Rae was quick to add that “most people will not take enough CBD to cause diarrhea; this usually happens at very high doses of 500 milligrams or more.”
So, does CBD oil cause diarrhea? The answer is probably not, as long as you’re using CBD at lower levels under a qualified physician’s care. But elevated doses of CBD (or any medicine) may be problematic and affect the digestive system. Vaping or dabbing CBD can help users avoid the issue completely.
Of course, a lower oral dosage of 400 milligrams, for example, could still trigger diarrhea in some individuals. Height and weight may also play a role. In addition, dietary habits, exercise frequency, and general health may influence whether taking CBD oil leads to diarrhea or not.
Other patients have described experiencing minor diarrhea after consuming high levels of CBD. Curt Rollins is a retired florist who lives in Brunswick, Georgia. For more than 30 years, he worked with his hands designing intricate floral arrangements for weddings and baby showers. “I loved the work, but my hands paid the price,” Rollins revealed in a phone interview with Weedmaps.
A link between CBD oil and diarrhea may exist, but only at high oral doses, according to Dr. Adie Rae, a neuroscientist at Legacy Research Institute in Portland, Oregon, and a scientific adviser to Weedmaps. “Yes, CBD causes diarrhea at high oral doses, as reported in the Epidiolex clinical trials and randomized clinical trials in adults,” said Rae, referencing the two trials cited in this article.
CBD oil has been gaining traction among cannabis doctors and patients as a potential remedy for ailments ranging from arthritis to epilepsy. Taking CBD oil generally causes few side effects compared with many prescription medications and over-the-counter painkillers. There are possible side effects associated with CBD, though these may be rare and/or only occur in high oral doses.
Other researchers agree. Dr. Timna Naftali, a gastroenterology specialist at Tel Aviv University’s Meir Hospital in Israel, studied the effects of a treatment with 15% CBD and 4% THC on patients with Crohn’s disease. Naftali found that 65% of patients experienced clinical remission and improved quality of life after eight weeks of cannabis treatment.
CBD is also known to help heal the digestive tract. So, why do some people have issues?
Have you ever felt sick to your stomach after taking CBD oil? If so, you’re not alone — but the reason you feel that way probably isn’t as straightforward as you think. Upset stomach, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal distress are not typically caused by cannabinoid oil itself, but rather by ingredients used to deliver CBD oil into the body or flaws during production.
“In my practice, when someone has gastrointestinal issues with CBD, we start with the product, because many times that may be a reason they are feeling sick. Just like all other health supplements, the quality and the source of CBD oil make all the difference,” Dr. Brown told POPSUGAR. Quality can be diminished if the cannabis or hemp is grown in poor soil or undergoes harsh extraction processes (often involving chemicals), or if the product is sourced from multiple locations.
Without those factors, CBD may even help treat stomach issues. “It’s been shown to help heal ulcers and decrease acid reflux,” said Dr. Kenneth Brown, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist and doctor of internal medicine in Plano, TX, who often recommends CBD oil to his patients. “When the CBD binds to the CB1 receptor, it decreases excessive gastric acid, helps the lower esophagus prevent reflux, and increases blood flow to the lining of the stomach to help it heal quicker.”
Then there’s the issue of the carrier, as experts call it. “CBD oil is used with many carriers, including olive oil, coconut/MCT oil, grapeseed oil, emu oil, or hempseed oil,” explained Dr. Michele Ross, PhD, CEO of Infused Health and a leading cannabinoid medicine researcher. “If you are experiencing gastrointestinal distress symptoms or an upset stomach, you may have a sensitivity, especially to coconut/MCT oil, which is the most common carrier I’ve seen. Many people can experience abdominal cramping and stomach pain, especially when consuming large quantities.”