Have you ever felt sick to your stomach after taking CBD oil? If so, you're not alone — but the reason you feel that way probably isn't as straightforward as you think. Upset stomach, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal distress are not typically caused by cannabinoid oil itself, but rather by ingredients used to deliver CBD oil into the body or flaws during production.
Without those factors, CBD may even help treat stomach issues. "It's been shown to help heal ulcers and decrease acid reflux," said Dr. Kenneth Brown, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist and doctor of internal medicine in Plano, TX, who often recommends CBD oil to his patients. "When the CBD binds to the CB1 receptor, it decreases excessive gastric acid, helps the lower esophagus prevent reflux, and increases blood flow to the lining of the stomach to help it heal quicker."
CBD is also known to help heal the digestive tract. So, why do some people have issues?
"In my practice, when someone has gastrointestinal issues with CBD, we start with the product, because many times that may be a reason they are feeling sick. Just like all other health supplements, the quality and the source of CBD oil make all the difference," Dr. Brown told POPSUGAR. Quality can be diminished if the cannabis or hemp is grown in poor soil or undergoes harsh extraction processes (often involving chemicals), or if the product is sourced from multiple locations.
Then there's the issue of the carrier, as experts call it. "CBD oil is used with many carriers, including olive oil, coconut/MCT oil, grapeseed oil, emu oil, or hempseed oil," explained Dr. Michele Ross, PhD, CEO of Infused Health and a leading cannabinoid medicine researcher. "If you are experiencing gastrointestinal distress symptoms or an upset stomach, you may have a sensitivity, especially to coconut/MCT oil, which is the most common carrier I've seen. Many people can experience abdominal cramping and stomach pain, especially when consuming large quantities."
If you're experiencing these symptoms, Dr. Ross suggests that you stop taking CBD oil for a day or two to identify that it's the supplement and not some other issue (your diet, stress) that is causing your discomfort. Then, try taking the CBD oil again at half the dose you were taking before. If it's still bothering you, try a CBD oil that uses a different carrier, or perhaps an entirely different method that's applied to the skin, rather than through the stomach.