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Diuretics, also called water pills, help eliminate water from the body more quickly. You may have questioned whether cannabis can act as a diuretic or if it might even have the ability to cause diarrhea.
Learn how cannabis can act as a diuretic, how to prevent diuretic effects, and when to be concerned if you’re losing too much water and electrolytes.
How Marijuana Acts as a Diuretic
Cannabis and cannabinoids were used as diuretics in ancient India. Diuretics work by helping your body flush out more sodium and water. Doing so reduces the amount of fluids in your veins and arteries, potentially aiding in lowering blood pressure.
A diuretic result is your kidneys releasing more salt and water, causing you to urinate more frequently. Diuretics may serve many therapeutic and medical purposes and be helpful as a supplemental treatment for heart disease.
The flip side of diuretics is that they can cause you to excrete too much water from your body, potentially leading to dehydration. Diuretics can also cause lower levels of certain nutrients, notably potassium. If you don’t have a preexisting condition requiring diuretic therapy, these “water pill” effects can be bothersome.
Studies on animals have shown the diuretic effects of cannabinoids, but these results don’t always translate to humans.
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How to Stop It
Simply scale back your cannabis use if it has unwanted diuretic effects.. Speak with your doctor before starting a medical marijuana treatment program to see if it’s an appropriate course of treatment for you. Be sure to discuss any other diuretic medications you may be taking and any health concerns you have.
When to Be Concerned
The diuretic effects of cannabis (if they occur in the first instance) tend to be mild unless you are consuming substantial amounts of the plant in a relatively short time. Feelings of weakness and symptoms of dehydration (such as brain fog) are cause for concern.
Furthermore, diuretics may be dangerous for specific individuals. Speak with your doctor before using cannabis if one of the following applies to you:
- You have liver or kidney disease (especially severe or advanced stage).
- You have gout.
- You are aged 65 or older.
- You are pregnant (especially in your third trimester and if you have developed high blood pressure during your pregnancy).
- You have a history of irregular heartbeat/arrhythmia.
- You have certain drug allergies, especially to “sulfa” class drugs like Septra and Bactrim.
- You are on any other type of prescription or over-the-counter drug, but especially the cancer drug Platinol and if you frequently use aspirin or Pepto-Bismol.
You know your body best. Don’t hesitate to seek medical care or counsel even if one of the above conditions does not apply to you.
The Bottom Line
The diuretic properties of cannabis have been documented and date back to ancient times. For some people, the possible diuretic effects of cannabis are helpful and even therapeutic. But for others, exercising caution is essential. It is worth noting that the diuretic effects of cannabis are generally mild.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes a diuretic effect in cannabis, THC, or CBD?
Some research indicated that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis, may act as a diuretic. The possible diuretic effects of CBD are unclear. Still, any cannabis product containing THC and CBD should be capable of producing diuretic effects (i.e., causing you to urinate more frequently and/or in greater volume).
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Do I need to drink more water when I use cannabis?
Drinking an appropriate amount of water (up to 64 ounces per day) is recommended whether or not you use cannabis. For some people, cannabis has dehydrating effects, including a cottonmouth feeling, which may make hydrating more essential. You may also naturally feel thirsty when consuming cannabis and simply desire to drink more water.
If you are urinating excessively when using cannabis, you may want to replenish your system and rehydrate with a glass of water. Watch out for the symptoms of actual dehydration, which include confusion and exhaustion, and reach out to a medical professional immediately.
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