How many milligrams of CBD would qualify as excessive? That depends on the individual, but a rule of thumb is that 500 milligrams or more is a high dose of CBD. Rollins continued, “When I reduced the dose or just rubbed the CBD oil on my hands instead of swallowing it too, I didn’t have any problems with nausea or diarrhea anymore.”
So, does CBD oil cause diarrhea? The answer is probably not, as long as you’re using CBD at lower levels under a qualified physician’s care. But elevated doses of CBD (or any medicine) may be problematic and affect the digestive system. Vaping or dabbing CBD can help users avoid the issue completely.
Rae was quick to add that “most people will not take enough CBD to cause diarrhea; this usually happens at very high doses of 500 milligrams or more.”
In 2018, results of randomized CBD trials were published in the journal CNS Drugs. In these trials, CBD was found to have a high level of tolerance with minimal adverse effects. Similar to the Epidiolex trials, these studies showed that diarrhea was among the most common side effects of CBD and occurred more frequently in individuals on a regimen of the cannabinoid than those taking a placebo. Researchers reported that the effects ranged from mild to moderate, with no severe cases.
In terms of CBD easing diarrhea, especially acute bouts, Rae noted that there is little evidence that CBD is a directly useful tool. She asserted, however, that “CBD could still improve the quality of life for patients suffering from chronic bowel disorders, even if it doesn’t improve some specific symptoms like diarrhea.”
One 2018 randomized control trial examined whether a CBD-rich botanical extract could help people with ulcerative colitis, a type of IBD with a litany of symptoms including diarrhea. Results, published in the scientific journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, determined that “CBD-rich botanical extract may be beneficial for symptomatic treatment of ulcerative colitis.”
One 2019 report, published in the journal Current Neuropharmacology, discussed the effects of CBD based on clinical trials of the FDA-approved drug Epidiolex, which is derived from CBD and prescribed to treat severe cases of childhood epilepsy. It also looked at the use of Epidiolex to treat psychiatric problems. The researchers determined that diarrhea was among the most common adverse effects for individuals taking Epidiolex to treat epilepsy and psychiatric disorders. They noted, however, that the incidence of any side effect was low compared to other drugs used to treat such conditions.
In one study* that assessed the use of coconut oil (from which MCT oil is derived) for improving cholesterol, some participants reported diarrhea as a side effect. Other oils have also been known to be effective as a laxative, such as castor oil. And there have been reports* that people following an MCT ketogenic diet have side effects including bloating, cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea.
It might be funny to hear about a person’s travails with diarrhea, at least until you become the victim! If possible, try and learn more about the MCT oil or other ingredients that a firm puts into their CBD tinctures. Email or call them if necessary.
Another option is to try out different CBD oils that have different ingredients or carrier oils. Compare which ones give you diarrhea and which ones do not. If you find that only certain combinations of ingredients cause you diarrhea, avoid those combinations in the future. If you find that they all give you diarrhea, it may be the CBD oil itself that is causing diarrhea. Try looking into edibles, capsules or balms to see if you can consume them without ill-effect.
Beware MCT Oil!
In actual fact, most discuss CBD in the context of it helping with stomach issues rather than causing them. When the cannabinoid binds to the CB1 receptor in your endocannabinoid system (ECS), it reduces excessive gastric acid,* increases blood flow to your stomach lining to speed up the healing process,* and aids the lower esophagus in preventing reflux.* CBD may also help heal the digestive tract.*
If you take CBD oil and have diarrhea, make sure you stop taking it until the symptoms are gone. You may use this time to investigate whether it is another issue, such as stress or your diet, that is causing the problem. If your symptoms do not improve, contact a healthcare provider as you may have a different cause of diarrhea that is unrelated to the CBD oil.
CBD oil can cause diarrhea as a side effect, but it could be other ingredients in the oil that are causing your distress.
The likely answer is ‘not necessarily.’ While CBD oil can cause diarrhea as a side effect, it could be the other ingredients in the CBD oil that are causing your gastrointestinal distress instead. It could also be a simple case of flaws during the manufacturing process.