- CBD 101
CBD Oil Diarrhea: Has it Happened to You?
CBD oil is well known for its immensely useful medicinal effects. From treating chronic inflammation to various neurodegenerative diseases, CBD oil has been demonstrated to help manage all kinds of serious ailments.
However with all good things, there is usually a bad side. With delicious foods, the negative is the weight consumers can put on, and with medicines, it is their side effects. Despite the common idea that marijuana doesn’t have any kind of adverse side effects to speak of, there are unfortunately a few, with one being notable in its irritability: Diarrhea.
If you have ever used CBD oil, you might have experienced diarrhea. So what causes it? Let’s take a look at the reasons why diarrhea might be caused by using CBD oil.
What is CBD Oil & Why Could it Cause Diarrhea?
To understand the possible side effects of CBD oil, it is essential to understand what CBD oil actually is. CBD oil is an extracted cannabinoid called cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, taken primarily from Cannabis sativa plants. This extracted substance is then suspended within inert oil so as to make it easy to imbibe it, whether orally or through administration into food.
CBD itself is a cannabinoid, similar to the more famous THC, known for getting people high when enjoying marijuana. CBD, on the other hand is entirely non-psychoactive. Instead, it is used for its myriad of medicinal effects. It is non-psychoactive because of the way it interacts with the body. When imbibed, CBD finds its way to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the health system in the body responsible for all kinds of bodily functions, such as inflammation and even, to some extent, the sensations linked to pain, as well as the speed at which cells regenerate.
Instead of attaching itself to the ECS’s receptors like how THC does, CBD instead triggers the CB1 and CB2 receptors calmly and gradually, producing the beneficial effects that increased simulation of the ECS can cause, but without any kind psychoactive high. By attaching itself to the endocannabinoid system and triggering the receptors, CBD is able to help heal or treat all kinds of different medical conditions, as the ECS exists throughout the human body. This extends all the way from the skin to your brain, so it is theoretically possible for CBD oil to work with every single part of your body.
When the CB1 and CB2 receptors are triggered, they start a chain reaction of different enzymatic and hormonal responses in the body that eventually cause all kinds of different medical changes in your body. For example, by acting as an adenosine inhibitor, CBD oil is able to help reduce inflammation throughout the body by merely triggering the CB2 receptor. Similarly, CBD oil is able to help encourage the release of helpful neurochemicals such as serotonin and melatonin, two essential chemicals that help you feel good and get to sleep, respectively. CBD oil is thus considered a useful way to help treat all manner of different conditions.
However, if this is the case, why on earth does it sometimes cause diarrhea?
Why CBD Oil Can Cause Diarrhea
Ever since the increased attention given to CBD oil as a medicine in the USA, researchers have been striving to demonstrate the side effects associated with its use, or rather the lack of any kind of severe side effects. By proving what kind of side effects can be expected, it is much less stressful for people to begin taking CBD oil; knowing what you might be getting yourself into makes the whole experience far more pleasant.
Kerstin Iffland and Franjo Grotenhermen conducted a study in 2017 that sought to evaluate the entirety of all possible side effects from CBD oil. Among the list of other predictable side effects, such as a small reduction in blood pressure as a result of the vascular relaxant properties of CBD oil, as well as an increased tendency towards sleepiness in the evenings, they discovered one side effect that was the most commonly reported – diarrhea.
Diarrhea and accompanying weight loss were the most reported side effect out of all polled regular CBD users. Interestingly, these symptoms only occurred with extremely frequent, regular usage associated with treating chronic conditions. Unfortunately, the study was not able to thoroughly diagnose the actual cause of this diarrhea, as the research concerning CBD oil’s abilities were not inherently linked to the bowels.
However, there are a few possible causes. One is that diarrhea is merely a standard reaction of the body when it is given a new medication that it is not used to. Consider it similar to the small fever that some people experience when they move to a drastically different climate – it is the body reacting in a slightly alarming way at the change in its biochemistry.
Another reason that is possibly even more likely is due to another effect that marijuana typically causes – the munchies.
CBD Oil & The Munchies
If you were to ask anyone in the world about the expected results from smoking marijuana, by far one of the first things mentioned would be the munchies. This experience of intense hunger that arises out of seemingly nowhere, commonly known as the munchies, is incredibly familiar to those that regularly smoke marijuana, especially those that use indicas.
However, CBD oil is somewhat different; remember, it is fundamentally different from marijuana and doesn’t cause the same effects. CBD oil actually acts the opposite of marijuana entirely in this way, actually being used as an effective hunger suppressant. Though it is not in any way as effective as medicines that are designed to be solely hunger suppressors, CBD oil does still create a noticeable reduction in your hunger pangs, especially ones that you might feel during the day in-between meals.
This reduction in hunger can cause a shift in your eating patterns, either making you eat less overall, or just eat less throughout the day in small increments – in other words, CBD oil might be useful at helping you stop snacking. This is all sounding pretty good, right? Stopping yourself from snacking is usually one of the hardest things to do when trying to lose weight, so it seems like CBD oil may only help in this way.
Unfortunately, your body is a machine that runs on food, especially food that contains lots of energy and is eaten frequently. Despite our modern lives, our bodies are still very much locked into the same states they were thousands of years ago, continually desiring food at all times. When you suddenly stop eating throughout the day, your body can react negatively, primarily due to the fact that your body is so closely tied to what it consumes on a day to day basis. This reaction can sometimes be unusually aggressive, often culminating in persistent diarrhea.
Additionally, the bowels can become irritated as a result of the differing levels of food eaten at different times throughout the day. However, according to Iffland and Grotenhermen, diarrhea as a result of beginning to take CBD oil is temporary, lasting only about one to two weeks.
This is because, after a few weeks have passed, your body is able to adapt to the new levels of food that you are taking in, essentially allowing it to calm down enough to stop causing diarrhea. However, the weight loss that occurs as a result of your changed appetite is something that usually stays with long term CBD oil usage. This might be a concern if you already suffer from another condition that causes weight loss or a reduction in appetite such as diabetes, so make sure that you are eating enough calories throughout the day to ensure that you can operate normally.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil and Diarrhea
CBD oil and diarrhea might seem an especially odd combination, as well as an especially scary one. We are always taught from a young age to fear any sudden onset of diarrhea, as it is usually an indication of your body suffering from some kind of ailment, or perhaps that you have ingested something dangerous. However, as is the case with all medicines, sometimes our bodies react in unpredictable and seemingly odd ways. In the case of CBD oil, our bodies can sometimes experience diarrhea as a result of starting using the cannabinoid.
CBD oil can cause a lower blood pressure because of how it interacts with the tensile strength and relaxative properties of your arterial walls, but diarrhea is something that happens due to the body’s reaction to the new substance. In a way, the diarrhea experienced by many CBD oil users is like the body’s fever when visiting a new place with a new climate.
It is important to remember, also, that there is a difference between a drug causing a condition and a drug having a condition as a side effect. While it is true that CBD can cause diarrhea, the diarrhea is the body’s reaction to the change in diet that CBD oil causes. This means that the CBD oil itself isn’t the thing that creates the diarrhea, merely the precursor to the diarrhea beginning.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t take CBD oil? Absolutely not! The diarrhea is only mild, as well as lasting only one to two weeks. Though the diarrhea might be frustrating at the beginning, it will pass quickly; the medicinal benefits of CBD oil far outweigh its possible negatives.