Does CBD Cause Constipation?

does cbd cause constipation
By Anthony Pellegrino Updated June 7th

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Kessler, MD

Digestive issues, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are some of the bowel-related reasons why patients seek medical cannabis as a potential treatment. This has led to questions on whether cannabidiol (CBD) can cause digestive problems like diarrhea or constipation.

We look at what science says about the link between CBD and digestive issues, including constipation. We also provide some simple tips to help avoid and manage any effects.

So, if you’re interested in trying CBD for its potential therapeutic benefits but have questions about potential side effects, like constipation, read on.

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What Causes Constipation?

Constipation is a frequent digestive issue that affects many people at some point in their lives. As unpleasant as the experience may be, there are many potential causes.

  • Lack of fiber: A lack of fiber is a common cause of many digestive issues, including constipation. Fiber is essential for healthy and regular bowel movements.
  • Dehydration: Dehydration is another common culprit of constipation. Drinking insufficient amounts of water can lead to hard, dry stools, which are more difficult to pass.
  • Inactivity: While increasingly common, especially among white-collar or office workers, a sedentary lifestyle and a general lack of physical activity can slow the digestive process and lead to constipation.1
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as opioids, antacids, and antidepressants, frequently cause constipation as a side-effect, since these medications can slow down the digestive system.
  • Medical conditions: Certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hypothyroidism, and diabetes, can increase the risk of or cause constipation.
  • Ignoring the urge to go: Of course, “holding it” for extended periods can lead to constipation, as the longer stool stays in the colon, the harder it becomes.
  • Stress: High levels of stress and anxiety can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system, which can easily lead to constipation.

Does CBD Cause Constipation? The Link Between Endocannabinoids and the Digestive System

Does CBD Cause Constipation

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound in the cannabis plant that is increasingly popular for its potential therapeutic benefits. CBD is available in a variety of products, including oils, tinctures, gummies, capsules, and topical creams.

The research regarding the link between CBD and constipation is currently limited and somewhat conflicting. Many med card holders receive their cannabis prescription specifically to treat digestive issues, and anecdotal evidence has been overwhelmingly positive. 

However, because symptoms of digestive issues can include diarrhea or constipation, many patients want to understand any potential side effects that could impact the digestive system.

While a few studies have suggested that CBD in high enough quantities can cause constipation or other digestive issues, those levels of consumption are exceedingly unlikely. Meanwhile, other studies have found no (or even a positive) link between CBD and digestive ailments.

For example, a study conducted at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the University of Mississippi found CBD supplements in extremely high doses to be harmful to the gut microbiome. Such damage to the gut microbiome could potentially cause inflammation,2 which could result in symptoms of constipation. However, the amount of CBD given to mice in the study would be nearly impossible for a human to consume: the equivalent of a 120-pound human consuming up to 3,321 ten milligram doses of CBD in a single day.

Several studies have shown that cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory properties.3 As such, cannabinoids (such as CBD) found in medical marijuana could prove effective when treating gut inflammation experienced by those with conditions like IBS or IBD.4

So while further study is required to fully understand how CBD affects the digestive system, there is currently no evidence that even heavy CBD consumers would experience constipation as a direct result. And it is unlikely that so many doctors would continue prescribing medical marijuana for gastrointestinal conditions if it was linked to the development of constipation.

Does CBD Oil Cause Constipation?

Does CBD Oil Cause Constipation

CBD oil is an oil (usually coconut oil or hemp seed oil) infused with CBD. Some people use CBD oil to manage symptoms of various health conditions, including anxiety, pain, and inflammation.

Current evidence suggests that CBD is unlikely to cause constipation. However, an individual’s unique biochemistry, medical history, and other factors may influence the effects. And the inclusion of coconut oil or hemp seed oil could play a role in how a consumer responds to CBD oil when smoked or consumed orally.

If you have any concerns that CBD oil may be contributing to gastrointestinal distress, consider speaking with your doctor and trying a lower dose or a different method of consumption.

Can CBD Gummies Cause Constipation?

Can CBD Gummies Cause Constipation

CBD gummies are a type of edible product containing CBD, often in combination with other ingredients like sugar, gelatin, and food coloring. They are marketed as a convenient and tasty way to consume CBD, making them a popular alternative to other forms, such as tinctures and oil.

As with CBD oil, the impact of CBD gummies on a user’s digestion may vary from person to person. While some people may experience constipation when using CBD gummies, others may find that they help to relieve this digestive issue, especially considering they are eaten and directly interact with the digestive system.5

It’s important to note that some ingredients commonly used in CBD gummies, such as sugar and gelatin, can have a constipating effect, which may exacerbate symptoms in some people, especially children.6,7

Some people may also have an allergic reaction to certain ingredients in CBD gummies, which could contribute to constipation.

Can CBD and Similar Cannabinoids Help Regulate Bowel Movement?

CBD and Bowel Movement

Researchers have found CBD to have potential therapeutic effects for various health conditions, and digestive issues like IBS and IBD are two of the most common reasons doctors prescribe medical cannabis.

Some studies suggest CBD may help to regulate the digestive system and relieve symptoms of constipation.

CBG (cannabigerol), on the other hand, is another compound found in the hemp plant that is structurally similar to CBD. While it is much less famous than CBD, researchers have found CBG to have several potential health benefits, including its ability to promote healthy bowel function.8,9

A 2018 study, for example, found that CBG could activate the CB1 receptors in the colon, which are involved in regulating gut motility.10 Gut motility refers to the contractions of the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract that move food and waste through the digestive system. So, this activation of the CB1 receptors by CBG may help to improve bowel movement and relieve symptoms of constipation.

There is evidence to suggest that CBD may have a similar effect as CBG on bowel function. A 2016 study found that CBD could promote healthy gut motility and reduce symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal pain, and inflammation in animal models.11

Ultimately, the current evidence suggests that both CBD and CBG might help regulate bowel movement and relieve symptoms of constipation. Further study is needed.

As with any form of treatment, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider before using CBD or CBG for digestive issues to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you.

How to Avoid Constipation When Taking CBD

How to Avoid Constipation When Taking CBD

If you’re worried about feeling constipated after using CBD, don’t fret! Available studies suggest constipation is unlikely to be caused by CBD unless taken in extraordinarily high doses. 

Of course, there are ways to minimize the risk further (and to relieve symptoms if they do occur, regardless of their origin). 

Here are some tips to help you avoid constipation when taking CBD:

  1. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is crucial for digestive health and can help prevent constipation. Many sources claim adults should have at least 8 glasses of water per day, while others more simply note to “drink when you’re thirsty.”
  2. Increase fiber intake: Eating foods high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, can help keep your stool soft and prevent constipation.
  3. Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help stimulate the digestive system and prevent constipation. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.
  4. Avoid eating certain foods and drinks: Some foods and drinks can cause constipation, so it’s best to limit or avoid them if you are prone to constipation. These include dairy products, processed foods, red meat, alcohol, and caffeine.
  5. Choose the right CBD product: Some forms of CBD, such as edibles made with sugar and gelatin, may include ingredients that are more likely to cause constipation in some users. Consider experimenting with different CBD products to see which works best for you and your digestive system.

If constipation occurs, here are some tips that may help relieve symptoms:

  1. Drink plenty of water & fluids: Drinking more water can help to soften your stool and alleviate constipation.
  2. Use over-the-counter remedies: Over-the-counter laxatives, like stool softeners, lubricants, or osmotic agents, can help relieve constipation. However, if you are using cannabis to treat a gastrointestinal issue, you should consult with your doctor before beginning to use such remedies.
  3. Soak in a warm bath: Soaking in a warm bath can help stimulate the muscles in the intestines and relieve constipation.
  4. Get moving and grooving: Light exercises, such as walking or gentle stretching, can help stimulate the digestive system and relieve constipation.

CBD Products that May Help with Constipation

It's important to choose the right form of CBD if you're prone to constipation. Here are some CBD products that may help with constipation:


CBD oil can be taken orally or added to food or drinks. It is one of the most popular forms of CBD, and it may help relieve constipation because of its potency and fast-acting effects. Besides that, manufacturers often make CBD oil with additional ingredients that support digestive health, like peppermint oil or ginger.

CBD Gummies

CBD gummies are a convenient and tasty way to take CBD. Some CBD gummies contain functional ingredients, such as fiber and probiotics, that may help with constipation. It’s always best to choose gummies free from artificial ingredients and stick to those containing natural sweeteners, like fruit juice.


CBD tea can be a relaxing and therapeutic way to take CBD while also addressing symptoms of constipation. For extra relief, choose teas that contain additional ingredients, like senna leaf or cascara sagrada, that have a natural laxative effect.12

CBD Capsules

CBD capsules are a discreet and convenient way to take CBD. Some capsules contain additional ingredients, such as fiber and probiotics, that may help with constipation. Look for capsules that are easy to digest and contain natural ingredients.

CBD Topicals

CBD topicals, like creams, balms, and lotions, can be applied directly to the skin. Although they’re not typically used for digestive health, some topicals contain ingredients, such as menthol, that have a soothing and cooling effect on the digestive system, which may help relieve constipation.13

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The research on CBD and its impact on constipation is still in its early stages, and more research is needed to fully understand its effects.

However, based on current studies, it appears that CBD is unlikely to cause constipation in most people. In fact, certain forms of CBD may even help relieve symptoms of constipation.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to use trusted CBD products from a licensed medical cannabis dispensary to ensure you are getting the right dose and consuming high-quality ingredients.

At NuggMD, we understand the importance of choosing the right form of CBD for your needs, including for digestive health. Our platform makes it easy to connect with a certified cannabis doctor who can help you find the right CBD treatments for you.


1  Park JH, Moon JH, Kim HJ, Kong MH, Oh YH. Sedentary Lifestyle: Overview of Updated Evidence of Potential Health Risks. Korean Journal of Family Medicine. 2020;41(6):365-373. doi:

2  Skinner CM, Nookaew I, Ewing LE, et al. Potential Probiotic or Trigger of Gut Inflammation – The Janus-Faced Nature of Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract. Journal of Dietary Supplements. 2020;17(5):543-560. doi:

3  Nagarkatti P, Pandey R, Rieder SA, Hegde VL, Nagarkatti M. Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future Medicinal Chemistry. 2009;1(7):1333-1349. doi:

4  Martínez V, Iriondo De-Hond A, Borrelli F, Capasso R, del Castillo MD, Abalo R. Cannabidiol and Other Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoids for Prevention and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders: Useful Nutraceuticals? International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020;21(9). doi:

5  DiPatrizio NV. Endocannabinoids in the Gut. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2016;1(1):67-77. doi:

6  Rollet M, Bohn T, Vahid F. Association between Dietary Factors and Constipation in Adults Living in Luxembourg and Taking Part in the ORISCAV-LUX 2 Survey. Nutrients. 2021;14(1):122. doi:

7  Tajik P, Goudarzian AH, Shadnoush M, Bagheri B. Effect of red sugar on functional constipation in children compared to figs syrup; a randomized controlled trial study. Gastroenterology and Hepatology from Bed to Bench. 2018;11(4):313-318. Accessed March 2, 2023.

8  Kogan NM, Lavi Y, Topping LM, et al. Novel CBG Derivatives Can Reduce Inflammation, Pain and Obesity. Molecules. 2021;26(18):5601. doi:

9  Borrelli F, Fasolino I, Romano B, et al. Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease. Biochemical Pharmacology. 2013;85(9):1306-1316. doi:

10  Navarro G, Varani K, Reyes-Resina I, et al. Cannabigerol Action at Cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 Receptors and at CB1–CB2 Heteroreceptor Complexes. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2018;9. doi:

11  Gyires K, S. Zádori Z. Role of Cannabinoids in Gastrointestinal Mucosal Defense and Inflammation. Current Neuropharmacology. 2016;14(8):935-951. doi:

12  Guarize L, da Costa JC, Dutra LB, Mendes RF, Lima IVA, Scio E. Anti-inflammatory, laxative and intestinal motility effects ofSenna macrantheraleaves. Natural Product Research. 2012;26(4):331-343. doi:

13  Luo L, Yan J, Chen B, et al. The effect of menthol supplement diet on colitis-induced colon tumorigenesis and intestinal microbiota. American journal of translational research. 2021;13(1):38-56.

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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