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CBD Oil and Diarrhea – Will It Give You The Runs?

Will CBD oil cause diarrhea? Will it make you poop? 

For those who have felt sick or experienced an uneasy feeling in their stomach after taking CBD, the reason might be more complicated than a simple yes or no answer--and you will see why.

It's a great natural health choice that is considered a 'miracle' product by some due to its ability to help with so many problems/conditions--but causing diarrhea would be a serious downside.

No one wants diarrhea but we all get it at some point. 

  • Frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Loose and watery stools
  • Abdominal pain and bloating

... these are all common symptoms that we all know too well, but would rather not.

Will CBD cause such?

In this short article we'll be going over the strange way that it can cause diarrhea--and can help! But first, what exactly is this stuff to begin with?

What Exactly Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is one of the most popular health supplements on the market right now, but what the heck is this stuff in the first place?... and will it get you high?

CBD oil is short for Cannabidiol and is a cannabinoid, or a compound of the cannabis plant. That's right, it comes from cannabis, but no... it will not get you high.


CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant without the extraction of THC, which is the stuff responsible for marijuana's psychoactive affects.

Among the many benefits that CBD oil has, some of the most common are it's ability to promote relaxation, sleep and pain relief--which many more benefits branch off from.

CBD oil is such a versitile substance that it has been shown to help from everything from heart disease, to IBS, to epilepsy, psychotic disorders, depression and more.

It Has Been Shown to Both Help & Cause Diarrhea

If you spent any amount of time Googling the relationship of CBD oil and diarrhea, you likely came across some articles about how it causes such. 

This is nothing new. Even before CBD oil came on the market in it's extracted form, medical marijuana was known to cause diarrhea for some people--and the cannabinoid CBD was labeled one of the potential culprits.

That said, the strange thing is that it has also been shown to help with diarrhea.

CBD Oil Is Good for Gastrointestinal Issues

IBS or Irritable Bowl Syndrome affects about 10%-15% of the population and is a condition where the large intestine becomes irritated very easily, leading to abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, etc. Foods & beverages like coffee, alcohol, high amounts of fiber and fructose are known to trigger symptoms along with many others--and even those without IBS can get diarrhea from too much of such.

Anti-inflammatory & Pain Reduction

One of the ways CBD can help is with it's anti-inflammatory effects, which should help sooth and lessen pain/discomfort. According to Harvard Health CBD can inhibit both inflammatory and neuropathic pain, both of which can come from IBS.

2008 study from European Review for Medical and Pharmocological Sciences explains how CBD can decrease the intestinal motility induced by inflammation--thus providing treatment for disorders of gastrointestinal motility, such as diarrhea. This likely comes from it's ability to reduce inflammation in the intestines through the control of neuroimmune axix, as described in a 2011 study published in PLoS One.


Additionally, stress and anxiety can actually trigger flareups in people who suffer from IBS as well as diarrhea in those who are perfectly healthy. 

Being stressed out can lead to an upset stomach and intestinal cramping, which can lead to diarrhea. Stress actually causes the release of stress hormones which slow movement in the small intestine but increase movement in the large intestine--meaning diarrhea is a potential outcome.

This is another area where CBD can help, due to it's ability to help balance the nervous system, calm the body and so on.

CBD has ability to help people with IBS and other gastrointestinal distress diseases as well as those who are healthy. It's calming and anti-inflammatory properties can benefit anyone. And besides it's ability to help with diarrhea, it also is recommended by doctors for treatment of other gastrointestinal problems, such as acid reflux and peptic ulcers.

Yes, CBD Can Help, But It Depends On Your Situation

There are many different causes of diarrhea: spicy foods, fructose intolerance, allergies, IBS, fiber, etc.--and CBD will help in some situations but not in others.

For example, inflammation of the intestines is a symptom of IBS that CBD could help with due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which could help with diarrhea. However, if your diarrhea is coming from consuming too much insoluble fiber, it isn't going to help.

Why It Causes Diarrhea As Well

Besides the personal stories you may find all over the internet from people who have taken CBD oil and got diarrhea, there have been some studies documenting such unwanted side effects.

One clinical study from 2015 took a look at the effects of CBD on various forms of epilepsy from 137 children. The results were good, but 17% of the patients did experience diarrhea.

An even larger study with 261 patients, all of whom suffered from severe epilepsy, found great results from giving the patients CBD--but again, diarrhea was an unfortunate side effect--this time affecting 10% of the patients.

It Might Not Be The CBD Itself

CBD oil's relationship with diarrhea is a very understudied subject. While the side effect could possibly be due to CBD itself, this seems unlikely and many people think otherwise.

One reason people could be experiencing diarrhea after supplementation could be from the carrier oil, if there is one.

Coconut oil, hemp oil, MCT oil etc.--there is often a carrier oil mixed in with the CBD and this could easily be the cause. Oils are very high in fat and some people have difficulty digesting high amounts of such, which leads to unabsorbed fat and increased water secretion in the small intestine and colon, equaling likely diarrhea.

How to Avoid Diarrhea

The first thing you should do is take a look at the product you have. 

What are the ingredients? Is there anything else here that could be the cause?

You should also look at the quality of what you are taking. If the CBD oil is being extracted from marijuana or hemp that is poorly grown, then you aren't getting a good final product. You might also not be getting a good product if the manufacturer is using poor extraction processes with harmful chemicals. The qualities of CBD products on the market vary a heck of a lot and taking a good quality and trusted product should be priority #1.

What Is The Carrier Oil?

If there is a carrier oil then it could easily be the problem as mentioned above. What you may want to try is switching to a new CBD oil product that uses a different carrier oil.

If the carrier oil is help oil, try switching to a product that has coconut oil as the carrier, and vice versa

Try Lowering the Dosage

CBD oil hasn't been known to cause any deaths and the side effects are rare, and mild, but taking anything in excess can be harmful, no matter how good it is.

Lowering the dosage is always a good choice if you are getting unwanted diarrhea.

Maybe Take It In a Different Form

If you are taking liquid CBD then it may be worth a try to buy something that is in solid form, such as CBD gummies. Or if you want to really change it up then try out a topical CBD product that is not taken orally. This way you will still be able to benefit due to absorption through the skin, but there will be no digestion of anything.

Final Thoughts

While there are stories of people getting diarrhea from taking CBD oil products, the occurrences are rare and it is likely that the CBD itself is not to blame, but rather the other ingredients such as the carrier oils could be.

That said, this is still a very understudied subject and there is a lack of research/evidence to go off of.

If you have been experiencing severe diarrhea it is always best to see your doctor and go from there--or just discontinue use if that is an option for you.

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Starting his writing career in 2015, Kyle is a leading contributor here at GutAdvisor, and for good reason. Having a passion for health and the awareness that proper digestion plays a key role one's overall well-being, he regularly keeps the community informed with valuable information regarding gut health.

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