Ways how cannabis affects the digestive system

Marijuana plants that are legally planted on wooden floors

Do you suffer from stomach issues? You may be happy to know that your favorite herb (cannabis of course) has many positive effects on the digestive system. While there are some misconceptions about medical marijuana and some deny the positive effects of it on the digestive system, the truth is, there’s lots of evidence that shows that pot can increase the appetite, alleviate nausea, calm the bowels, and more.

Medical marijuana, alternative herbal medicine concept

Don’t believe it? In order to truly understand how cannabis provides relief from digestive disorders, it’s important that you know how it engages with the body.

And, to help you do just that, keep reading for a comprehensive breakdown of how pot affects the digestive system.

The Endocannabinoid System

The active compound in pot (THC) found in cannabis strains interacts with our cells through something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a huge communication network in the body that is composed of cannabinoid receptors, enzymes, and chemical compounds called endocannabinoids.

The endocannabinoid system is responsible for a lot of functions within the body like the regulation of pain, mood, mobility, sleep, immune function, metabolism, and reproduction.  It is also responsible for the interactions between the immune system, gut, and the brain.

The ECS and The Gut

The digestive system is one of the most complex networks in the body. Not only are the brain and the gut closely linked, but the gut is also home to 80% of the immune system and trillions of microflora. In other words, a healthy gut is essential to a healthy body.

Marijuana plants that are legally planted on wooden floors

The endocannabinoid system is vital to the regulation of digestive processes like satiety, hunger, and appetite. And, when THC is introduced to this system, it can have a very positive effect. This is especially true for individuals who suffer from gastrointestinal illnesses like:

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): No one really knows what causes IBS but we do know that inflammation in the gut is a huge part of the equation. IBS can cause either constipation, diarrhea, or both. And, while cannabis can help with inflammation, those with diarrhea specifically may be able to benefit from THC’s ability to slow motility (how long it takes for food to go through the body). Furthermore, a study done in 2005 found that pot can minimize intestinal spasms for those who suffer from IBS.

Celiac disease: Research has shown that cannabinoid receptors have the ability to heal damage to the intestinal lining caused by diseases like celiac disease and diverticulitis.

Cannabis Boosts the Appetite

Just about every pot lover is familiar with a phenomenon called munchies. And, if you aren’t so inclined, the munchies are best described as the seemingly inescapable drive to eat everything in sight.

Many of us take this as an inevitability when consuming marijuana edibles, flowers, or pot in general.  But, it’s actually a little deeper than that.

When we consume pot, the THC in pot stimulates a hunger hormone called ghrelin. But, this is just one part of the equation.

THC also triggers the release of dopamine, a pleasure hormone. In other words, cannabis not only makes you hungry, it also increases the pleasure you get from eating food. And, that is why consuming pot makes you want to eat heaps of food in one sitting.

This is fabulous news for anyone who suffers from appetite loss, whether it stems from chemotherapy or a stress-filled life.

Cannabis May Calm Inflamed Intestines

Suffering from diarrhea? There are studies that show that cannabis may be able to help.


Cannabis helps reduce inflammation and can relieve intestinal cramping. And, in cases of hypermotility (when food goes through your body too fast), it’s proven that cannabis has lots of therapeutic potential.

Cannabis May Help With Nausea

It’s widely known that cannabis has strong anti-nausea properties. This is due to pot’s effect on the central nervous system, which plays a huge role in calming nausea and vomiting.

Furthermore, the endocannabinoid system has a calming effect on the vomiting response. This is just two of the reasons why pot is so highly recommended for cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.

As you can see, cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties are highly beneficial for those who suffer from certain digestive ailments. So much so that, when it comes to a healthy digestive system, it’s starting to look like pot is an essential part of a good diet. And, what’s more? If you or a loved one suffer from digestive issues, cannabis may be one of the lowest risk treatments out there. All these advantages are why many researchers believe that we need more studies on cannabinoids and how they affect gastrointestinal disorders. Don’t you agree?