How Do Edibles Cause Stomach Pain? Symptoms and Prevention

Food prepared with cannabis is usually known as edibles. They are usually taken in the form of brownies, cakes, candies, chocolates, and baked goods. Oils, butter, and also ice creams could be made at home with cannabis.

Edibles are taken for both medicinal and recreational purposes. It is considered to be discreet and deemed as a safer method of cannabis intake by many. However, it is necessary to be responsible and be educated about the side effects of taking edibles.

There can be an array of reasons why you would consider taking cannabis in the form of edibles. However, if you are suffering from side effects then the adverse reactions might overpower the therapeutic action.

One of the most common questions that come up while considering the side effects of edibles is, “Can edibles cause stomach pain?”. Depending on the situation, edibles can cause stomach pain. In this article, we would be looking into how edibles cause stomach pain and ways to prevent it.

Can Edibles Cause Stomach Pain?

Edibles contain cannabis in the form of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or CBD (cannabidiol). Irrespective of which form you take, edibles can cause stomach pain as a side effect. It is quite a common phenomenon.

can-edibles-cause-stomach-pain

Many studies have been conducted on the consumption of Marijuana. Trials have been performed in both animal and human test subjects. The side effects that usually come up are:

  • Fatigue.
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Loss of memory
  • Changes in appetite
  • Alterations in weight

But, the most common side effect that was observed in the majority of subjects was gastrointestinal distress. A review of clinical data and relevant animal studies published in 2017 stated that there are minimal side effects of CBD usage.

But, there is always a chance of developing adverse effects. The patients coming up in the emergency rooms usually show symptoms like episodes of severe nausea and vomiting spanning for several days.

They often report the previous history of such episodes over the past few months or even years. The episodes of nausea and vomiting are accompanied by persistent abdominal pain which can last for days or weeks.

Causes Behind Stomach Ache After Having Edibles

Edibles can cause stomach pain and it is quite a common side effect. However, there can be several causes behind it. It is important to determine the root cause of the reaction before treating the condition. It helps in ensuring proper treatment.

The reason why your edibles are causing stomach ache might be as follows:

Overdose

One of the major factors for edibles causing stomach aches is overdosing. Overdosing on CBD or THC can lead to cannabis poisoning. Statistics presented by the Poison Control Centers in the United States show that between the years 2005 to 2011 there has been a rise of 30% of patients being admitted due to cannabis poisoning.

edibles-overdose

The majority of the poisoning cases were located in states that recently decriminalized marijuana. When it comes to taking edibles, it is hard for someone to identify how much THC or CBD they are consuming.

The concentration of the active ingredients varies in the widely produced cannabis products. It is even harder to determine the amount of CBD in homemade cannabis products. Edibles take more time to be absorbed in the system. It takes approximately 1-3 hours for the effects to show up.

On the contrary, the effects of taking cannabis through smoking show up quite fast. So, when you take cannabis in the form of edibles it is quite tough to realize that you are overdosing. As a result, the symptoms of overdose are effective all at once. Which is worse.

Edibles can cause stomach pain as a side effect of overdosing. Other side effects of overdosing include: 

  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of sense of time and place
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety attack
  • Loss or impairment of mobility
  • Severe bouts of nausea and vomiting

The side effects of overdosing on edibles are quite severe compared to smoking cannabis.

Drug Interaction

Drug interaction is the tendency of any medication where one drug alters the pharmacological effect of another drug. The therapeutic effect of the drug may increase or decrease. The interaction may also produce unwanted adverse effects. CBD or THC is no exception to this.

A statistics on CBD usage showed that around 22% of the US population using CBD has taken it as a supplement or replacement of prescribed medication. When combined with other medication there always remains the concern of adverse effects.

The most common side effects of the drug interactions with CBD are as follows:

  • If edibles are taken with diabetic medication especially metformin, it can lead to an increased or decreased amount of CBD or THC in the blood leading to side effects like a stomach ache.
  • Edibles taken with blood thinners such as warfarin can lead to reduced metabolism of warfarin. It can cause adverse effects that may lead to hemorrhages.
  • CBD is sometimes used as an anti-seizure drug. However, when used in combination with other anti-seizure drugs it has a major possibility of producing adverse effects.
  • Elderly patients have reduced liver and kidney functions. Thus when taking edibles they should be careful while consuming them with other medications. It may lead to liver inflammation and kidney disorders. Thus the edibles can cause stomach pain inevitably.

Thus, care should be taken while consuming edibles if you are already on some kind of prescribed medication.

Form of CBD Taken

The reason behind your stomach ache after edible consumption might lie behind the form of edibles you are taking.  Patients complaining of stomach aches after edible consumption usually have CBD oils in their edibles.

Oils and different kinds of butter produced from cannabis are notorious for causing stomach aches. Mass-produced CBD oils have minimal regulations. As a result, it is hard to know the concentration provided in the edibles. This might lead to the risk of overdosing.

How to Get Rid of a Stomach Ache Caused by Edibles

Irrespective of the reason why you take edibles, the side effects can be quite distressing. The edibles can cause stomach pain which might hamper your daily activities. To soothe your stomach pain first you need to find out the source of the pain.

It is better to follow the standard protocol for stomach pains. If you think it is due to diarrhea then you can take antidiarrheal drugs. Imodium, Pepto-Bismol are some over-the-counter anti-diarrheal drugs that might help.

Ibuprofen and other over-the-counter pain medications can help tackle most kinds of stomach pains. However, if the stomach ache remains or gets worse, it’s better to pay your doctor a visit. They might run some tests and would suggest appropriate medication according to diagnosis.

How to Prevent Further Problems

Precautions must be taken while consuming edibles in order to prevent adverse effects like stomach from recurring.

To avoid the adverse effect you can try a different form of edibles. Edibles containing oils and butter usually lead to severe stomach aches. You can find alternatives like capsules, gummies, and other food products.

You should avoid overdosing to prevent stomach aches. If you are using prescribed cannabis then you can consult your doctor for proper dosage according to the underlying cause behind your condition. You can try reduced dosage if your current dosage is causing side effects.

Be careful of the other medications that you are taking along with the edibles. Drug interactions might occur which might lead to unwanted side effects like stomach aches.

Final Thoughts

Edibles are cannabis-containing food products that can be taken both for medicinal and recreational purposes. Whatever, the cause behind the consumption, if not taken care the edibles might cause adverse effects.
Can edibles cause stomach pain? Well, yes. They most certainly can. So, it is important for you to identify the right form and dosage that caters to your needs without causing any side effects.

FAQs

What are the symptoms after eating an edible?

The symptoms after eating edibles include drowsiness, euphoria, increase in appetite, anxiety, vomiting, hallucination, paranoia, impairment of movement, stomach ache, etc.

How long do edibles last in the stomach?

The edibles take up to 1-3 hours to take effect. The effects last from 6 to 8 hours. The effects depend on the type of edible and the concentration of active ingredients present in them.

Can gummies cause stomach upset?

Edibles in the form of gummies can cause stomach upset if they are taken in doses more than the recommended amount. It can also cause stomach problems if they cause interactions with other substances in your stomach.

Do edibles work less on a full stomach?

Eating before you consume an infused product will help ensure that your body has time to digest the food and clear out any leftover toxins. It is also a good idea not to take on something new when already full from dinner, as this may cause discomfort instead of relaxation!

How long does 10 mg of CBD stay in your system?

Usually 2-5 days, but it varies from person to person.

Sabriha Hasan

I'm Sabriha Hasan, a 3rd year medical student from Armed Forces Medical College. I chose to study medicine to do something for the greater good and to use my skills and knowledge to provide relief to those who are suffering. Writing is second nature to me. I always try to provide readers with necessary information that would not only quench their thirst for knowledge but also help them in long run.

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