One of the reasons that medical cannabis and marijuana had such a tough time getting openly accepted in the mainstream was the fact that it seemed to produce contradictory effects in different test subjects. Perhaps nothing serves better to underline this than its role in inducing both diarrhea and constipation.
To answer the question, it is unclear whether or not cannabis can give you diarrhea.
While many users have reported the phenomenon, it is exceedingly rare, and it’s difficult to find any hard data on the subject because of all the variables that have to be accounted for, such as the potency of the cannabis strain, the method of use, the reaction of cannabis compounds with other chemicals, the genetic makeup of the uses, as well as the rigor in which studies are conducted.
As far as studies go, there is not much to go on. Evidence suggests cannabis compounds can slow down the digestive tract, which can lead to constipation – which is not exactly something you would associate with diarrhea. The phenomenon is yet to be fully explored and it’s possible that researchers may soon come up with an answer.
While more study is needed in order to conclusively know whether cannabis does induce diarrhea in some patients, there are a few likely causes.
Cannabis contains around 400 different chemical compounds and it’s possible that some of the compounds, not necessarily the ones responsible for the psychoactive effects, may be triggering diarrhea in a certain set of people.
Perhaps the most suspected chemical is cannabidiol (CBD). Some researchers consider it a possible cause of diarrhea, though this has not been conclusively proven.
Another possibility is that cannabis users may be more likely to eat foods that are causing diarrhea, and sufferers may conflate one cause for another. A related possibility is that cannabis users may crave certain foods that their system may not be able to handle in quantity, also leading to diarrhea.
One hypothesis ties the ongoing trend in edibles and the overuse of oils needed to make them. As oils can cause diarrhea, it’s possible that a few cannabis users may be reporting that it was cannabis that caused their symptoms when in fact, it was the oil in their edibles that caused it.
Symptoms of Diarrhea from Medical Cannabis
Symptoms of diarrhea supposedly from medical cannabis are virtually indistinguishable from diarrhea symptoms from other causes.
- Wet stool
- Loose stool
- Urgent bowel movements
- Abdominal cramps
- Abdominal pain
- Bloating/water retention
Managing Cannabis-induced Diarrhea
Managing diarrhea from any cause is critical, as it can prevent you from living a full life and also lead to dehydration and other serious medical conditions such as rectal fissures.
As there are no conclusive studies on the specific causes of cannabis-induced diarrhea, it’s difficult to make any recommendations. In most cases, your physician may ask you to do the following:
- Reduce your dosage
- Change your consumption methods
- Change your diet
- Switch to a different strain of medical cannabis
- Track your diet, symptoms, and consumption
If you have any experience with cannabis-induced diarrhea or any tips to share on the topic, please feel free to let us know in the comments section below.