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Can Cannabis Relieve Constipation?

One of many therapeutic applications of cannabis is relief from constipation. Stomach pain and bowel problems can often be eased with marijuana. Here’s a look at what causes constipation and how cannabis can be of assistance.

Constipation can be difficult to talk about. Furthermore, it can be difficult to treat as it’s not so much of a condition in itself, but a symptom of other conditions.

Stress, irritable bowel syndrome, and even neurological conditions can aggravate your digestive system. It could also be menstruation or a fibre deficiency in your diet causing constipation.

Constipation doesn’t just make bathroom visits difficult, it can make them less frequent than twice a week. If you find you have to strain during bowel movements more than 25% of the time, or if they require more than one visit, it’s time to consider treatment for constipation.

RELIEVING CONSTIPATION

Dietary changes will have to be made to ensure you’re well-hydrated and full of fibre throughout the day. Consult your doctor on what condition or possible food allergy could be driving your constipation.

As you cope with the symptoms, your doctor may or may not recommend medical marijuana. This is used in the case of more severe bowel conditions like Crohn’s disease, where your stool is pretty much entirely liquid. With constipation, you may find your stool alternating between particularly hard and particularly loose.

Your bowels are seizing up from a backlog and need to be relaxed. This is one issue where marijuana can indeed be helpful.

THE IMPACT OF MARIJUANA IN CONSTIPATION

Marijuana can act as a laxative while relieving symptoms of pain and discomfort. Often, a hit of THC will relax the digestive system. When THC and other cannabinoids are ingested, they reach the brain through the bloodstream and impact the neurological system.

Ongoing research finds that cannabis sort-of turbocharges different neurons and the flow of neural pathways. Acting upon the entire nervous system, cannabinoids can ease nerve connections while relaxing the mind and muscles. They are even antiemetic to the point of stimulating appetite again. CBD, even as an isolated oil, could be a viable treatment with its anti-anxiety properties.

Once muscles and nerves associated with your bowels relax, it is easier for material to pass through. Along with marijuana’s antioxidant properties, this could be a relaxing way to clear out your system and restore digestive harmony.

SMOKED BUDS OR HEMP SEEDS?

There are specific strains you can smoke or vape that have become associated with treating constipation (such as Haze Berry or Shining Silver Haze).

There is also something about hemp fibre itself which seems to display strong antiemetic properties. Knowledge of cannabis as a medicine dates back thousands of years to the earliest available writings in China. Hemp seeds themselves were prescribed for the treatment of constipation and other ailments. The efficacy of cannabis to relieve constipation has recently been established by a study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology [1] .

Cannabis has also been featured as an integral part of numerous other Asian medicine systems, such as India’s Ayurvedic medicine. From Asia, it spread around the world. For much of history, it was regarded as a potent herbal medicine. If you can access some safely, perhaps cannabis is the medicine for you.

Cannabis has long been used as an herbal medicine, both in seed and flower form. Studies show medical marijuana can relieve symptoms of constipation.

Relationship Between Recreational Marijuana Use and Bowel Function in a Nationwide Cohort Study

Affiliations

  • 1 Department of Medicine, North Shore Medical Center, Salem, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 2 Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 3 Division of Gastroenterology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 4 Center for Neurointestinal Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 5 Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • PMID: 31764090
  • DOI: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000000441

Relationship Between Recreational Marijuana Use and Bowel Function in a Nationwide Cohort Study

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Authors

Affiliations

  • 1 Department of Medicine, North Shore Medical Center, Salem, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 2 Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 3 Division of Gastroenterology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 4 Center for Neurointestinal Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 5 Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • PMID: 31764090
  • DOI: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000000441

Abstract

Objectives: Although the endogenous cannabinoid system modulates bowel function, our understanding of the impact of recreational marijuana (MJ) use on bowel motility is limited. This study examines the effect of MJ on self-reported bowel function among a large cohort of US adults.

Methods: We identified adults (age: 20-59 years) who completed both the drug use and bowel health questionnaires in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey over a 6-year period from 2005 to 2010 (n = 9,645). Constipation and diarrhea were defined according to stool form (Bristol Stool Form Scale) and/or frequency criteria. Adjusted odds ratios (AORs) for likelihood of constipation or diarrhea were estimated in a multinomial logistic model according to MJ use status.

Results: Overall, constipation prevalence was lower among those with recent MJ use compared with those with past/never use (7.5% vs 10.2%, P = 0.03). Recent MJ use was associated with a 30% decreased odds of constipation (crude odds ratio: 0.71 [0.56-0.98], P = 0.005), which persisted after stepwise adjustment for age and other demographic factors including sex, ethnicity, education, body mass index, and socioeconomic status (AOR: 0.64 [0.49-0.83], P = 0.001); comorbidities, substance use (alcohol, tobacco, heroin, and cocaine), constipating medications, general health condition, rigorous physical activity, and emotional disturbances (AOR: 0.68 [0.48-0.93], P = 0.016); and diet (AOR: 0.68 [0.52-0.89], P = 0.006). There was no association between recent MJ use and diarrhea.

Discussion: In a nationally representative sample of community-dwelling US adults, recent MJ use was associated with decreased odds of constipation, counter to the known physiologic effects of cannabinoids on colonic motility.

In a nationally representative sample of community-dwelling US adults, recent MJ use was associated with decreased odds of constipation, counter to the known physiologic effects of cannabinoids on colonic motility.