CBD & Diarrhea | Everything you need to know about

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CBD & Diarrhea | Everything you need to know about

Feeling uneasy? Getting the urge to go to the bathroom frequently? And after going to the bathroom every-time, if you pass loose or water like stool and feel dehydrated each time then it is the first sign that you are suffering from diarrhea. In most cases it gets resolved itself by the body’s immune system without any intervention but in few cases if not taken care of, it can lead to serious health issues.

Diarrhea is caused by many factors and can occur for 3-5 days depending from person to person’s infection severity. Main symptoms of diarrhea include frequent bowel movements, abdominal cramps, bloating and sometimes nausea.

Death around the world caused by diarrhea itself is estimated around 1.8 million per year. Due to the fall in death rate over the last few years, diarrhea is still the third leading cause of death in children between 1-5 years of age in India.

How Diarrhea Occur?

Different causes are responsible for diarrhea mainly involving gastroenteritis or infection of bowel and is common among children and adults. Occurrence of diarrhea depends on its types and generally diarrhea is of three types: –

Acute diarrhea is caused by a number of organisms such as by bacteria, for example Salmonella, by viral infection, for example Norovirus, or by parasites such as Giardia, and these organisms normally affect and cause infection of the bowels. It causes watery loose bowels for 2-3 days. Acute diarrhea goes away by itself and doesn’t need any special treatment.

Traveller’s diarrhea refers to diarrhea acquired during travelling, occurring through contaminated food or water. It will resolve by itself and persist for a couple of days.

Chronic diarrhea persists for four or more weeks and can also return after previous infection and that’s why it is called chronic diarrhea. Common causes of chronic diarrhea include chronic bowel infection, lactose intolerance, bowel cancer, can cause Crohn’s disease and colitis, irritated bowel and gluten intolerance. Chronic diarrhea can also return again even after taking strong antibiotics, so always seek doctor’s advice when you feel uneasy.

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How Diarrhea is caused?

Different factors are involved in case of diarrhea which are as follows: –

Side effects of medications: If you are on medicines such as antibiotics like cancer related drugs or other heavy drugs, it can be one of the causes for emergence of diarrhea. And once you feel it is because of your medicines so talk to your physician to advise you better. Physicians may stop or alter the dose and move to another medicine.

Contaminated food and water: In some cases, diarrhea is caused by contaminated food and water such as dairy products, seafood, eggs, water, etc. and ingestion of contaminated food water causes chronic type of diarrhea. Celiac is a type of disease caused by gluten allergy and leading to chronic diarrhea.

Disorders in digestive system: Digestive disorder can lead to irritable bowel movement known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causing diseases like Crohn’s disease and colitis. There can also be growth of bacteria in the small intestine which can cause diarrheal infection.

Microorganisms: Diarrhea can be caused by bacteria (Salmonella), parasite (Giardia) or can be caused by viral infection (Norovirus or Rotavirus).

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How Diarrhea is Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of diarrhea involves check-up of health medical history, doctor will examine the medications you take if any, and may order to have some additional test to examine the cause of diarrhea. Different test for diarrhea includes:

Stool test: Your physician may ask you to have a stool test to detect the presence or absence of bacterium or other parasite just to make sure the cause of diarrhea.

Blood test: Blood test is the primary test that your doctor will ask you to have in order to know the cause of diarrhea. It is used to check the inflammation which may cause inflammatory bowel diseases and if diarrhea condition is not clear, the patient is required to have more test like:

Colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy: Sigmoidoscopes are flexible and thin tube-like instruments having light and camera on one end, which is inserted into rectum area up into the colon. The instrument also has a tool with the help of which doctor can take small tissue sample in order to know the cause from biopsy method which is taken from colon.

Colonoscopy also has the same procedure but it uses a large size tube which is known as colonoscopy which is specialised for examining the large intestine known as colon.

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Treatment for Diarrhea

Mostly diarrhea can be recovered by the immune system itself within a span of few days without the use of medicines or other treatment. But in severe cases consultation with a doctor is a must which involves the use of various medicines for treatment.

There are a number of treatments by which patients can recover from diarrhea.

  1. Rehydration

Rehydration is a must treatment for any type of diarrhea whether it is mild or chronic. Dehydration is a common symptom of diarrhea especially in the case of children and older people. This treatment involves drinking more fluids and in severe cases intravenous fluids is also given.

Rehydration method involves ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution or Salts) fluid which contains glucose and salts. ORS gets absorbed by the small intestine and replaces the electrolytes and water which are passed out in stool and helps to maintain the water and other electrolyte balance in the body and prevents dehydration.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 90% of diarrhea cases which are non-severe can be treated by using ORS only. And in case of children, diarrhea can be treated by supplements having zinc components.

  1. Medication

Variety of antidiarrheal medications are available in the market such as Pepto-Bismol and Imodium. Imodium helps to reduce passage of stool time and is easily available in the market as well as online. Pepto-Bismol helps to reduce the amount or output of stool and can also be used in case of traveller’s diarrhea.

There is a little side effect with antidiarrheal medicines that can remove the essential bacteria required inside the body and can lead to bacterial infection because of removal of pathogens in stools.

  1. Diet

Diet also plays an important role in treatment of diarrhea. Various combinations of food and fluids can help to recover from diarrhea such as drinking more of clear and clean water, fresh juices with no added sugar and electrolyte drinks.

Eating food rich in potassium such as bananas, potatoes and diluted fruit juices. Sodium rich foods like sprouts, soups, salted crackers, broths and sports drinks. High fibre foods such as oatmeal, bananas and rice help in stool thickening. Do not eat food items like dairy, sugary and creamy food, as they can increase the severity of diarrhea.

Lactose in dairy food, magnesium, sweet cherries, prunes, artificial sweeteners, fructose and caffeinated items can make diarrhea even worse.

  1. Probiotics

Role of probiotics in the case of diarrhea is still under research and mixed kind of evidence is there explaining the role of probiotics. They are effective in case of travelers’ diarrhea and help to reduce diarrheal illness. Much research on antibiotic related diarrhea is achieved by studying the role of probiotics based on Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Probiotics are available in various forms like tablets, powder, capsules and liquids and are easily available.

In Lancet research, no evidence was found when prepared bacterial multi-strain which was not effective in order to prevent antibiotic related diarrhea or Clostridium difficile.

  1. Antibiotics

First thing in severe cases of diarrhea which a physician prescribes is the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are widely and easily available in the market as well as online. Also, antibiotics are the treatment which can be used to treat diarrhea that is caused by bacterial infection. Always consult a doctor before taking any medicine or switching to other medications otherwise it will only increase diarrheal severity.

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Current Research on Diarrhea and CBD

CBD is gaining a lot of attention among people and the medical field as a source to treat a variety of diseases including diarrhea. Let’s review research on diarrhea and CBD: –

  1. In a research of Mayo Clinic 2019, reports that CBD proves to be effective but have some side effects- and amongst them is diarrhea. Still more research is going on to find the link between CBD oil and diarrhea and this research is still emerging.
  2. In a literature review of 2016 published in Gastroenterology and Hepatology Journal, showed that diarrheal symptoms that is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can be therapeutically treated with CBD and other cannabis products which helps to alleviate diarrhea.
  3. There is some research showing CBD causing diarrhea as a side effect. A 2019 report in Current Neuropharmacology Journal, showed the effects of CBD on Epidiolex drug derived from CBD used in case of epilepsy. Diarrhea is the common side effect caused in patients with epilepsy and psychiatric disorders.
  4. In CNS Drugs Journal of 2018, CBD trials were found to have high levels of tolerance with low side effects.
  5. In some studies, it is shown that cannabinoids in marijuana usually binds to receptors of cannabinoids in digestive system tract, and helps in reduction in inflammation, relaxation in muscles, anti-emesis, helps in nerve-muscle coordination and relief of spasms which normally causes diarrhea.
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Introduction to CBD

CBD also known as Cannabidiol, is a chemical which is present inside a plant namely Cannabis sativa also known as hemp or marijuana and belongs to the class of Cannabinoids. Because of its medicinal and therapeutic properties, the demand for CBD is increasing every day. CBD occurs naturally and is used in the form of powder or oil, and helps in obtaining relaxation and relief.

Cannabidiol or CBD, is one out of the 110 cannabinoids that is found in marijuana. Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabis are the major components present in cannabis plants. When you feel high after taking cannabinoid then it is the tetrahydrocannabinol which is responsible whereas CBD is non psychoactive drug. Many scientific researches also prove that it is capable of reducing the tetrahydrocannabinol psychoactive effects.

A large amount of myths and misconceptions regarding CBD is roaming around. Is it safe to have CBD? Are there any side effects? Is CBD legal to take? How are CBD and diarrhea interlinked? In order to understand these questions let’s dig deep into them.

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How CBD Affect Diarrhea?

Apart from benefit of not having psychoactive effects, CBD oil has few side effects and diarrhea is one of them, too much of CBD oil can lead diarrhea but this is odd since CBD oil in some researches has proved to treat gastrointestinal problems successfully such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

But exceptions do exist, some people can face serious problems like diarrhea while using CBD oil as a side effect. Some researchers have proved that diarrhea as a side effect is not because of CBD but because of some other ingredient present in CBD or problems that can be related to flaws during manufacturing process.

CBD binding to the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system reduces the release of gastric acid and improves the blood flow to the stomach for healing and CBD can be used to cure the digestive system. But facing any problem while using CBD? Then you should check the list of ingredients of CBD to know the cause. Another cause can be related to its manufacturing process. If CBD is grown in a poor soil quality area, it reduces the quality of CBD which in turn can result in release of harmful chemicals during the extraction process.

Another problem can be related to carrier oil used along with CBD oil. CBD oil is used along with a variety of oils like hemp seed oil, grapeseed oil, emu oil, olive oil or MCT oil. If diarrhea occurs after having CBD with carrier oil then surely check the ingredients in carrier oil as well.

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Can CBD be used for Diarrhea?

With the increasing population the demand for CBD is skyrocketing nowadays. Certainly CBD has many therapeutic benefits that you can add in your diet but it also leads to some side effects and scientifically proven that diarrhea is one of them.

According to various researches, humans can preferably tolerate CBD oil to a great extent, but as we know everyone is not the same, so CBD tolerance levels are also different. After taking CBD if you are suffering from diarrhea then first check the amount of CBD dosage that you are taking because having high concentration can be the first reason to cause diarrhea.

Excessive use of CBD oil can give you diarrhea but it does not mean you cannot have. The right amount of CBD cannot give diarrhea because exceeding its limit is the reason for your diarrhea. So always consult your doctor to know the right amount of CBD oil to take.

Carrier oil can be another reason for diarrheal side effects. CBD oil is generally taken in combination with carrier oil like hemp seed, olive, emu oil or MCT oil. So check the ingredient list of CBD as well as of carrier oil which can be the cause.

Can CBD be used for diarrhea? No, because CBD causes diarrhea as a side effect when consumed in high amounts exceeding its limit.

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Apart from its numerous benefits, there is no definitive clinical evidence which recommends people to take CBD as supplements in their diet. But from many clinical trials severe side effects of CBD have not been recorded. Although CBD can have certain side effects like tiredness, gastrointestinal problems, low level of appetite and altered liver enzymes.

CBD is obtained from hemp plants which can also contain traces of tetrahydro cannabinoids (THC) and if it is present in high amounts you can suffer from hunger, mood swings, dry mouth and mood swings.

Contaminated CBD or if taken in high doses can also cause diarrhea. The severity of diarrhea depends on the amount of CBD taken.

CBD is only FDA approved product for Epidiolex used for epilepsy, during research of CBD in epidiolex certain side effects and risks were found such as drowsiness, decreasing appetite, causing diarrhea, liver injury and changing alertness.

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Benefits of using CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is popular among consumers who are seeking to find an alternative for various diseases in their ailments and conditions. Researchers are studying to find more evidence in using CBD for different diseases and ailments but these researches are limited. Currently the FDA has approved only one product having CBD and states that it is illegal to sell CBD as supplements.

But a good amount of research has been done in finding various benefits of CBD such as: –

  1. CBD reduces epileptic seizures: In 2018, FDA approved epidiolex which is used in treating two rare forms of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in children. It reduces the seizure’s time of occurrence as well as effects.
  2. CBD helps in providing relief in case of chronic pain. Medicinal properties of cannabis lead to its wide use especially in chronic pain. A 2018 review article showed 47 studies with 4743 people for using cannabis and cannabinoids in chronic pain except cancer pain. It also reduces pain effectively when compared with placebo.
  3. CBD helps in reducing anxiety and many researches have found that people nowadays take CBD commonly to reduce their anxiety issues. These may be due to low levels of THC and high doses of THC leads to anxiety attacks.
  4. CBD can also provide relief and ease in case of chemotherapy side effects. Side effects from chemotherapy include vomiting, nausea and uneasy feeling. And these side effects are often treated with medicine known as antiemetic. In one study it was proven that when THC and CBD combined together provides better protection against chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting instead of using antiemetic treatment.
  5. CBD can be used in case of PTSD treatment, as studies show that CBD can reduce symptoms related to post traumatic stress syndrome. And in a recent study it was shown that CBD can reduce insomnia and having nightmares.
  6. CBD is most widely and commonly used in case of depression. CBD is best when it comes to mental stability and relief. In a review article of 2018, shows the antidepressant activity of CBD in animal models. It was proved that CBD exhibits the anti-stress and antidepressant effect.
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Dosage of CBD Dosage

It is always advised to have a recommendation from your doctor before taking CBD oil. In many researches it is proved that taking CBD oil in high amounts can often cause diarrhea as a side effect.

In a research article of 2019 namely Everyday Health, researcher Brooke Bogdan shows that using CBD provided her with relief from chronic pain from ulcerative colitis. CBD should not be taken with other edibles and also shows diarrhea as a side effect when consumed in high amounts.

The dosages of CBD in research studies differs and there is no proof how much one should take for specific conditions. Research shows that intake of CBD may have different effects from person to person so the right amount of CBD should always be consulted with a doctor.

In many research articles it is said that taking CBD 600 mg per day is proved to be safe clinically, but in a research article of Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent of 2011, showed that 1500 mg a day of CBD are safe to use.

Therefore, research is still going on in this field and experts do not recommend CBD oil for long term use. For this reason, consult with a doctor for CBD use.

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PROS AND CONS

Pros
  • CBD proved to benefit in case of inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • CBD is useful in treating inflammation and pain in case of IBS
  • Biological properties of CBD have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • CBD can be used to get relief from bloating and cramping.

Cons
  • CBD in higher doses can cause diarrhea from mild to chronic type. 
  • Regular use can cause side effects like dry mouth, drowsiness and fatigue.
  • Higher amounts can also cause nausea and vomiting. 
  • Low research in the field of CBD for diarrhea.

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