Cannabidiol (CBD), is one of more than 110 cannabinoids found in marijuana and is also available in large quantities in industrial hemp. It is non-intoxicating, which means it can be used by children, and has been linked with the alleviation of symptoms of medical conditions ranging from headaches to anxiety.
Aside from not causing a psychoactive high, CBD has minimal side effects, BUT there is still a possibility of getting diarrhea from using too much CBD oil. This seems a little odd since CBD has been used to successfully treat the symptoms of gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)!
Why Am I Getting Diarrhea from CBD Oil in the First Place?
Although it doesn’t happen particularly often, some users of CBD oil report feeling sick to their stomach soon after using it, apart from an upset stomach, you may also take several trips to the bathroom as diarrhea takes hold. Does this mean you are one of the unlucky few who doesn’t react well to cannabidiol?
The likely answer is ‘no.’ In reality, it is more likely to be the other ingredients in the CBD oil that are causing your gastrointestinal distress. It could also be a simple case of flaws during the manufacturing process.
In actual fact, CBD is far more likely to help with stomach issues than it is to cause them. When the cannabinoid binds to the CB1 receptor in your endocannabinoid system (ECS), it reduces excessive gastric acid, increases blood flow to your stomach lining to speed up the healing process, and aids the lower esophagus in preventing reflux. CBD may also help heal the digestive tract.
If you are having GI problems with CBD, your first step should be to analyze the full list of ingredients. As is the case with all health supplements, it is the quality and source of ingredients that make the difference. With CBD oil, the quality is significantly reduced if the hemp or marijuana is grown in poor soil, if the product comes from several sources, or if harmful chemicals are involved in the extraction process.
Perhaps the biggest issue is the ‘carrier’ oil used in conjunction with the CBD. CBD oil is used with numerous carriers including MCT oil, emu oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil, or grapeseed oil. These carriers are supposed to improve the bioavailability of the cannabidiol.
Beware MCT Oil!
Coconut/MCT oil is by far the most common carrier and is the most likely culprit for stomach pain and abdominal cramping. This is especially the case when using large quantities. You may have heard of the ketogenic diet, which helps your body use fat as its main energy source.
One of the biggest fads of the modern era is the ‘supercharged’ or ‘bulletproof’ coffee drink. This drink consists of brewed coffee, MCT oil, and grass-fed unsalted butter. It is for those following a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. Proponents claim that they benefit from mental alertness, improved brain function, and more energy after consuming the drink, but you tend to get that feeling when drinking coffee anyway; at least in the short-term.
In any case, there are many reports of bulletproof coffee drinkers being forced to rush to the bathroom, and MCT oil could be the chief cause. Oils such as castor oil have long been used as a laxative, so there is every chance that the oil in your CBD tincture is the cause of your diarrhea.
MCT oil contains isolated fatty acids such as caprylic acid that are digested rapidly and can bother your stomach lining when consumed in high doses. This irritation then provides your digestive system with a signal to get busy! MCT oil also contains unusual triglycerides that are metabolized without liver transport.
When you eat a coconut, you benefit from several macronutrients which require enzymes to cut apart hydrogen bonds to simplify them for your metabolism. When you consume MCT oil, the eight and ten chain fatty acids instantly undergo beta-oxidation which means the cells will break them down for energy without the aid of the liver. If you consume a lot of MCT oil, it irritates the stomach lining and causes diarrhea.
How to Avoid Disaster Pants When Using CBD Oil
It is usually funny to hear about a person’s travails with diarrhea, at least until you become the victim! If possible, try and learn more about the MCT oil a firm puts into their CBD tinctures; email or call them if necessary. You need an MCT oil rich in C8 fatty acids because they cause less gut irritation than the others.
Make sure the MCT oil does not come from the cosmetics industry. Believe it or not, MCT oil designed for cosmetics somehow makes its way into food. The cosmetics industry prefers C12 (lauric acid) which is not designed for internal consumption. As a result, the industry uses harsh chemicals to extract the oils. Chemicals like hexane cause significant irritation to the stomach lining.
It is also not wise to consume the CBD oil on an empty stomach which is often the case when consumed in the morning. Ideally, eat some protein with your CBD to reduce the ‘bolus’ effect; this is a term used to describe the practice of consuming a high quantity of a compound orally.
Another obvious option is to reduce your dose to half of what you are on at present. If this isn’t a realistic scenario because you need high doses of CBD each day, consider using an oil that doesn’t have an MCT oil as a carrier. You may find that it reduces stomach irritation. Alternatively, look into edibles, capsules or balms to see if they can be consumed without ill-effect.
If you take CBD oil and have diarrhea, make sure you stop taking it until the symptoms are gone. Use this time to investigate whether it is another issue such as stress or your diet that is causing the problem. When you feel better, try taking the CBD oil at half the previous dose. If you get diarrhea again, you need to switch to an oil with a different carrier, or a new form of administration.