routine
  • Exercise more
  • Making changes to your diet to consume more fiber-rich foods such as cereals, fruits, and vegetables
  • Medications such as laxatives

How does CBD help?

Gut motility is the stretching and contracting of the muscles and in the GI tract. When these muscles don’t work properly, in terms of coordination and strength, this can lead to constipation.

The endocannabinoid system in our body which has two receptors specifically for cannabinoids such as CBD (CB1 and CB2 receptors) is important in modulating intestinal contractility.

These receptors are found all over and inside the body. CBD can help to support healthy motility by dampening overstimulation at the CB1 receptors in the gut.

Some of the causes for constipation can also be relieved through CBD consumption, stress and anxiety for example.

With CBD’s anxiolytic properties, anxiety is relieved and through this stress is also calmed.

On the other hand, constipation has been shown to be a very rare side effect in CBD consumption. Oils and edibles are more likely to cause constipation due to the added ingredients.

Many variables have to be considered with CBD because it depends on the product, the quality of it and how some people metabolize CBD differently, just as with any biohacking supplement.

CBD forms and dosage

CBD comes in a variety of forms, these include:

  • Oil in sprays and tinctures
  • Capsules
  • Topicals/creams/balms/lotions
  • Vaporizers/vape oils
  • Edibles/gummies
  • Infused water
  • Infused coffee
  • Tea
  • Shower gels/bath bombs/bath salts and shampoos

Factors such as weight, metabolism and the ailment looking to be treated are all important to consider when looking at dosing for CBD.

For constipation look to the lower dosage section in the table below.

Testing and trialing is a great way to find optimal dosage, however.

Begin with the lower dosage section but if effects are not felt, increase gradually by around 5mg daily over a period of one or two weeks or until effects are felt.

For those with constipation – as aforementioned – edibles and oils are the more likely culprits to potentially cause constipation so look to the other forms listed above.

Always consult with your doctor before beginning a new medication alongside others.

Misconceptions surrounding CBD

Does CBD get you high?

CBD does not get you high. Legal CBD extracted from industrial hemp plants are legally required to contain less than 0.2 % in the UK, and 0.3% in the US, THC content.

This amount is insignificant and presents no risk of getting ‘high’ from taking any CBD products.

Legality of CBD

In Canada, CBD along with recreational marijuana use is legal, however individual provinces have their own laws so check here for a more detailed outline on the legality of CBD in Canada.

CBD products from Canada may contain more than the legal amount of THC (as there is no limit) than other countries allow, so be cautious in transporting or trying to import CBD products from Canada.

In the United States, some states have legalized recreational marijuana use while some outlaw CBD as they do not differ it from marijuana itself, check here for a state by state guide on the legality of CBD in the US.

In federal law, CBD is legal so long as it is extracted from industrial hemp plants and contains less than 0.3% THC content.

In the United Kingdom CBD is legal as long as it is extracted from industrial hemp plants and contains less than 0.2% THC content.

In Australia, CBD and other ‘medicinal cannabis’ products can only be prescribed by a registered medical practitioner following an in-depth assessment of the patient’s condition and individual, outside circumstances.

Side effects and risks of CBD

Side effects of CBD are largely uncommon and insignificant. Short term side effects include:

  • Tiredness + mood changes
  • Diarrhea
  • Appetite change

Long term side effects are unstudied as studies have only recently begun on CBD.

Failing a drug test because of CBD

Drug tests look for THC and its metabolites. Because CBD contains trace amounts of THC a false positive can result from taking CBD so be cautious when taking CBD before a drug test.

Both the Hemp and Marijuana plant, which CBD can be derived from, contain THC. Industrial Hemp is legal because the amount of THC is limited to 0.2 – 0.3%, where Marijuana plants have no limit, which is why the plant is illegal.

CBD can interfere with your body’s ability to process certain pharmaceutical drugs; specifically, it inhibits cytochrome p450.

As with some other medications, CBD is metabolized in the body by the enzymes in the CYP450 system. So, in competing for these enzymes, CBD can reduce the metabolism of other drugs, raising their blood levels and having the inhibitor effect described above.

This means that lower dosages are more likely to be required without knowing so. This could lead to the potentially harmful levels suggested above. Clinical trials have shown this where CBD is provided in hundreds of milligrams (mg) daily.

The average CBD supplement pill can range from 10 to 40 mg, therefore the effect may not be as strong in smaller doses of CBD. Drugs that are affected by grapefruit do have warnings so watch out for these and avoid CBD when seeing this warning.

Conclusion

Studies for CBD and its effects on constipation specifically are scarce.

Although, studies into CBD and IBDs and IBS give some evidence of how CBD can help and is linked to the digestive system in the body.

CBD can also cause constipation however, so be cautious and if this is a side effect for you stop consumption and look to the traditional remedies.

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