• Overactive bladder syndrome or OAB is a medical condition where a person experiences an uncontrollable urge to urinate. Health conditions like diabetes, urinary tract infections, or neurological disorders may cause OAB(1).
  • Behavioral changes like diet and exercise may help manage OAB. However, medications and treatments are also available. Some treatment methods include prescription drugs, Botox injections, nerve stimulation, and surgery(2).
  • Results of studies on the effect of CBD on people with OAB show the potential of CBD in managing overactive bladder symptoms(3).
  • People are encouraged to seek advice from a doctor regarding CBD use for OAB.

Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder syndrome or OAB is a condition where one feels an uncontrollable and sudden urge to urinate.

OAB or urinary incontinence is caused when the bladder muscles or detrusor muscles involuntarily contract. These contractions can cause a person to urinate regardless of urine volume in the bladder.

Some conditions that may cause a person to experience OAB include diabetes, urinary tract infections, bladder stones or tumors, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or hormonal changes.

A person with OAB may pass urine several times a day. Persons with this condition may experience emotional stress, interrupted sleep cycles, or sexuality issues affecting their social or work life(4).

Existing Medications

Some behavioral changes may allow a person to manage OAB and improve bladder control and overall wellness.

These changes include engaging in physical activity, exercising the pelvic floor muscles, maintaining a healthy diet, scheduling urination, and limiting smoking and consumption of alcohol(5).

For OAB, other treatment options include taking prescription drugs, Botox injections, nerve stimulation, and surgery(6).

Prescription drugs for OAB include oxybutynin, tolterodine, solifenacin, darifenacin, or fesoterodine. Oxybutynin may be taken as a pill or used as a gel or skin patch(7).

What Studies Say About CBD’s Effects on the Bladder

A pilot study by Maniscalco, Aponte, Bruzzese, and other researchers on the effects of cannabidiol on patients with multiple sclerosis OAB was conducted in 2017.

The researchers conducted clinical trials on several MS patients and evaluated leakage, detrusor muscle pressure, and spasticity.

The observation was done before and after tetrahydrocannabinolcannabidiol oromucosal spray was applied to the patients.

Urodynamic findings after the treatment indicated a significant reduction of post-void residual volume. Bladder volume at the first desire and maximal cystometric capacity also increased. However, the amounts were insignificant.

The results showed that THCCBD oromucosal sprays may improve bladder symptoms and detrusor overactivity(8).

A 2010 review was published in the Indian Journal of Urology on the role of cannabinoid receptors in the bladder. The researchers said that endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 in the bladder periphery may contribute to controlling bladder stimulus(9).

Cannabinoids extracted from the Cannabis plant, like CBD, CBG, and THC, affect the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effect characterized by a high sensation.

As of 2021, CBD has only been approved by the FDA to treat epilepsy(10). Studies are still ongoing to determine and confirm the efficacy of CBD and medical marijuana on OAB.

How CBD Lowers Inflammation and Urinary Frequency

CBD may help manage various illnesses like neuroinflammation, epilepsy, vomiting and nausea, oxidative injury, and anxiety(11).

Neuroinflammation is an inflammatory response in the central nervous system associated with various diseases like multiple sclerosis and stroke(12). These diseases are some of the conditions that can trigger bladder dysfunctions like OAB.

CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. The ECS contains receptors that regulate various body functions(13), like CB1 receptors in the central nervous system responsible for regulating inflammatory responses.

Can CBD Be Used to Manage Overactive Bladder Conditions?

The study by Maniscalco and colleagues showed that CBD as an oromucosal spray may effectively manage OAB(14).

More clinical trials must be conducted to determine if other CBD oil products are as effective as THCCBD oromucosal sprays.

How CBD Works on the Bladder

CBD may affect the bladder through the ECS, particularly the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This effect may help with controlling bladder stimulus(15).

CBD also affects the ECS receptors that regulate inflammatory responses triggered by various neurological conditions like MC or stroke. These neurological conditions are known to cause OAB(16).

Does CBD Create a Positive Effect on the Bladder?

The results from the 2017 study by Maniscalco and his team showed that CBD may have a favorable impact on detrusor muscle activity and help manage OAB symptoms(17).

CBD is well tolerated and does not have the same psychoactive effects as THC, although both compounds are Cannabis extracts. However, the use of CBD may still cause side effects like diarrhea, reduced appetite, dry mouth, and fatigue(18).

Patients with OAB are encouraged to consult a physician or professional health worker to determine if CBD is a practical option in managing OAB.


  1. Overactive bladder: Symptoms and causes
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/overactive-bladder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355715
  2. Ibid.
  3. THC/CBD oromucosal spray in patients with multiple sclerosis overactive bladder: a pilot prospective study
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-017-3148-6
  4. Overactive bladder: Symptoms and causes
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/overactive-bladder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355715
  5. Ibid.
  6. What is overactive bladder (OAB)?
    https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/o/overactive-bladder-(oab)
  7. Overactive bladder: Diagnosis and treatment
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/overactive-bladder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355721
  8. THC/CBD oromucosal spray in patients with multiple sclerosis overactive bladder: a pilot prospective study
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-017-3148-6
  9. Functional role of cannabinoid receptors in urinary bladder
    https://dx.doi.org/10.4103%2F0970-1591.60440
  10. FDA regulation of cannabis and cannabis-derived products, including cannabidiol (CBD)
    https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd
  11. The therapeutic aspects of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) for cancer and their development: From nature to laboratory
    https://dx.doi.org/10.2174%2F1381612822666151211094901
  12. Neuroinflammation: The devil is in the details
    https://dx.doi.org/10.1111%2Fjnc.13607
  13. Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol
    https://dx.doi.org/10.3390%2Fantiox9010021
  14. THC/CBD oromucosal spray in patients with multiple sclerosis overactive bladder: a pilot prospective study
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-017-3148-6
  15. Functional role of cannabinoid receptors in urinary bladder
    https://dx.doi.org/10.4103%2F0970-1591.60440
  16. Overactive bladder: Symptoms and causes
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/overactive-bladder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355715
  17. THC/CBD oromucosal spray in patients with multiple sclerosis overactive bladder: a pilot prospective study
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-017-3148-6
  18. What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use?
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/is-cbd-safe-and-effective/faq-20446700
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