While the science is mixed about how marijuana affects the gastrointestinal system, it might make you less constipated.
If you’re struggling with consistent healthy bowel movements, you might try smoking marijuana. According to new research published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, those who recently smoked weed were less likely to suffer from constipation.
Scientists still don’t completely understand how cannabis affects the gastrointestinal system and digestive process. To better understand the relationship, researchers identified American adults who completed the drug use and bowel movement questionnaires in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey over a 6-year period from 2005 to 2010. Using the Bristol Stool Form Scale, scientists then analyzed the likelihood of an individual suffering from chronic constipation or diarrhea based on recent marijuana use.
According to the study, recent weed consumption was associated with 30% lower odds of constipation. The prevalence of constipation was also lower for those who reported recently consuming marijuana when compared to those who had never used or done so in the past. These results persisted when the scientists adjusted for demographic factors like race, sex, and socioeconomic status.
However, there was no relationship with recent toking and diarrhea symptoms.
“Our analysis is the first population-based human clinical study of marijuana and bowel function providing important insights into the aggregate effects of the various components of the marijuana plant on constipation,” the study’s authors wrote. “Owing to the high prevalence and burden of constipation in combination with the increasing availability of both recreational and medicinal cannabis, further studies are needed to identify how use of whole cannabis, different marijuana strains, and frequency of marijuana use exert their apparent effects on constipation.”
Previous research on marijuana’s effect on the gastrointestinal system has been conflicted. While the authors demonstrated an association between recreational marijuana use and constipation, other studies have provided different results.
“Current evidence suggests that cannabinoids slow colonic transit through actions on the CB1 receptor,” the researchers wrote. “However, a recent clinical trial reported that hemp seed pills improved constipation symptoms among patients with functional constipation, suggesting that the summative effect of the separate cannabinoids in the marijuana plant might have a unique effect on bowel motility.”