This outcome is more common with edibles because they have to pass through the digestive tract. Edibles, in particular, tend to cause constipation more… 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.
Can Cannabis Edibles and Tinctures Cause Constipation?
Does marijuana lead to constipation in some people?
If you’ve been experiencing constipation after consuming cannabis, particularly edibles or tinctures, you’re not alone – and there’s a way around it.
While cannabis can actually relieve constipation in many people, the opposite is true for others. But that’s the beauty in the complexity of this plant: different strains can have different effects on people, and even the same strain can result in a different outcome when taken in various doses or administration methods.
Why Does Cannabis Cause Constipation?
Constipation is one of the mild and uncomfortable, yet treatable, side effects of cannabis. No one enjoys the feeling of being constipated! Some symptoms of cannabis-induced constipation include hard stools, bowel movements less than three times a week, abdominal pain, difficulty passing stools, or the feeling that your rectum is obstructed.
This outcome is more common with edibles because they have to pass through the digestive tract. Edibles, in particular, tend to cause constipation more because they contain more ingredients and interact with cannabis in your stomach. In fact, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) content in cannabis is actually known to relax your digestive system. In doing so, it helps things move along quicker and more efficiently. So when you’re smoking or taking pure cannabis with THC and CBD, it can even act as a laxative. This is the reason why cannabis is used for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition characterized by issues with bowel movement including constipation.
If you’ve eaten edibles and experienced constipation, you should read up on the ingredients in the product before eating it. It’s highly likely that other ingredients may actually be causing things to get “backed up” more than normal. Keep in mind that cannabis edibles, capsules, and tinctures require an oil or some form of fat to carry THC. This can mess up some peoples’ stomachs.
Edibles also take the longest of all forms of administration to take effect. Sometimes, its effects can be felt immediately, while other times it may take as long as half an hour. When the THC reaches your liver after eating an edible, it’s being converted into its psychoactive form. This is part of what takes so long, weed delivery in Palm Springs is even faster. Other factors include what and how much you’ve eaten that day, and your overall tolerance for cannabis edibles.
We also know that pretty much ANY food item can be infused with cannabis. But are you eating constipation-inducing food, mixing them with cannabis oils, or eating them with cannabis in your system (you might be getting the munchies)? That could be the culprit. Here’s a list of the most common constipating foods:
Frozen dinners and processed food
Mixing Cannabis With Vitamins And Supplements
You should also reexamine the medications and supplements that you are taking. Remember, cannabis can’t mix with all kinds of medicines out there even if it’s completely natural. Interactions and side effects are inevitable, including constipation. Supplements and vitamins that tend to cause constipation include calcium, iron, and vitamin D.
Before you quit vitamins and supplements, it’s always best to consult your doctor. This is especially important if you need any for your overall health and wellbeing, or if you’re vitamin deficient. We’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to the side effects of mixing cannabis and other drugs, and the only true safe way to do so is with the guidance of a doctor. Talk to a doctor that’s knowledgeable in cannabis to help you navigate this sticky medical situation.
Managing And Avoiding Cannabis Induced Constipation
If you’re one of the few people experiencing constipation due to cannabis, treating it is simple: STOP what you’re doing. Instead, check out the tried and tested ways to manage and even avoid it altogether. For one, change up your administration method. As mentioned earlier, edibles, tinctures, and capsules are the most common culprits for constipation. If these are your typical consumption methods, opt to vape or smoke instead.
Make sure to stay hydrated and drink lots of water whenever you’re ingesting cannabis, particularly edibles. Cannabis has been known to give people “cotton mouth”. This may make you feel like you’re dehydrated, one of the most common causes of constipation.
Keep a journal and detail your consumption habits. Experiment with various strains and products, stop consuming edibles with constipating ingredients, and take note how things change in your body.
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.