Can CBD Help With Hemorrhoids?

  • Hemorrhoids are inflamed blood vessels and tissue in the lower rectum and anus. Risk factors include constipation, diarrhea, and obesity (1).
  • A study from Plos One mentioned that a dysfunctional ECS might cause intestinal disorders, like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and obesity (2).
  • A 2016 study acknowledged that cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), might help maintain regular bowel movements by modulating ECS receptors in the gastrointestinal tract (3)
  • A study published by Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management shared that CBD might reduce pain and inflammation by modulating the body’s immune response (4).
  • A review published in Elsevier mentioned that hemorrhoid pain might cause anxiety (5). CBD has been demonstrated to have therapeutic benefits for anxiety (6)

Can CBD Really Help With Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are inflamed blood vessels in the lower rectum and anus. These blood vessels are similar to varicose veins in the legs. 

The different types of hemorrhoids include internal, prolapse, and external hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids often cause severe pain, itching, bleeding, and inflammation in the anus. Thrombosed hemorrhoids occur when blood clots fill the internal or external hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids’ risk factors include constipation, diarrhea, obesity, anal intercourse, and many more. Management of constipation and diarrhea may help prevent hemorrhoids (7).  

CBD for Inflammation and Pain

The common hemorrhoid treatments are painkillers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil). 

However, some individuals cannot tolerate the side effects caused by pain relievers. Thus, some people look for alternative options. 

Some studies mention how CBD might reduce inflammation and pain.

A study shared by Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management mentioned that CBD has biological activities, such as analgesic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory (8)

Another review acknowledged that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties in different conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (9)

IBS causes inflammation of the colon’s lining. The inflammation causes severe pain and discomfort. 

IBS can also cause hemorrhoids due to repeated bowel movements and straining. Treating IBS can help prevent hemorrhoids (10).

CBD for Healthy Bowel Movement

A healthy gastrointestinal (GI) motility is essential in maintaining bowel movements. A dysfunctional GI motility can lead to constipation and diarrhea

The Frontiers in Neuroscience posted a study that mentioned how CBD was able to modulate GI motility in mice models (11)

An animal study from the Gastrointestinal Motility Society acknowledged that cannabinoids, such as CBD, play an essential role in modulating intestinal secretion (12)

Further clinical studies are needed to confirm CBD’s efficacy in regulating human bowel motility. 

CBD for Anxiety

A review published by Elsevier demonstrated how individuals with pain conditions might suffer from anxiety(13)

The authors learned that pain conditions, including arthritis, stomach problems, migraine, and hemorrhoids, are associated with anxiety. 

A recent clinical study demonstrated the anxiolytic properties of CBD

The study conducted CBD treatments on patients with anxiety. The authors shared that anxiety scores were reduced in 79.2% of patients after CBD treatment(14)

Although more controlled clinical studies are needed to verify its efficacy, the authors acknowledged that CBD might hold therapeutic benefits in treating anxiety. 

How CBD Oil Works to Help With Hemorrhoids

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is composed of cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptors. 

These receptors are located in the immune system, central nervous system, peripheral nerves, and organs. The ECS’s function is to modulate biological processes within the body (15).

Modulating the ECS has therapeutic applications in many health conditions. CB1 can be found in pain circuits in the ECS (16)

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has an affinity for CB1 and CB2 (17). CBD indirectly interacts with the receptors through modulation of the ECS (18).

The ECS modulates a variety of gastrointestinal functions. A study mentioned evidence that a dysfunctional ECS might lead to intestinal disorders, like IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, and obesity (19).

A study provided CBD treatment to patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). 

The authors learned through UC biopsies that CBD reduced macrophages by modulating the immune response. This response led to a significant reduction of inflammatory protein expression (20)

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Hemorrhoids

The Pros

  • CBD has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that may alleviate pain and discomfort caused by hemorrhoids(21).
  • Healthy bowel movements can prevent hemorrhoids (22). CBD may contribute to regular bowel movement by modulating gastrointestinal motility (23)
  • CBD may reduce anxiety caused by hemorrhoids pain(24)
  • CBD has been acknowledged to have a good safety profile for human consumption (25).  

The Cons

  • CBD may cause diarrhea and make hemorrhoids worse(26)
  • If used in high doses, CBD may cause side effects, such as drowsiness, loss of appetite, dry mouth (27), and liver injury (28).

How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Hemorrhoids

Coconut oil is believed to soothe and shrink hemorrhoids (29). Individuals may apply the oil directly to the affected area or put a few cups in the bath.

A sitz bath with Epsom salt is believed to provide pain relief (30). Individuals can sit in a warm bath for 15 minutes after a bowel movement.

CBD bath salts are also available for individuals who want to try a sitz bath. 

How to Choose the Best CBD Oil for Hemorrhoids

Individuals looking for pain and inflammation relief may opt for full-spectrum CBD or broad-spectrum CBD.

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all the cannabinoids in hemp plants, such as CBD, cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and THC (0.3%). 

Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains the same cannabinoids as full-spectrum, except for THC

Some individuals may prefer not to take other cannabinoids. In that case, CBD isolate (pure CBD) is available.  

CBD Dosage for Hemorrhoids

There is no universally accepted dosage for CBD. First-time CBD users may start with a low dose and gradually increase it. 

A study recommended to start with less than 1 milligram to 50 milligrams a day (31)

However, studies have not yet determined the appropriate topical CBD dosing when reducing pain in affected areas

How to Take CBD Oil for Hemorrhoids

Topical CBD products are ideal for treating hemorrhoids since the concentration does not have to go through the gastrointestinal system. 

Individuals experiencing external hemorrhoids may apply CBD topical creams, CBD tinctures or CBD salves to the affected area

Individuals who are experiencing internal hemorrhoids may also use CBD suppositories

CBD vape may not be as effective as topical CBD. Vaping may also come with a few side effects, such as chest pains and chemical irritation (32).

The legalization of CBD in the United States was signed into law in 2018 (33). This law allows for the manufacturing, sale, and use of CBD and other hemp-derivatives, such as hemp oil and hempseed oil. 

Cannabis products and certain cannabis strains are highly regulated. Medical marijuana or medical cannabis remains a part of the controlled substance list of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Conclusion

Studies have acknowledged that CBD might help alleviate hemorrhoids symptoms, such as pain and inflammation (34).

CBD might influence the ECS receptors and modulate the GI system. Therefore, CBD might help in maintaining healthy bowel motility (35)

Individuals can also prevent hemorrhoids by maintaining a high-fiber diet to promote regular bowel movement.

If hemorrhoids do occur, one must consult with a physician and discuss treatment options before taking CBD.


  1. DiPatrizio N. V. (2016). Endocannabinoids in the Gut. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 1(1), 67–77. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0001
  2. De Filippis, D., Esposito, G., Cirillo, C., Cipriano, M., De Winter, B. Y., Scuderi, C., Sarnelli, G., Cuomo, R., Steardo, L., De Man, J. G., & Iuvone, T. (2011). Cannabidiol reduces intestinal inflammation through the control of neuroimmune axis. PloS one, 6(12), e28159. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0028159
  3. Hasenoehrl, C., Taschler, U., Storr, M., & Schicho, R. (2016). The gastrointestinal tract – a central organ of cannabinoid signaling in health and disease. Neurogastroenterology and motility : the official journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society, 28(12), 1765–1780. https://doi.org/10.1111/nmo.12931
  4. Russo E. B. (2008). Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 4(1), 245–259. https://doi.org/10.2147/tcrm.s1928
  5. Lachlan McWilliams, Renee D. Goodwin, Brian J. Cox. (2004). Elsevier. Depression and anxiety associated with three pain conditions: results from a nationally representative sample. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2004.06.002
  6. Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente journal, 23, 18–041. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041
  7. The Mayo Clinic. Hemorrhoids Overview. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hemorrhoids/symptoms-causes/syc-20360268#:~:text=Hemorrhoids%20are%20swollen%20veins%20in,rectum%2C%20similar%20to%20varicose%20veins.
  8. Russo E. B. (2008). Op cit.
  9. Burstein, Sumner. (2015). Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: A review of their effects on inflammation. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry. 23. 10.1016/j.bmc.2015.01.059.
  10. Helvaci, M. R., Algin, M. C., & Kaya, H. (2009). Irritable bowel syndrome and chronic gastritis, hemorrhoid, urolithiasis. The Eurasian journal of medicine, 41(3), 158–161.
  11. Viola Brugnatelli, Fabio Turco, Ulderico Freo and Gastone Zanette., (2020)., Frontiers of Neuroscience., Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Manipulating the Endocannabinoid System as First-Line Treatment., https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2020.00371
  12. Hasenoehrl, C., (2016). Op cit.
  13. Lachlan McWilliams, (2004). Op cit.
  14. Shannon, S., (2019). Op cit.
  15. Khan, M. I., Sobocińska, A. A., Czarnecka, A. M., Król, M., Botta, B., & Szczylik, C. (2016). The Therapeutic Aspects of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) for Cancer and their Development: From Nature to Laboratory. Current pharmaceutical design, 22(12), 1756–1766. https://doi.org/10.2174/1381612822666151211094901
  16. Manzanares, J., Julian, M., & Carrascosa, A. (2006). Role of the cannabinoid system in pain control and therapeutic implications for the management of acute and chronic pain episodes. Current neuropharmacology, 4(3), 239–257. https://doi.org/10.2174/157015906778019527
  17. de Filippis, D., (2008). Op cit.
  18. Ibid
  19. DiPatrizio N. V. (2016). Endocannabinoids in the Gut. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 1(1), 67–77. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0001
  20. de Filippis, D., (2008). Op cit.
  21. Russo E. B. (2008). Op cit.
  22. The Mayo Clinic. Hemorrhoids Overview. Op cit.
  23. Viola Brugnatelli, (2020). Op cit.
  24. Shannon, S., (2019). Op cit.
  25. Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139–154. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034
  26. Bauer, B. (2018, Dec 20). What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/is-cbd-safe-and-effective/faq-20446700
  27. Ibid
  28. FDA. What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/what-you-need-know-and-what-were-working-find-out-about-products-containing-cannabis-or-cannabis
  29. Intahphuak, S., Khonsung, P., & Panthong, A. (2010). Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil. Pharmaceutical biology, 48(2), 151–157. https://doi.org/10.3109/13880200903062614
  30. Abd-Elmaged, Asmaa & Abdelmowla, Rasha & El-Rahim, Tarik. (2018). Effects of Warm Water Sitz Bath on Post-Hemorrhoidectomy Symptoms. 7. 57-65. 10.9790/1959-0706045765. 
  31. Millar, S. A., Stone, N. L., Bellman, Z. D., Yates, A. S., England, T. J., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2019). A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 85(9), 1888–1900. https://doi.org/10.1111/bcp.14038
  32. Shmerling, R.H., Can Vaping Damage Your Lungs? (2019)., Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-vaping-damage-your-lungs-what-we-do-and-dont-know-2019090417734
  33. The 2018 United States farm bill. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/farmbill
  34. Russo E. B. (2008). Op cit.
  35. Hasenoehrl, C., (2016). Op cit.

 

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