Why Does My Stomach Feel Sick with CBD?

why does cbd upset stomach


This is a very common question that comes our way and there are pretty well established reasons in research.

We'll go through the most likely and even shed some light on CBD's role in the gut which is beneficial.

Depending on the type and quality of CBD!

Let's cover these topics here:

  • A quick introduction to CBD and the gut
  • The type of CBD and feeling sick in the stomach
  • Progesterone, CBD, and stomach pain
  • CBD and gut dysbiosis
  • CBD quality and stomach sickness

Let's get started.

A quick introduction to CBD and the gut

We have big reviews on CBD and gut inflammation but let's focus on that feeling sick feeling.

The research is positive on CBD isolate (CBD by itself) and the gut from the bacteria makeup (microbiome) to serotonin which manages the flow of the gut.

The world of the gut is directly under the control of the bacteria mix.  

A study looked at fish oil and CBD combined:

FO and CBD co-administered at per se ineffective doses reduce colon inflammation, in a manner potentially strengthened by their independent elevation of Akkermansia muciniphila.


If something feels bad, it's probably something to do with this mix being out of balance.

We look at CBD and the microbiome but a quick example.

A study looked at CBD and its effect on alcohol use disorder (see CBD and alcohol addiction.

The results involved the gut!:

existing preclinical data suggest that cannabinoids may confer beneficial effects on the gastrointestinal and immune system, such as reducing intestinal permeability, regulating gut bacteria, and reducing inflammation.


Most antidiarrheal drugs actually boost up serotonin and CBD supports serotonin when low (see CBD and serotonin).

Serotonin is a huge player in the GI tract so this all makes sense.

What about really bad gut bacteria like C diff that can wreck havoc on the gut?

First the bad news:

Clostridium difficile toxin A significantly decreased Caco-2 cells’ viability and reduced transepithelial electrical resistence values and RhoA guanosine triphosphate (GTP), bax, zonula occludens-1 and occludin protein expression, respectively


Essentially, C dff killed off the cells and reduced the proteins needed to keep a tight barrier in the gut.

CBD's effect?

All these effects were significantly and concentration-dependently inhibited by cannabidiol


Okay..this all sounds great and we go through dozens of studies around gut inflammation and the microbiome with CBD.  

So…why do so many people complain about stomach pain with CBD?

Let's go there starting with probably the most likely issue.


The type of CBD and feeling sick in the stomach

We only have to ask one question when stomach pain comes up….

Was it CBD isolate or full spectrum CBD?

It's ALWAYS the latter.  We're not surprised as we had the same issue when we first started with CBD…some of the biggest brands out there.

All the research is on CBD isolate.  CBD by itself.

When you start adding in other cannabinoids, plant material, and more, the stomach can definitely react and it's usually thanks to histamine!

Histamine is the player behind the allergic reaction and it has a primary role…

"Get bad things out of the body…fast!".

The stomach is usually where bad things get a foothold hitchhiking on food so histamine is a major player.

It's responsible for the usual symptoms of feeling sick in the stomach and can even trigger vomiting if strong enough.

Symptoms of too much histamine response in the stomach:

Apart from headache, other important symptoms of histamine intolerance are diffuse pain of stomach, colic, flatulence and diarrhoea.


Histamine typically responds to aged foods, fermented foods, alcohol, etc.

Think "old" food which is partially breaking down and therefore showing signs of bacteria load.

Here's the issue…

40-60% of people have histamine issues and that number goes up for women (as progesterone drops) and as we get older.

That's why some people can't tolerate cannabis and THC.  Roughly 30% of people have a histamine response to cannabis.

Learn more about CBD isolate versus full spectrum for histamine or our master histamine guide.

Hemp oil alone can trigger this with all the old plant material and that's the based for many full spectrum CBD's.

We use MCT oil from organic coconut for this reason.  MCT is antimicrobial in its own right.

This is suspect #1 for stomach pain from CBD.  Full spectrum and all the plant material therein.  Just look at the reviews!  

Many people hit this when experimenting with CBD.

Next up…for women.

Progesterone, CBD, and stomach sickness

Progesterone is a master player in the immune system.  Why do women get hit harder with histamine issues especially as they get older?

Progesterone drops by 50% by age 40!  It continues down from there which is why the autoimmune and MCAS creep up during this time.

Histamine is part of the immune system ultimately…a first responder and as P drops, it goes up.

It's probably not just CBD but other foods and even reactions make-up and cosmetics that used to be no problem.

Check out our big review on Progesterone here to learn more.

Let's talk about the gut bacteria next.

CBD and gut dysbiosis

Here's a cause of stomach pain that's usually temporary.

Any big shift in gut bacteria makeup is not going to feel well!  You'll feel sick to your stomach.

If you have a bacteria imbalance and CBD affects it by killing off bad bacteria (like the C diff situation above), this is going to feel pretty bad till your gut rebalances.

You can see this with certain foods or medications as well.  I usually passes in a few days.

We covered the same issue with a burning sensating behind the tonsils.  It's actually a good thing with quality CBD as that's a sign of infection and CBD is anti-microbial.  Goes away in a day or two.

Any big change in diet will do this as well!

One more stop.

CBD quality and stomach sickness

There's just lots of crap out there.  Everyone and their mother came out with a CBD brand with the hype.

You even have bogus stuff from China.  

Look…you have to have 3rd party testing with CBD for the following:

  • USA grown and processed at an FDA registered farm
  • No pesticides
  • No mold
  • No solvents
  • No heavy metals (big deal with hemp)
  • No bacteria

If the product doesn't have these tests easily available, run don't walk.

Our 3rd party testing is available here by batch.  

So a recount to avoid stomach sickness from CBD:

  • CBD isolate
  • Quality CBD with 3rd party testing
  • MCT oil or neutral option that doesn't cause histamine response

You can shop options that meet those specs here.

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