It’s no secret that marijuana is a psychoactive drug. What may be less known, however, is the fact that it can also have some pretty significant effects on your digestive system. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the ways that marijuana can affect your bowels – for better or for worse.
Keep reading to learn more.
The Effects of Marijuana on Your Digestive System
Marijuana is well-known for its ability to give users the “munchies” – that is, an intense feeling of hunger. This effect is caused by THC, the main psychoactive component in cannabis. THC binds to receptors in the brain that are responsible for regulating appetite. When THC binds to these receptors, it stimulates hunger signals, leading to an increase in appetite.
Digestive Risks of Smoking Weed
While the munchies may be a welcome side effect for some, others may not be so thrilled. For instance, those who are struggling with conditions like anorexia or bulimia may find that marijuana exacerbates their disorder. And, of course, there’s always the potential for overeating and gaining weight.
In addition to stimulating appetite, THC also slows down the movement of food through the digestive system. This can lead to constipation and/or diarrhea. For some people, the slowing of digestion may be a good thing – it can make them feel fuller for longer and help to control weight. However, for others, it can be a real problem, causing pain, cramping, and bloating.
Those with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may find that marijuana makes their symptoms worse. This is because THC can increase inflammation in the gut, which can aggravate the symptoms of these conditions.
Digestive Benefits of Smoking Weed
On the other hand, some people find that marijuana actually helps to relieve their digestive problems. For instance, those with IBS may find that cannabis helps to reduce abdominal pain and cramping. Also, those with Crohn’s disease may find that marijuana helps decrease inflammation and improve their appetite.
Overall, the effects of marijuana on the digestive system are largely dependent on the individual. Some people may find that it helps to relieve their symptoms, while others may find that it makes them worse. If you’re considering using cannabis for medicinal purposes, be sure to talk to your doctor first to see if it’s right for you. And, if you do decide to use it, start with a low dose and increase it gradually as needed.
John DiBella is a medical marijuana advocate, owner of The Sanctuary Wellness Institute, and a writer. When he’s not writing blogs about medical marijuana, he enjoys hiking, camping and sailing.