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Can Marijuana Cause Diarrhea?

  • Current evidence doesn’t connect medical cannabis use with diarrhea—but that doesn’t mean that your experiences aren’t real.
  • If you’re struggling with diarrhea during medical marijuana treatment, consider assessing your dietary changes during treatment and the ingredients in any edible marijuana products you use. You should also talk to your medical cannabis healthcare provider if you continue to struggle with side effects during your treatment plan.

While medical marijuana poses very low risks of side effects, some patients do experience adverse effects during their treatment. Some of the most widely reported side effects include dry mouth and overstimulation; however, some patients experience other, less common side effects.

In terms of clinical evidence, there are currently limited connections between cannabis use and diarrhea—one study did find that THC users had a decreased risk of constipation, however. And while there aren’t wide anecdotal reports of diarrhea among medical cannabis patients, that doesn’t mean that your experience isn’t valid.

We’re here to help you find an answer to this question—“Can cannabis cause diarrhea?”—based on your body’s own data. We’ll break down what science says about marijuana and bowel activity and teach you how to unearth the root cause.

Medical Cannabis and Gastrointestinal Health: What We Know

Let’s start with the science—what health experts already know about marijuana’s impact on the digestive system. However, keep in mind that clinical data is behind the curve; anecdotal reports often shed a brighter light on how most patients respond to cannabis.

The Connection Between Diarrhea and Cannabis

At this point, there’s somewhat conflicting clinical evidence available:

  • A 2019 study (the one we noted in the introduction) found no connection between cannabis use and diarrhea, but it did find that cannabis users were at a 30% lower risk of becoming constipated.
  • A 2017 review identified cannabis as a potential treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • In a 2022 literature review, the Minnesota Department of Health identified several studies suggesting that cannabis could reduce colonic motility in people living with IBS.

Okay, so what does all of this actually mean? In short, researchers don’t really know if marijuana can cause diarrhea—or any bowel-related side effects. On the whole, the data doesn’t seem to suggest a connection.

What about anecdotal evidence? There isn’t much chatter about cannabis use and diarrhea in online forums, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Most users and patients recommend that people experiencing diarrhea investigate their diet and behaviors more closely to determine the root of the problem (which we’ll teach you how to do below).

What Should You Do If You Have Diarrhea as a Medical Cannabis Patient?

If you’re experiencing diarrhea during medical cannabis treatment and you’re looking for answers, we’re here to help you find them. Let’s walk through a few steps you can take to uncover the root cause of your side effects.

Assess Your Diet

First, let’s turn to a sensical line of questioning—what does your diet look like right now? Think about:

  • Recent changes – Did you add a new recipe to your rotation or discover a new favorite candy to snack on when the munchies kick in? Even a small change to your diet (like switching almond milk brands) could lead to an unpleasant GI response.
  • Existing challenges – If you already struggled with lactose intolerance or another food sensitivity, that issue could have worsened recently—independent of your new cannabis treatment.
  • Accidental exposures to allergens – If you struggle with a food allergy and you’ve eaten out recently, consider the possibility that you’ve been exposed to an allergen. While commercial kitchens do their best to prevent cross-contamination of common allergens (like gluten, nuts, and dairy), accidents happen.
  • New wellness efforts – Sometimes our best efforts to improve our wellness can cause side effects. Take fiber supplementation, for instance. Overuse of dietary fiber supplements can lead to GI distress, especially if you have a pre-existing digestive condition like IBS.

Before jumping to conclusions about cannabis, consider whether or not any recent changes to your diet could be the real root cause of your diarrhea.

Investigate the Ingredients in Your Cannabis Products

Depending on your preferences, you may administer cannabis via consumable products like:

  • Gummies
  • Baked goods
  • Tinctures
  • Oils
  • Beverages

If you commonly use edibles and your diarrhea symptoms correlate with your dosing, check out the ingredients list on the packaging. Keep an eye out for:

  • Allergens or trigger foods – If you have an allergy or intolerance to certain foods, make sure they’re not included in your edible formulas. Even though you might be exposing yourself to only small doses of an allergen, this could still cause a reaction.
  • Common irritants – Some ingredients can cause upset stomach or other GI disturbances even if you’re not technically “allergic” to them. Take the common sugar substitute erythritol, for instance—it’s used in some gummy products to enhance sweetness without increasing calorie density. Unfortunately, erythritol is known to cause diarrhea.

While your edibles may be giving you GI troubles, don’t worry—in today’s medical cannabis market, there are nearly countless options to choose from if you need to switch formulas.

Talk to Your Medical Cannabis Healthcare Provider

If you can’t think of any dietary causes for your diarrhea, call in reinforcements: schedule an appointment with the healthcare provider who gave you your medical cannabis recommendation.

Before your appointment, make sure to:

  • Note your routine and symptoms – To help you get to the root of the problem, healthcare providers need as much information as possible. Write down the specifics of your dose, administration method, timing, and symptoms to give your provider a clear picture of your side effects.
  • Bring products with you – If you’re using edible products, consider bringing the package with you to your appointment (or taking a photo of the label). Your provider may have heard of side effects associated with specific strains or products.

A cannabis-informed healthcare provider will be a critical resource throughout your marijuana treatment journey. When you need high-quality, affordable, and convenient care, turn to TeleLeaf: the best online medical marijuana card service on the market today. Our network of providers offers compassionate care and exceptional service to every patient, whether they’re new to cannabis or looking to tweak an existing treatment regimen.

Take a Break from Cannabis

A surefire way to determine if cannabis is causing your diarrhea is to take a break. While you can stop using medical marijuana “cold turkey” without worrying about withdrawals, consider taking the following steps if you plan to temporarily phase marijuana out of your routine:

  • Tapering – If you’ve found significant relief with cannabis, you may need to slowly reduce your dose to ease back into life without your medication. Your medical marijuana doctor can help you create a personalized tapering strategy.
  • Documenting – Whether you choose to taper or stop all at once, record how your body responds to your cannabis break. How are your digestive symptoms? Are you experiencing any changes to your quality of life without the help of cannabis? This is data you and your provider can use to assess your body’s response to marijuana.
  • Supplementing – Without relief from cannabis, you may need a temporary replacement medication. If you’re using cannabis to manage pain from menstrual cramps, for instance, you might lean on another natural remedy (like chamomile tea) or over-the-counter NSAIDs in the meantime.

Your provider can help you nail down an exact elimination timeframe, but you’ll likely need to abstain from cannabis for at least one week to see if your diarrhea symptoms subside.

Turn to TeleLeaf for High-Quality, Accessible Cannabis Care

Can cannabis cause diarrhea? It’s possible, but uncommon. Luckily, you can take the steps above to get to the heart of your digestive troubles, and marijuana may not be the culprit.

If you’re considering medical marijuana treatment, access is key: Does Louisiana have medical marijuana? Yes—and TeleLeaf can help you get a cannabis recommendation in our home state and beyond.

TeleLeaf connects patients looking for all-natural, plant-based relief with empathetic, cannabis-informed healthcare providers licensed to recommend medical marijuana. This is just the tip of the iceberg: our network of providers and patients is here to help you navigate your entire medical cannabis journey.

Schedule an appointment with TeleLeaf to get started.


American Journal of Gastroenterology. Relationship Between Recreational Marijuana Use and Bowel Function in a Nationwide Cohort Study.

European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Role of Cannabis in Digestive Disorders.

Minnesota Department of Health. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Issue Brief.

Eat This, Not That. One Major Side Effect of Drinking Almond Milk, Says Dietitian.

American Journal of Gastroenterology. Gluten Contamination of Restaurant Food: Analysis of Crowd-Sourced Data Lawlor Resident Award.

University of California at Davis. Nutrition & Health Info Sheets for Health Professionals – Fiber.

Medical News Today. Everything You Need to Know About Erythritol.

Medical News Today. What Are the Benefits of Chamomile Tea?.

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