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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Having persistent diarrhea. Marijuana smoker. What could be done?

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Dr. Preeti Parakh

Addiction Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 1486 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 18 Nov 2013 in General Health
Question: I have had diarrhea every morning for the last year and a half. I am sixty years old and I smoke marijuana daily and drink four beers a night. I have had a lot of stress over the last three years (divorce and retirement) On the positive side I eat a balanced diet with a controlled amount of fruit, vegetables and salad with most meals. Obviously trying not to take in to much fiber. Over the counter drugs help minimally but I am concerned about taking to much Salicylates or Loperamide (anti-diarrhea drug), says the guys who smokes so much THC that I am convinced that it gives me the runs, diarrhea. Besides stopping, is there anything I can do. I am losing all my electrolytes so I focus on potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium and staying hydrated. I do get some bad cramps at night so I have to keep the marathon type goo by my bed side. I have a doctor and have talked about all the above BUT I left out all the THC intake as this is a small community??
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Answered by Dr. Preeti Parakh 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Try using cannabis from different source.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Welcome to Healthcare Magic!

Persistent diarrhea in cannabis (marijuana) users has been reported but is not very common. In my opinion, cannabis can cause your diarrhea in three possible ways and the management would depend on the cause.

1) Since the human intestine is known to have receptors for endogeneous cannabinoids (cannabis like chemicals produced by the body itself), it is possible that your regular and continued cannabis intake has disrupted this system. If this is the cause of your diarrhea, then you should try to quit cannabis and wait till the system gets back to normal. Since you have mentioned that quitting is not an option, in my opinion, you can try to cut down on your intake or change the source of your supply to see if that suits you better. The content of THC and other cannabinoids can be expected to vary in cannabis from different suppliers and you may find one that suits you better.

2) Cannabis and alcohol reduce your body's ability to fight infections. It is possible that some kind of infection is responsible for your diarrhea. Since your doctor will certainly be evaluating you for different infections and also be doing routine blood tests, you need not do anything extra and wait to see what turns up.

3) The third possibility is that it is possible that the cannabis you are using is itself contaminated with some bacteria that cause diarrhea. It is not unheard of, though I consider it only a remote possibility as you have been having diarrhea for around a year now. Changing your source of cannabis may help with this too.

I hope this helps you to some extent. Please feel free to ask if you need any clarifications.

Best wishes.

Dr Preeti Parakh
MD Psychiatry
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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