Does CBD Cause Constipation?

Find out the side effects

For a product with so many medicinal benefits, CBD has remarkably few side effects. In rare cases when people have a negative reaction to CBD, they usually experience slight nausea or lethargy. Constipation is also on the list of its occasional side effects. But if you’ve never taken CBD before, there’s no reason to suppose it will make you constipated.

CBD and its side effects

Just a decade ago, CBD was a relatively new “health craze.” Nowadays, we have hundreds of studies that have helped us better understand its side effects. 

Is CBD legal?

CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%) are now legal on a federal level in the United States. However, they are not FDA-approved, and may still be illegal in certain states. Check your local laws before making a purchase. 

In this 2017 review, scientists took dozens of CBD studies and analyzed their findings on the effects and side effects of the molecule. They found that CBD only had mild side effects, none of which were life-threatening. Among the most common ones were diarrhea, changes in appetite and tiredness. The study doesn’t mention constipation as a common side effect. 

So while it is entirely possible to suffer from constipation as a result of taking CBD, it’s not a common issue and not a likely side effect.

Does CBD cause tolerance?

In 2017, two scientists put together years of study into a scientific review called “An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol.” This review taught us some important things about CBD. For example, it showed us that CBD becomes more bioavailable the higher the dose you take. It also showed us that CBD had few side effects and can be considered a safe substance.

Finally, it made an important discovery: none of the studies reviewed showed that CBD caused tolerance. After over a decade of researching the effects of CBD on animal and human populations, not one study showed that it created any tolerance. In fact, CBD may cause something called “reverse tolerance.”

The longer you take CBD, the more your body is receptive to the molecule. As a result, you can get away with using smaller and smaller doses, while still experiencing the same benefits. Some people claim that CBD causes “reverse tolerance” because taking it fixes an endocannabinoid deficit. We know that some people have lower levels of cannabinoids in their bodies. This can lead to a deficiency that makes the endocannabinoid system malfunction.

So when these people start taking CBD, they get their stocks of cannabinoids back to normal and experience a quick improvement of their symptoms. With time, they don’t need as much CBD to feel the same effects because their stocks of cannabinoids are less depleted. This is how cbd reverse tolerance occurs, and means they are able to progressively lower the dose while keeping the effects. 

Does CBD Cause Constipation

The effects of CBD on digestion

In fact, many people take CBD to help with digestive issues such as diarrhea and constipation, or conditions like IBS and Crohn’s disease.


CBD is a molecular compound called a “phytocannabinoid.” It’s a substance that has an effect on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a system that runs through the whole body. This system has many receptors located in the gut and digestive tract. As a result, CBD can be helpful in restoring balance in the ECS, which can regulate and aid digestion.

What should you do if CBD makes you constipated?

CBD can help with digestion and provides relief for many people with digestive conditions. But the fact remains that you may be experiencing constipation as a side effect of CBD. What should you do?

The first thing to ask yourself is whether CBD is actually responsible for the symptoms you are experiencing. Have there been any changes in your diet over the past few weeks? Are you more stressed? Drinking less water? All of these could contribute to causing constipation.

If you really think that CBD is causing your constipation, you may want to stop taking it. Focus on making positive changes in your diet that will ease your digestion. For example, drinking more water, eating fiber-rich foods and taking a probiotic supplement can all help. In general, including more whole foods, fruit, vegetables, and wholegrain cereals into your day will do a lot to help.  

Constipation can also be caused by a slow metabolism, so you may want to focus on giving yours a boost. Again, diet will help. For example, focusing on eating more protein can make a big difference, as can supplementing minerals like iron, zinc and selenium. 

If your problems persist, don’t hesitate to consult with a doctor; they will be able to suggest medicines you can take as an alternative to CBD. They may also give you advice on alleviating your constipation. 

Takeaways

Does CBD cause constipation? It’s not a common side effect, but it could happen. CBD works a bit differently for everyone. It can help some people to regulate their digestion, but it could also cause diarrhea in some, or constipation in others.

If you believe that CBD is making you constipated, you could try changing your lifestyle to aid digestion or stop taking CBD altogether. Most importantly, make sure to listen to what your body is telling you, and consult a doctor if symptoms persist. 

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