There are a multitude of reasons you might be taking CBD, but getting some side effects can easily make it feel like the benefits aren’t worth it. Having stomach issues is one of the more common groups of side effects from CBD products, including edibles but especially with oils. However, there is good news: most of the time, the side effect comes from other ingredients in the product and not the CBD itself. And if it is the CBD, chances are your dosage is too high and this is the cause of the issue.
But why does it happen? How can you tell what’s causing the problem? And what should you do about it?
CBD can cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal distress, but this isn’t very common and is usually linked to high doses.
If you get stomach ache from edible gummies, it’s probably another ingredient in the gummies causing the issue.
MCT or coconut based CBD oils can cause stomach aches too.
Try another type of CBD product (such as a different edible, vape pen or capsule) and reduce your dose if you’re experiencing problems.
Drinking chamomile or ginger tea, taking acetaminophen or using Pepto-Bismol can give you immediate relief.
Stomach Issues are a Common Side Effect of CBD
There have been loads of clinical studies on CBD, and – as with all new treatments – side effects are one thing they always consider. A review of the evidence from 2017 went through all of the relevant animal and human data, and generally found that the side effects were minimal and limited, generally being a plus-point for CBD compared to other treatments. However, like all treatments that actually do something, it does have some side effects.
The research covered in the paper identified a few side effects in particular, tiredness, diarrhea and changes in appetite and weight. Generally speaking, CBD is helpful for gastrointestinal issues, but this means it interacts with this area of the body and makes side effects possible, and gastrointestinal distress is often reported.
While CBD can cause gastrointestinal issues by itself, it seems to be related to high dosages more than a necessary impact of CBD. This means that if CBD gummies are giving you a stomach ache, there are two major possibilities: either you’re taking too much CBD when you eat some, or it’s something else in the edibles causing your problem.
Assuming you’re taking CBD for some other purpose, the best approach is to try CBD in some other form. For example, you can try a different type of edible, a vape pen, flower, a capsule or even a tincture (although more on that in a minute). If this isn’t an option, you can try a much smaller dose of the edible to see if that still affects your stomach.
If you can find a different form of CBD to try, then you’ll be able to work out what the exact problem is. If you don’t experience the same symptoms with another type of CBD, then you know it was an ingredient in the gummy rather than the CBD. If you can only try a lower dose, if the symptoms aren’t as bad (or don’t appear) then it was probably related to the dosage you were taking.
CBD Oil is Likely Worse than Edibles for Your Stomach
If you’re having issues with edibles, you may be tempted to try the more traditional CBD oil instead, but you need to be cautious of some ingredients. MCT oil, for example, is known to cause stomach issues for some people, and most people who experience problems with stomach aches and CBD are using oil containing it. It’s also possible that CBD oil with coconut oil as a carrier could also cause problems.
There are many other carrier oils you can use with CBD, so it’s worth trying other options if you also have problems when consuming some oils but still want to take CBD in this way. Another potential issue is the minimal regulation for CBD products, so it’s important to buy your oil from reputable sources, ideally with a lab report to confirm purity and the cannabinoid mix in the oil.
How to Avoid Problems in Future
If you’ve been having problems with stomach aches from CBD edibles, the solutions follow directly from the discussion above.
First, try CBD in another form. It’s more likely that it’s something in the gummy other than CBD which is causing your issue. Try a non-MCT or coconut-based oil, vaping or capsules. Even a different type of edible may be much more tolerable. If you find that something else works, it’s worth looking at the specific ingredients in the gummies that caused you problems: you might be able to identify the component that’s giving you issues and even try other gummies not containing it in future.
Secondly, try lowering your dose of CBD. It’s less likely that the CBD itself is causing you issues, but research shows that it is possible, especially with higher doses. It’s likely not ideal to have to reduce the amount of CBD you’re taking to help with whatever the issue is, but if you lower the dose you might be able to find the right balance for relief without unpleasant side effects.
Both of these solutions unfortunately involve a lot of trial and error, but once you’ve worked out the exact problem then you’ll be in a much better position.
How to Soothe Your Stomach
If you’re in pain right now and you want help for that, it’s best to follow standard advice for stomach problems. If it’s cramping related to diarrhea, you can try Pepto-Bismol, and even simple pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help with stomach pains of all types. Alternatively, drink chamomile, peppermint, ginger, fennel or cinnamon tea, do some gentle exercise (such as yoga) and eat anti-inflammatory foods (such as blueberries, leafy greens, tomatoes, cherries and more).
Luckily for people who want to continue using CBD, it’s more likely that another ingredient in the oil or gummy is the cause for your stomach ache. The challenge is identifying what it is or which products don’t cause you issues, so you can easily avoid problems in future. If your dosage of CBD is too high, you may need to reduce it, but it’s unlikely you will have to stop taking CBD altogether for relief from other issues.