Why Does Weed Make You Poop? Science Explains

by Kat Austin January 12, 2024 5 min read

Why Does Weed Make You Poop? Science Explains - Vida Optima™

Cannabis offers a myriad of effects that its users enjoy, from relaxation to reduced pain to enhanced sleep. But curious (and thoughtful) connoisseurs want to know: Why does weed make you poop?

You may already know that THC can increase appetite, but there’s a lesser-known but prevalent side effect involving its influence on the digestive system, often leading to increased bowel movements. We’ll take a deep dive into how and why it happens to let you know that you’re not alone and it’s not a wild phenomenon–weed makes you poop!

Let’s jump in:

Table of Contents
Does Weed Make You Poop?
The Science Behind Cannabis and Bowel Movements
Research on Weed’s Effect On Constipation
Understanding Individual Reactions and Possible Concerns
Conclusion

Key Takeaways

  • Cannabis impacts digestion by enhancing muscle contractions and relaxing the nervous system, which can potentially make you poop.
  • Research indicates weed may reduce constipation, making stool easier to pass.
  • Weed may make you poop, but it's unlikely to upset your stomach, so it’s not a side effect to fret over. 

Wait–Does Weed Make You Poop?

A glass jar filled with cannabis flower and surrounded by cannabis flower that has spilled over onto the table.

The answer is yes–and no? According to anecdotal reports, weed can make you poop. However, some people never experience this effect, while others (in rare circumstances) actually report that weed made them constipated. So, what’s the deal?

Cannabis interacts with the endocannabinoid system, a system of checks and balances that helps maintain homeostasis. Endocannabinoids, or cannabinoids found naturally in the body, help regulate things like digestion, pain signaling, appetite, and more. In cases of endocannabinoid deficiency, cannabis can be a powerful medicine. 

However, everyone starts with a unique endocannabinoid balance, meaning phytocannabinoids from cannabis will affect each person differently. That explains why people experience different effects from cannabis, and why weed may make some people poop while having no effect on others. 

The Science Behind Cannabis and Bowel Movements

At the core of this relationship lies the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a vital regulator of numerous bodily functions, including digestion. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a primary compound in cannabis, engages with ECS receptors—particularly CB1 and CB2—impacting gastrointestinal activities.

Recent research highlights the diverse potential of cannabis, showcasing its capacity to:

  1. Regulate motility rates within the digestive system.
  2. Influence the microbiome, shaping gut flora.
  3. Modulate nutrient absorption mechanisms.
  4. Trigger appetite stimulation.
  5. Initiate and support the digestive process.
  6. Reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.

Let’s take a deeper look at how cannabis impacts digestion, or “why weed makes you poop.”

THC Triggers the Digestive Responses

THC's interaction with ECS receptors spurs muscle contractions within the gastrointestinal tract. This heightened muscle activity accelerates the movement of food and waste through the intestines, hastening the digestive process and potentially leading to urgent bowel movements.

Moreover, THC's influence on the autonomic nervous system contributes to muscle relaxation in the digestive tract, further facilitating bowel movements.

Cannabis May Be Useful for Managing Constipation

Certain health conditions and treatments that may respond to cannabis, like Multiple Sclerosis or chemotherapy, may also cause constipation. So, it’s no surprise that cannabis has been evaluated for its digestive impact, and especially its potential ability to help relieve constipation. 

Recent research suggests that using cannabis may decrease the likelihood of constipation, as indicated by a study showing a 30% lower prevalence of constipation among recent cannabis users compared to non-users. This effect might be due to cannabis influencing mucus production in the digestive system, making stool softer and easier to pass. 

While more research is needed to fully understand this relationship, it's clear that cannabinoids impact the gastrointestinal system. 

Cannabis May Relax the Nervous System to Help You Poop 

Alternate pathways influence how cannabis impacts bowel movements indirectly.  The parasympathetic nervous system, known as the "rest and digest" system,  is responsible for promoting relaxation and controlling how much energy output is directed towards digestion, especially after stress or trauma.

Compounds like THC and CBDfound in cannabis activate the parasympathetic nervous system, inducing a relaxed bodily state. As it's difficult to have smooth bowel movements during fight-or-flight responses, activating the parasympathetic system can aid in stimulating movement in the digestive tract, indirectly leading to a smooth pooping experience. 

Certain Cannabis Compounds May Have an Impact

Certain cannabis compounds, such as terpenes, may possess natural laxative properties, amplifying the likelihood of increased bowel activity post-consumption. However, responses to cannabis are highly individualized, influenced by dosage, tolerance, and consumption methods. Every strain of cannabis contains a different terpene profile, which is why you may experience different effects from every strain. 

Limonene, a prevalent terpene in citrus fruits and certain cannabis strains, is sought after for its potential to aid digestive issues and relieve constipation. Known for reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and nausea, and showing promise in fighting colon cancer, limonene-rich strains offer potential relief for gastrointestinal concerns.

If you want weed that soothes the gut (and possibly leads to a BM), choose limonene rich strain. 

Research On Weed’s Effect On Constipation

Cannabis flower and wax, two forms of THC that may have an impact on digestion

A six-year survey examining cannabis use and constipation in adults aged 20-59 revealed lower constipation rates among medical marijuana users compared to non-users. Factors such as demographics and substance abuse were considered. Those using medical marijuana showed a significant 30% decrease in constipation incidences, marking the first population-based study shedding light on cannabis's impact on bowel function.

A UC San Francisco study found that chronic pain sufferers using opioids successfully reduced their doses by incorporating medical marijuana alongside their medications. Cannabis use seemed to mitigate opioid-induced constipation, a common side effect associated with opioid use.

Understanding Individual Reactions and Possible Concerns

While some experience increased bowel movements, others may encounter constipation, highlighting the intricate and personalized nature of cannabis effects on the digestive system. Remember, every cannabis strain is unique–as is every person’s endocannabinoid system. 

Persistent gastrointestinal issues should be discussed with a healthcare professional, as they may indicate underlying health concerns beyond cannabis use. Otherwise, if weed makes you poop and there’s no stomach pain, nausea, or other discomfort, don’t sweat it! It’s perfectly normal. 

Conclusion

Weed's influence on bowel movements intertwines with the ECS, affecting muscle contractions and the nervous system in a way that may make you poop.

The truth is, it can happen with all forms of THC, including dispensary weed and hemp-derived THC alternatives like Delta-8 and Delta-10, but it’s not a huge deal. While weed may move along a bowel movement that was already going to happen, it won’t usually cause diarrhea or urgency. 

For many, this is a welcomed side effect and well worth the relaxing euphoria that comes along with a THC dose. 

Looking for Hemp Derived THC?

Check out our Elev8 Delta-8-THC and Cloud9 Delta-9-THC Collections. All Vida Optima products are hemp-derived and federally compliant, with plenty of dosing options to choose from. Check out our Delta-9-THC Gummies for a delicious, delicate lift into outer space.

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Resources

  1. “Endocannabinoids in the Gut” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4940133/
  2. “Intestinal Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Terpenes in Experimental Models (2010–2020): A Review” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7699610/#!po=3.06122
  3. “The Effect of Lemon Inhalation Aromatherapy on Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy: A Double-Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4005434/pdf/ircmj-16-14360.pdf
  4. “RECENT MARIJUANA USE IS ASSOCIATED WITH DECREASED RISK OF CONSTIPATION” https://advances.massgeneral.org/digestive-health/journal.aspx?id=1542
“Cannabis as a Substitute for Opioid-Based Pain Medication: Patient Self-Report” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569620/

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