Young woman with painful menstruation resting in bed


Can CBD Cause Diarrhea?

Keegan Williams

By Keegan Williams

September 7, 2022

We’re huge fans of

, along with a growing number of consumers in America and around the world coming to know and love the potential benefits this popular cannabinoid has to offer. 

After hemp was decriminalized in the United States with the

, CBD has become more accessible, available online in the form of oil, edibles, even flower (so long as it tests below 0.3 percent THC). Increasingly, consumers are introducing CBD as a part of their regular wellness routines. While the potential health benefits are plenty, that’s not to say CBD doesn’t come with its potential downfalls. 

It’s relatively common for people to complain about stomach issues after taking CBD oil, which might lead folks to wonder if CBD can cause diarrhea. While this might not be the most comfortable topic to explore, it’s important to understand the potential outcomes of ingesting CBD. And truly, these symptoms may be linked to CBD itself, but there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

So take a deeper dive with High There as we expand on the wondrous cannabinoid that is CBD and tackle the question: Can CBD cause diarrhea?

What is CBD?

To explore this conversation fully, we should take a step back and look at the basics. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound, a cannabinoid, found in cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive in the general sense, meaning that it doesn’t create the feeling of being high that THC does.

The cannabis plant has hundreds of cannabinoids. Hemp, or high-CBD flower, and marijuana, a term often used in relation to high-THC flower, both come from the Cannabis sativa plant. Manufacturers generally take advantage of hemp’s higher concentration of CBD when extracting the

Large amount of CBD oil bottles in rows on production lines inside a pharmaceutical factory.

CBD is now legal at the federal level, so long as it contains no more than 0.3 percent of THC. Some state laws vary, or have different stipulations, so it’s important to check on laws in your state before ordering CBD products.

What are the benefits of CBD?

Like its psychoactive sibling THC, there are many claims that CBD has demonstrated a number of

, including treatment for conditions like chronic pain, inflammation, migraines, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, depression and anxiety. While many studies have observed these effects, CBD research is continuous and more is still needed.

CBD’s effects on the body are due to the body’s endocannabinoid system, which serves to maintain homeostasis, or a balance in the body’s biological processes. The endocannabinoid system kicks in whenever something in the body is disrupted. It also regulates sleep, memory, appetite and reproduction.

CBD, and other cannabinoids, interact with the endocannabinoid receptors to create changes within the body. If it sounds complex, that’s because it is, and researchers continue to learn more about this body system as time goes on.

What are the side effects of CBD?

Despite the many potential benefits of using CBD, there are still a number of

to consider, including fatigue, appetite changes, dry mouth, drowsiness and yes, sometimes an upset stomach or diarrhea. More research is needed, but some doctors argue that CBD can have negative interactions with other medications, so it’s important to consult your physician if you take medication and are considering a new CBD regimen.

Young woman with painful stomach pain resting in bed

So, can CBD give you diarrhea?

Unfortunately, the truth is that, yes, CBD use can lead to diarrhea. It happens most often with CBD oil, as some users have reported feeling sick to their stomachs soon after using it.

In general, studies have found that the human body tolerated CBD fairly well, though every body is different, and our bodies’ tolerance levels for CBD can vary as well. This might mean that, if you experience diarrhea after using CBD, it may simply not agree with your body.

But don’t take that as a sign to toss all your CBD and give up! There is hope. 

Typically, if someone gets diarrhea after taking CBD, it indicates an incorrect dosage, namely too high of a dosage. Just like THC, we don’t “overdose” when taking too much CBD, but it can still have negative impacts on our bodies and their functioning when we take too much.

So yes, excessive CBD can cause diarrhea — all the more reason to explore a variety of doses and find the proper dose for you and your body.

How to Avoid Diarrhea from CBD

If an excessive CBD dose can lead to diarrhea, the quickest fix is ensure that you are taking the proper dosage. Most products have their own potency and, in turn, their own recommendations for dosing. 

For mild symptoms, a dose could be anywhere from 5 to 25mg of CBD,

. Moderate symptoms may prompt anywhere between 30 and 75mg of CBD, while heavy symptoms could merit anywhere between 60 to 150mg of CBD per dose.

It’s also important to examine what your primary reason is for using CBD. Migraines, nausea, muscle recovery and general health typically require low-to-medium-strength doses, while chronic pain, arthritis and anxiety may merit a medium-to-high-strength dose. Conditions like cancer or

may even need pharmaceutical-grade CBD to adequately treat symptoms.

This is a good baseline, but it’s not always that simple, either. 

Your ideal dose of CBD depends on a number of factors, including your size and weight, the severity of the symptoms you are looking to treat, your tolerance to CBD, your individual body chemistry and the potency of the products being used. It might be easiest to start with a very low dose, like 2mg, and increase your dose gradually, by just a few milligrams each time, until you find a good balance.

That said, CBD dosage is not a one-size-fits-all, and you should consult a medical professional to find out what dosage is best for you.

Other Factors to Consider

If you experience diarrhea after using CBD, you might want to take a closer look at the specific product you are using before blacklisting the compound entirely. 

Large amount of CBD oil bottles in rows on production lines inside a pharmaceutical factory.

Check out the ingredients in the product you’re using. Carrier oils in particular may contain ingredients that don’t sit the best in certain consumers’ stomachs, especially in large amounts. CBD oil is used with a number of carriers, including

, emu oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil or grapeseed oil, so your body may have an adverse response to the oil itself, not necessarily the CBD.

If you hone in on an ingredient that might be upsetting your stomach, that may be a sign to shift to another CBD product.

Similarly, any unpleasant symptoms may have to do with the way the flower was grown. Quality makes all the difference, and if the hemp was grown in poor soil, or with certain pesticides and chemicals, it can lead to reduced quality. Lapses in quality can also occur during the extraction process, depending on the methods involved.

CBD is also more likely to give users diarrhea when it is taken orally. This can be avoided by using a CBD topical, smoking CBD flower or using a CBD vape. Sure, each of these methods have their pros and cons, but it may be worth exploring to avoid any lingering sickness caused by an ingestible CBD product.

Finally, try to avoid consuming CBD oil specifically on an empty stomach. Eating protein with your CBD may also help to reduce the speed in which your body absorbs it.

Closing Thoughts on ‘Can CBD Cause Diarrhea?’

While increasingly more consumers are enjoying the benefits of this “non-psychoactive” cannabinoid, it’s safe to say that no one really enjoys diarrhea. 

So yes, we still love CBD, but it isn’t always perfect. Like most supplements and products, CBD has its pros and cons. And the simple and honest answer to the question, “Can CBD cause diarrhea?” is yes, when it’s taken in excessive amounts. That’s the good news! If you are experiencing diarrhea after ingesting CBD, it’s not a sign to give up; it’s a sign to continue exploring.

Take your time to research the specific CBD products you are interested in. Pay attention to the ingredients in your CBD product, the dosage instructions and your own personal habits around your CBD ingestion. It could be as simple as pursuing a lower dose, another product or a topical or inhalable option.

It’s your journey, and sometimes, there may simply be more than one destination. With a bit of trial and error, you can also ensure there are no unplanned detours to the bathroom!

Keegan Williams

About The Author

Keegan Williams