Roughly 14% of the US population suffers from constipation. It's not only uncomfortable and annoying but can also lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
For example, it can cause a tear in your gut lining, which can be fatal. It can also cause:
- Anal fissures
- Rectal prolapse
- Pelvic floor damage in women
Now, there are a variety of laxatives and other medications available to help relieve constipation. But they come with side effects, and many people are looking for a more natural solution.
This is where CBD comes in. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis plants. Unlike THC, CBD does not make you high and is, therefore, legal in most places. It has a variety of health benefits, including the ability to relieve pain, anxiety, and inflammation.
Unfortunately, there are no direct studies that investigate whether CBD can treat constipation. Nonetheless, we know that the endocannabinoid system is closely related to gut health.
Read ahead to learn:
- How we define constipation
- Whether CBD can help relieve it
- When constipation becomes an emergency
How is constipation defined?
There isn't a clear-cut answer to this. That's because constipation can mean different things to different people. For example, some people may consider themselves constipated if they have less than a certain number of bowel movements per week.
Others may only consider themselves constipated if they're having difficulty passing stools.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) defines constipation as having fewer than three bowel movements in a week.
They also add that you may be constipated if you have the following:
- Hard stools
- Difficulty passing stools
- A feeling of incomplete evacuation after having a bowel movement
Doctors use the Bristol Stool Chart to classify constipation:
If your stool looks like type 1 or 2, you may have constipation.
Now, it's important to differentiate between primary (or functional) and secondary constipation.
Primary constipation is the most common type. It’s not caused by an underlying health condition and improves with lifestyle changes. These include increasing your fiber intake, drinking more water, and exercising regularly.
Secondary constipation, on the other hand, is caused by an underlying health condition. This can include an endocrine disorder, a neurological disorder, or cancer.
Although CBD may help with functional constipation, it won't relieve secondary constipation. This is especially true if your constipation is caused by a mechanical obstruction.
You can watch this video to learn more about the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of constipation:
Can CBD oil help with constipation?
As we mentioned, there are no direct studies that look at whether CBD oil can help with constipation. Plus, CBD is known to reduce gut motility, which may make constipation worse.
However, there are some ways that CBD can help with constipation instead of worsening it.
For example, we know that CBD can reduce gut inflammation. It does this by activating CB2 receptors found on gut immune cells. Activation of these receptors reduces the production of cytokines. These are chemicals that cause inflammation.
So by keeping the gut free of inflammation, CBD may promote a healthy environment for the growth of gut bacteria. This, in turn, may help prevent constipation.
Another way CBD may help with constipation is by activating the GPR55 receptor. This is another cannabinoid receptor located in the gut. And when it's not activated, it reduces gut contractions, which may worsen constipation.
By binding and activating the GPR55 receptor, CBD may improve gut motility and relieve constipation.
Still, we need more research to say for sure whether CBD oil is effective for constipation. But since CBD can be a natural way to treat constipation, there’s no harm in trying it out.
We recommend trying out Imaginal Everyday Softgels for constipation. That’s because they are easy to swallow and have a high bioavailability. High bioavailability means more CBD will be absorbed in your blood, leading to stronger effects.
Can CBD make IBS worse?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gut disorder. It is characterized by abdominal pain and cramping, as well as diarrhea and constipation.
If you have the diarrhea-predominant subtype, CBD may improve your condition. In a 2011 clinical trial by Mayo Clinic, a drug called dronabinol reduced diarrhea and pain in all participants. Just like CBD, dronabinol also acts at the cannabinoid receptors.
On the other hand, using CBD may not be a good idea if you have constipation-predominant IBS.
How do I get unconstipated fast?
In addition to trying out a CBD supplement, there are a few other things you can do to get unconstipated fast.
First, make sure you're drinking plenty of fluids. Water is always a good choice, but you can also try other beverages like herbal tea or freshly squeezed juice. Just avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol, as these can dehydrate you.
Next, focus on eating high-fiber foods. This includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Fiber helps add bulk to your stool and makes it easier to pass.
Finally, make sure you're getting enough exercise. Exercise helps stimulate the muscles in your intestine, which can relieve constipation.
If these lifestyle changes don't help, you may need to try a laxative. There are many different types of laxatives available over the counter. Be sure to talk to your doctor before trying any laxative, as some can have side effects.
When is constipation an emergency?
In some cases, constipation can be a sign of a serious health condition. This is especially true if you have sudden onset constipation, severe abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or weight loss.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor right away. These could be signs of a bowel obstruction, which is a serious condition that requires immediate medical treatment.
There's no direct evidence that CBD oil can help with constipation. However, there are some ways that it may be able to help indirectly. For example, CBD can reduce gut inflammation and improve gut motility.
If you're looking for a natural way to relieve constipation, you may want to try a CBD supplement.
But at the same time, it's important to make sure you're drinking plenty of fluids and eating a high-fiber diet. You should also talk to your doctor if your constipation is severe or doesn't improve with lifestyle changes.
Can CBD Help Relieve Constipation? Natural Solutions and Considerations
Discover whether CBD can relieve constipation and its potential effects on gut health. Learn about natural remedies and considerations for trying CBD.
Learn how constipation is defined, explore the potential of CBD in providing relief, and discover when constipation should be considered an emergency.