Overactive Bladder and CBD – Can the cannabinoid help?

September 16, 2019  •  By Amelia Gerrard

Overactive Bladder and CBD – Can the cannabinoid help?

More than 33 million Americans are affected by overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome. When this is experienced, it can trigger a sudden urge to urinate or involuntary loss of urine known as incontinence. It’s often hard to manage these symptoms because an OAB can be unpredictable and as a result, may cause individuals experiencing OAB to put extra constraints on their social lives, exercise, and sleep, which can affect overall quality of life. 

What is OAB?

According to an explanation by the Urology Care Foundation, when your bladder is full of urine waste, your brain signals the bladder and the bladder muscles squeeze. This forces the urine out through the urethra. The sphincter in the urethra opens and urine flows out. When your bladder is not full, the bladder is relaxed.

With a healthy bladder signals in your brain will let you know that your bladder is getting full or is full, but you know you can wait to go to the bathroom. With OAB, you can’t wait. You feel a sudden, urgent need to go. This feeling can happen even if your bladder isn’t full because the nerve signals might tell your bladder to empty, even when it isn’t full! If the nerve signals between your bladder and brain don’t work properly, OAB can result.

An overactive bladder is determined by the frequency and urgency of urination. Symptoms include:

  • An urgent and uncontrollable need to urinate
  • Frequent involuntary loss of urine
  • Frequent urination (approximately more than eight times in 24 hours)
  • Waking up more than once a night to use the bathroom

Bladder Control and Hemp-derived CBD

Our bladder control falls mostly to the central nervous system, so it’s no surprise that cannabis Sativa-L (hemp) may present alternative treatment options. Cannabinoid receptors are found in both the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. These receptors are activated by endogenous compounds and by components of the cannabis plant.

Due to ongoing research on cannabis and Multiple Sclerosis, a good amount of useful data about incontinence has been collected, both in preclinical studies and a few small clinical trials.

In 2010, an article was published in the Indian Journal of Eurology,which sheds light on the discovery of specific cannabinoid receptors and a family of ligands within those receptors in the bladder that act as a “lock and key”.

And, more recently, urogynecology at the University of Colorado speaks to how the medical community is continuing to seriously investigate marijuana and CBD’s potential to continue to provide relief for OAB.  

Because of these receptors, cannabis works directly with natural cannabinoid receptors in the body’s bladder control pathways. This means the plant can improve urinary incontinence conditions safely, without the potentially serious side effects of conventional pharmaceuticals.

Existing Medications

There are a few medications (that can be prescribed by your doctor) to treat OAB and they target various parts of the bladder control network to provide some relief for bladder control problems. Like any prescription medication, there may be some side effects experienced, including: dry mouth, constipation, dry or itchy eyes, blurred vision, indigestion, urinary tract infection, urinary retention, drowsiness, high blood pressure and headaches. 

In Conclusion

If you are one of 33 million Americans that needs to go to the washroom too often and it’s getting to a point where it disturbs your everyday life, give CBD a shot. It might just positively change your life!


Amelia Gerrard