Does Weed Make You Poop More or Less?
Photo by Hafidz Alifuddin
Nobody wants to talk about it, but there really is something called the weed shits. But does weed make you poop, or is it a myth?
Like coffee, it may surprise you to learn that cannabis can help you to go to the bathroom. But this is an area of marijuana research that remains relatively untouched. Whether weed poops are a thing or not has been confined to anecdotal evidence. However, a new body of research is helping to shed light on whether pot can cause you to run to the bathroom.
Is Weed a Natural Laxative?
Weed has long been used for various medical reasons. In fact, the University of Sydney says that the earliest documented use of cannabis was in the court of Emperor Shen Nung of China in 2800 BC.
In particular, cannabis has also been utilized to target problems within the human digestive system. It may surprise you that your endocannabinoid system (ECS) also manages digestion and excretion.
Since cannabis directly interacts with the ECS through THC binding with CB1 and CB2 receptors., it makes sense that this substance would also impact how often you need to poop.
Scientists are already aware of the fact that cannabinoid receptors are present in the gut. The National Institutes of Health says that activating these receptors can enhance food intake and elevate gastric acid secretion. Further evidence states that activating the receptors within the gut may help with conditions like:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
With this in mind, yes, cannabis use will alter how your body removes waste. A recent population study found that cannabis users were less likely to experience constipation. But plenty of anecdotal evidence exists from people claiming they have experienced diarrhea and constipation while consuming cannabis.
So, can smoking weed make you poop, and if so, why does weed make you poop?
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So Does Weed Make You Poop, or Does Weed Make You Constipated?
Marijuana is an odd plant because it’s a stimulant, depressant, and hallucinogen all in one. This explains why marijuana can affect the person taking it entirely differently.
Firstly, cannabis is well-known for slowing gastric motility. In other words, it slows down how quickly food will pass through your gastrointestinal system and out of your body. Some people may find that this manifests as being constipated, but this is far from the norm.
According to a 2019 study, recent cannabis users saw a 30% reduction in their chances of experiencing constipation when compared to those who had never used cannabis. But why is this the case?
Why cannabis causes weed poops remains a mystery. But several theories exist as to why this happens. All of these theories are linked to the lesser-known ingredients in cannabis. So, can THC gummies cause constipation, and does THC make you poop?
The answer is no. The less-studied active ingredients in cannabis are believed to counterbalance THC, slowing down how quickly food makes its way through your gastrointestinal system.
Unfortunately, with hundreds of cannabinoids and active ingredients within cannabis, scientists are unsure as to which ones could be the culprit for preventing constipation. And that’s why cannabis has yet to be recommended as a first-line treatment for chronic constipation.
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How Does Cannabis Interact with the Gut?
Marijuana influences the digestive system because it binds to the cannabinoid receptors within. These receptors form part of your overall ECS, affecting various physiological functions.
According to the latest research, cannabis can:
- Regulate motility rates.
- Transform the microbiome.
- Regulate how nutrients are absorbed.
- Stimulate hunger.
- Initiates digestion
- Decreases inflammation within the digestive tract.
These exciting findings increasingly champion marijuana as beneficial for overall gut health. However, it must be mentioned that, in some people, cannabis can cause digestive issues that go beyond shitting while high.
Sufferers of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) find themselves suffering from symptoms like abdominal pain, vomiting, and nausea after using cannabis. Thankfully, cannabis researchers reveal this is an extremely rare condition triggered by overstimulation of the gut’s cannabinoid receptors.
If you do experience CHS, your symptoms will vary based on the phase:
- Phase One – During the Prodromal Phase, you may experience abdominal cramping and nausea.
- Phase Two – The Hyperemetic Phase is usually accompanied by compulsive vomiting and lasts 24-48 hours.
- Phase Three – The third and final Recovery Phase is where you’ll see a reduction in your symptoms.
Even though CHS symptoms are uncomfortable, CHS can usually be treated by abstaining from THC, taking a hot shower, and consuming black pepper.
Unless you are among the unlucky few to suffer from CHS, weed is likelier to help than it is to harm.
Since They’re Metabolized Differently, Do Edibles Cause Diarrhea, or Can Edibles Cause Constipation?
The link between edibles and diarrhea has not been studied in any great detail. However, many claim that “edibles give me diarrhea” even though they don’t experience the same effects when smoking or vaping marijuana.
Edibles diarrhea is an intriguing issue because many people find that they act as a laxative, while other forms of marijuana may cause constipation, and vice-versa.
While there is a lack of research into gummies and other edibles, what we do know is that edibles are likelier to contain other ingredients not found within regular cannabis. For example, commercially manufactured gummies may contain various additives that don’t agree with your digestive system.
Until more research has been completed into whether edibles have a greater chance of making you shit, there are no concrete explanations as to why edibles may have adverse effects on some people.
Photo by Anna Shvets
What are the Signs and Symptoms that Weed Makes Me Poop?
If you believe you are experiencing either diarrhea or constipation as a direct consequence of your marijuana usage, it’s vital to know which signs to search for.
Typically, signs of marijuana-induced diarrhea include:
- Stomach cramps
- Loose stools
- Runny stools
- Frequent urge to go
In contrast, the symptoms of weed-induced constipation include:
- Infrequent bowel movements
- Pain while going to the bathroom
- Abdominal cramps
- Loss of appetite
- Hard stools
The easiest way to find out whether your marijuana usage causes your diarrhea or constipation is to lower your dosage or take a break temporarily. If your symptoms dissipate, there is a strong chance that your symptoms were caused by marijuana.
Some anecdotal evidence points toward weed oils and edibles increasing your chances of digestive issues. If this is you, try switching to smoking or vaping to see if it impacts your symptoms.
When Should I Worry About My Bathroom Habits?
Do gummies make you constipated? They can, so it’s vital never to ignore symptoms as they could herald an underlying condition requiring medical attention.
Typically, most instances of diarrhea and constipation will disappear within a few days after seeking treatment. In contrast, long-term symptoms could Indicate a significant health concern.
Some of the conditions that may display symptoms of constipation or diarrhea include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Celiac disease
- Colon cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Crohn’s disease
If you experience any long-term issues with your bowel movements, seek medical attention. Your doctor can perform a comprehensive inspection to determine whether your symptoms are hiding a serious disease.
Photo by Miriam Alonso
FAQs: Does Weed Make You Poop?
Can marijuana be effective for digestive issues?
It can. This is why conditions like Crohn’s Disease are considered qualifying conditions for state medical marijuana programs.
However, beware that if you are vulnerable to CHS or have a sensitive digestive system, cannabis may not be helpful for you.
What are the best cannabis strains for digestive problems?
For the best results with digestive problems, large amounts of both THC and CBD can help. Preferably, you should consider strains that have a near 1:1 ratio.
Some examples of cannabis strains that can be effective for digestive problems include:
- Critical Mass
Your mileage may vary, as everyone reacts differently to various strains. Beginners should ask for professional guidance on strains that could be helpful for them. Plus, you should consider starting at lower dosages to prevent any unwanted side effects of consuming high-potency THC.
Is Indica or Sativa best for digestive issues?
This is an area that has yet to be explored by science. Both Indica and Sativa have characteristics that could be beneficial for digestive problems.
Indica strains are known for their relaxing, sedating effects, which can reduce nausea and promote muscle relaxation and pain relief. Sativa strains are known for their uplifting, energizing effects, which can address a lack of appetite and alleviate fatigue.
Depending on your symptoms and why you have digestive problems, Indica or Sativa could be helpful.
Get the Right Weed for Your Needs with an MMJ Card – Apply Today!
Does weed make you poop? It can, or it can have the opposite effect. What matters is getting the right strain for your needs. With access to your state’s medical marijuana program, you can access premium homegrown and overseas strains.
If you’re experiencing digestive issues or require an MMJ card to take advantage of more potent weed, find out if you qualify with the help of Green Health Docs now.
This article has been reviewed by Dr. Anand Dugar, an anesthesiologist, pain medicine physician and the founder of Green Health Docs. Graduating from medical school in 2004 and residency in 2008, Dr. Dugar has been a licensed physician for almost 20 years and has been leading the push for medical cannabis nationwide.