#2 and the Pothead
January 21, 2007 8:51 AM   Subscribe

4:20 Filter: Heavy doper; been one for decades. Every few months, I give my lungs a rest for a few weeks. Why is it so hard to take a dump while I'm clean?

While smoking, I'm quite "regular" and moving my bowels is no trouble at all. But from a day or two after I quit, squeezing 'em out becomes a struggle. Only idea I have relates to the additional munchie food I'm packing away during (chocolate, nuts, cookies and ice cream).
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
Dehydration, possibly? You probably also don't notice how difficult it is while stoned?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:55 AM on January 21, 2007

Withdrawal symptoms. Probably an uptick in anxiety and stress while your brain chemistry attempts to re adjust. I've had the same thing happen when changing medications in the past. Or maybe your dealer laces his stash with Dulcolax.
posted by fair_game at 9:22 AM on January 21, 2007

I suspect the munchie food might be a contributing factor. If you're anything like... uh, this guy I know, or read about in a book, or something... then you're eating larger quantities of food, and food that differs from your usual eating habits (more sugar, oil, fat, etc.).
posted by box at 9:28 AM on January 21, 2007

Change in dietary habits does seem to be a likely culprit.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:40 AM on January 21, 2007

Smokers get constipation for a while when they give up because something in the smoke (nicotine?) stimulates their digestive system. When they stop smoking the body takes a while to compensate for the lack of stimulation but eventually it goes back to normal. Don't know if you use tobacco in your joints but this might be a factor. link
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:58 AM on January 21, 2007

I'm guessing it's because pot is acts as a relaxant. Chemicals don't just stimulate or relax the brain...they work on many body parts to some extent, especially the digestive system. Deprived of a dose that your body has come to find as normal, your colon is a bit tense.
posted by desuetude at 10:40 AM on January 21, 2007

Maybe you're not eating as much?
posted by lemur at 10:56 AM on January 21, 2007

Nicotine tobacco definitely has an effect on the digestive system. And has some of a rebound on quitting. But you didn't mention smoking cigarettes.

I have noted that in my experiences I almost always want to hit up the bathroom an hour or two after smoking up. It correlates enough that I'd describe it as an effect of the drug.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 11:22 AM on January 21, 2007

While studying the usage of pot in the treatment of colon cancer (for the usual reasons: prevention of nausea during chemotherapy, etc.), scientists discovered that THC has strongly beneficial effects on the smooth muscles of the colon, using the body's own cannabinoid receptors. They did studies comparing normal mice to mice who were genetically engineered not to respond as well to THC (poor things) and found numerous differences in their bowel function and their responses to toxic substances in the bowel. The normal mice, when exposed to THC, overall had better and more protective results, as compared to control mice and to mice engineered to lack certain cannabinoid receptors who were exposed to THC.

In other words, smoking pot -- or absorbing THC in other ways -- may protect your bowel walls from damage, ease colitis, prevent some types of colon cancer, and possibly regulate the cell death cycle in existing colorectal tumors. Presumably, it's also having some sort of positive effect on your bowels, too, and your body needs to re-adjust when you're not smoking.

Here's the PDF of the paper, which is from 2005. Relevant lines:
"Massaetal.[5]demonstrated that in response to dextran sulphate sodium, CB1−/− mice produced a stronger inflammatory response in the colon than wild-type mice, suggesting that the endogenous cannabinoid system protects against colonic inflammation. In addition, colitis was reduced in mice when administered with a CB receptor dual agonist (HU210)[5]. Therefore the signalling of endogenous cannabinoid system is likely to provide intrinsic protection against colonic inflammation. These results could have important implications in terms of colon cancer prevention, since patients with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) have an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.

CB receptors are cell membrane G-protein-coupled receptors that are linked through G i/o family of proteins to signal transduction pathways including inhibition of adenylate cyclase, activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase and regulation of calcium and potassium channels (reviewed in [3]).

Therefore the cumulative effects of CB receptor signalling are likely to have important implications in the control of cell survival and cell death with the potential for regulating tumour cell growth."
Just one of the many reasons I support marijuana legalization.
posted by Asparagirl at 11:55 AM on January 21, 2007 [9 favorites]

There is no niccotine in marijuana, but in the UK it's common to smoke tobacco and marijuana together (horrible idea, nicotine is far worse for you then THC, but doesn't get you any higher)

But yeah, it only stands to reason that the less food you eat, the less you will poop.
posted by delmoi at 2:57 PM on January 21, 2007

Give your lungs a longer rest.
posted by flabdablet at 5:05 PM on January 21, 2007

Cannabis is known to have a mild laxative effect. You've probably become accustomed to that.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:01 PM on January 21, 2007

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