Cbd oil for gallbladder pain

Gallbladder Pain

People want gallbladder pain relief without fear of long-term adverse side effects and recent studies show that CBD may help.


Gallbladder Pain

Gallbladder (not “gall bladder”) pain refers to any pain experienced due to a disease or injury affecting the gallbladder. The most common medical conditions that induce gallbladder pain include biliary colic, cholecystitis, gallstones, pancreatitis, and ascending cholangitis. Gallbladder pain may be dull or sharp, achy or crampy, sharp or sudden, and vary from mild to severe depending on the root cause. Gallbladder pain typically affects the abdomen and mid to lower back.

What Does The Gallbladder Do?

It’s important to fully understand the anatomy and function of the gallbladder to gain a better understanding of how certain conditions and diseases contribute to pain in the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a storage organ connected to the liver that stores bile used for digestion. The bile ducts connecting to the gallbladder are termed the hepatic duct.

The cystic duct from the gallbladder joins with the hepatic duct to create the common bile duct, which transfers bile into the small intestines for digestion. The pancreatic duct also joins with the common bile duct before entering the duodenum. Bile is used to break down fats and amino acids during digestion in the small intestines. The gallbladder receives certain biological cues to release bile once the fat and amino acids enter the duodenum shortly after a meal is consumed. Interestingly, women have been shown to experience pain related to gallstones twice as much compared to men.

What Are Common Causes of Gallbladder Pain?

There are various conditions and diseases that can cause pain in the gallbladder. One of the primary causes of pain that affect the gallbladder directly is blockage of any of the gallbladder ducts due to gallstones. The blockage may be partial or complete to stop the flow of bile in the gallbladder ducts. Gallstones may also induce inflammation due to serious irritation or an infection of the tissues surrounding the gallbladder. Obstruction of the ducts results in increased pressure and ischemia (insufficient blood supply due to obstruction of blood vessels), which affects the tissues surrounding the ducts.

Gallstones form in the gallbladder but could potentially develop in any of the bile ducts. The gallbladder normally expels bile through ducts by squeezing the surrounding muscles to create compression. However, if gallstones or lingering bile matter is there, this squeezing may result in either partial or entire obstruction of the bile ducts which presses against the surrounding tissue and may be severe enough to prevent sufficient blood supply.

Blunt force trauma can also be responsible for causing gallbladder pain, such as after an accident or during intense contact sports. Infections of the bile ducts and the gallbladder itself can certainly cause pain as well.

Common Symptoms of Gallbladder Problems

Gallbladder pain varies on the underlying cause, but the following explains the symptoms from common gallbladder issues:

  • Biliary colic (intermittent duct blockage): Sharp and sudden pain that gets worse over time in the right upper abdomen. Pain occasionally travels to the right shoulder of the back, and nausea or vomiting are commonly experienced. The pain typically goes away within 5 hours, but a mild, dull pain may continue for about 24 hours following the incident.
  • Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder tissue secondary to duct blockage): induces severe constant pain in the upper right abdomen that often travels to the right shoulder or upper back. Other symptoms include tenderness of the abdomen, sweating, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and discomfort that persist longer than biliary colic.
  • Acalculous cholecystitis: Inflammation of the gallbladder that’s not due to gallstones and is instead caused by trauma or injury. Severe pain and flu-like symptoms are often experienced with nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and body aches.
  • Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas due to gallstones obstructing the pancreatic duct. Symptoms include severe upper abdominal pain that may travel to the back or shoulder, tenderness of the abdomen, pain after eating, nausea or vomiting, chills, and body aches.
  • Ascending Cholangitis: Inflammation caused by infection to the biliary ducts. Symptoms typically include fever, abdominal pain, yellowing of the eyes, and skin (jaundice), delirium, and low blood pressure (hypotension). Cholangitis requires immediate medical attention.

If you’re experiencing any of the previous gallbladder symptoms, seek immediate medical attention to avoid permanent damage to the gallbladder, pancreas, and other surrounding organs and tissues.

Gallbladder Pain Relief Treatments

If you’ve experienced an episode of severe gallbladder pain then your doctor will likely perform several diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of the pain. These tests include:

  • ultrasound
  • abdominal X-ray
  • CT scan
  • a liver function blood test


Taking an OTC pain medication can help reduce pain and inflammation of the gallbladder. These medications include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and naproxen (Alleve).

If your doctor diagnosed you with gallstones, you may be given a prescription of ursodiol (Actigall, Urso). Ursodiol can help dissolve gallstones, allowing them to pass through the bile ducts. However, it’s most effective against gallstones that are smaller and range from 2 to 3 millimeters. Also, it takes several months for the medication to become effective. You may need to be on ursodiol for several years since gallstones could return if you stop the medication.


Surgery may be necessary in cases where the pain persists even after conservative treatments.

The most common surgery performed for gallbladder pain is cholecystectomy. This effectively removes the entire gallbladder from the body. You’ll be under heavy anesthesia for the entire procedure. Most people recover within a couple of months.

Most procedures involve keyhole surgery laparoscopy or open surgery.

Can Hemp/CBD Oil Help for Gallbladder Pain?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, a naturally found compound from the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabidiol is typically extracted from hemp (cannabis grown without the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It’s then processed into oil and various commodities from foot creams to sports drinks.

THC is the popular compound known for producing the high and euphoria associated with smoking or consuming marijuana. However, CBD doesn’t share THC’s psychoactivity and produces effects that do not cause intoxication or euphoria. This may be very appealing to those with gallbladder pain but can’t be under the influence of a substance, whether due to work, social circles, safety concerns, or personal beliefs but still want pain relief.

The FDA only views CBD as a treatment option for seizures caused by two rare forms of epilepsy under the pharmaceutical “Epidiolex.” However, clinical studies are demonstrating CBD and other cannabinoid’s potential in treating various conditions that cause pain and inflammation. As of now, it looks like cannabidiol may be a promising treatment option for those seeking gallbladder pain relief.

Why are Hemp and CBD Products Getting So Popular?

CBD is exploding in popularity, and there are several reasons involved. The first is that during the midst of a devastating opioid crisis, Americans are pursuing alternatives to traditional pain medication. Drugs like highly addicting opioids come with various side effects and concerns. People want gallbladder pain relief without fear of long-term adverse side effects. Nonprescription pain medications aren’t always effective, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been shown to produce adverse side effects when used in the long term.

Research grants are being awarded to investigate CBD’s efficacy in treating a variety of illnesses that cause pain and inflammation. Studies are also finding that CBD has enormous potential considering its vast array of effects on the body due to indirectly with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is a critical and complex bio-system that’s directly responsible for maintaining homeostasis in addition to various other physiological functions like pain sensation, mood, appetite, sleep, memory, immune function, and many more.

CBD also possesses notable anti-psychotic and anxiolytic properties; studies are already investigating CBD’s role in treating psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression.

The recent 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized the sale and growing of hemp and hemp extracts. This has caused CBD products to explode in quantity because CBD products must contain less than 0.3 percent THC to be legally sold. Hemp is cannabis Sativa grown without the psychoactive compound THC. If a hemp plant produces more than 0.3 percent THC, then it becomes illegal and reclassified as marijuana.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) still lists cannabis or marijuana as a schedule 1 substance, making it illegal to grow, buy, sell, or possess. However, several states have already legalized both medicinal and recreational use of cannabis, with many following in their path. In these states, cannabis use is permitted even when prohibited by the federal government. We know, it’s very confusing.

Hopefully, the federal government will get on the same page as everyone else and recognize that cannabis does possess medicinal properties (Schedule 1 substances are considered highly addicting and are believed to have no medicinal benefit). Always check your state and local laws regarding CBD purchase and use as they do vary by state.

How To Take CBD for Gallbladder Pain Relief

The most common way to take CBD for gallbladder pain is by taking CBD oil and placing drops under the tongue where it’s quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Since there aren’t any established clinical guidelines for dosing CBD, let alone for specifically gallbladder pain relief, dosing will mainly be slowly titrating until pain relief is achieved. To do this, place the smallest amount of CBD oil under the tongue, wait a brief period, then slowly increase the number of drops. Always read the bottle as there are likely dosing instructions and further information about how much and how frequently CBD oil can be taken.

The next most common way to take CBD for gallbladder pain is to apply a CBD-infused topical on the affected area locally. CBD topicals are usually cream, salve, or balm and often include additional beneficial ingredients to help increase its efficacy in providing pain relief. Always check your container to make sure the product doesn’t include any ingredients that may induce an allergic reaction. You could start by applying a small amount of the CBD topical to the upper abdomen area or back and then reapplying after some 30-60 minutes until the pain subsides.

There is no best dose of CBD for gallbladder pain because it’s highly dependent on various factors, including weight, pain severity, metabolism, genetics, and likely more. What works for your friend may do nothing for you. This is why it’s important to be mindful and observant of how CBD affects you and slowly work your way up until you find a dose that’s best for your pain symptoms. Thankfully, CBD is well tolerated by most people, and studies have determined that CBD appears to produce little to no toxicity.

CBD doesn’t normally produce observable side effects, let alone adverse ones. However, side effects from CBD tend to be mild and could be dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, or headache. There have not been any deaths confirmed to be due to CBD, and most people can take CBD without experiencing life-threatening side effects.

CBD for Gallbladder: What does the Science Say?

Gallbladder disease (GBD) is a common health concern that affects millions across the world.

According to the NHANES III, “a total of 20.5 million persons in the United States, 6.3 million men and 14.2 million women, aged 20–74 years, were estimated to have GBD”.

CBD addresses the symptoms of gallbladder problems that cause a lot of discomfort in the patients. But does it actually work? Is it even safe to use?

To understand all of this, we have compiled various studies and researches about CBD and its benefits for gallbladder problems. Read on!

What are Gallbladder Problems?

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ present under the liver on the upper right section of the abdomen. It stores bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver. This fluid is released into the small intestine for proper digestion of fats.

Gallstones or cholelithiasis is the most common gallbladder disease. They are hardened deposits of the bile in the gallbladder.

The size may vary from that of sand grain to a golf ball. The patient can develop one-to-many gallstones at the same time.

Gallstones mostly affect women above the age of 40. According to the Mayo Clinic , it may happen due to the following:

High cholesterol in the bile: When the liver produces more cholesterol than the bile can dissolve, the excess cholesterol forms crystals and then gallstones in the gallbladder.

High bilirubin in the bile: Bilirubin is a chemical that breaks down the RBCs in the body. The body produces excess bilirubin in conditions like liver cirrhosis, biliary tract infections. This leads to gallstone formation.

Inability to empty the bladder correctly: When your bladder doesn’t get empty correctly, the bile gets concentrated and eventually forms gallstones.

Types of Gallstones

Cholesterol gallstones: These stones are usually yellow in color. This is a more common type of gallstones that are formed due to undissolved cholesterol.

Pigment gallstones : Due to the excess bilirubin content, these gallstones are brown and black in color.

Other types of gallbladder diseases are:

Cholecystitis, Common bile duct infection, common bile duct stones (choledocholithiasis), gallbladder disease without stones, perforated gallbladder, abscess of the gallbladder, and many more.

Symptoms of Gallbladder Disease

Here are a few common symptoms one may experience:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chronic diarrhea

Treatment for gallbladder Problems

Depending upon the type of problem, the treatments may include:

  • over-the-counter pain medications, like ibuprofen
  • prescription pain medications, like hydrocodone and morphine
  • surgery to remove gallstones
  • Cholecystectomy: s urgery to remove the whole gallbladder
  • lithotripsy, a medical procedure where shock waves are used to break stones in the gallbladder and other organs

Can CBD help with Gallbladder Pain and Inflammation?

Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive component of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Extracted from the hemp plant, CBD has several therapeutic and health benefits. Pure CBD products don’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC) intoxicating compound

CBD provides relief in gallbladder problems. It also helps in alleviating gastrointestinal symptoms.

People are resorting to cannabinoids as a natural alternative to usual pain medications. This is because drugs like NSAIDs and prescription medicines can have long-term adverse side effects.

CBD is arising as a potential treatment for gallbladder problems due to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is responsible for regulation of pain, sleep, memory, mood, immune response, and other functions in the body.

CBD works to maintain homeostasis (balance) in the body to inhibit the pain sensation, a major symptom of gallbladder diseases.

A 2013 review talked about the role of the endocannabinoid system and the phytocannabinoids in chronic pain management.

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How does CBD help with Gallbladder problems?

According to a 2017 study, “CBD is mostly devoid of adverse psychoactive effects and possesses anticonvulsant, analgesic, anti-anxiety, antiemetic, immune-modulating, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotectant, and anti-tumorigenic properties”.

As mentioned above, CBD not only aids in gallbladder problems but also takes care of the gastrointestinal issues. It also supports gut health and relieves digestive issues.

It works to protect the intestinal cells and gallbladder from chemical or inflammatory damage and inhibits the development of harmful diseases.

Based on the studies and researches available, here’s how CBD can help the patients with Gallbladder and GI issues:

Reduces Inflammation and Pain

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to infection or injury. Chronic inflammation is a common symptom in people suffering from the gallbladder and gastrointestinal issues.

CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, and it works through various receptors, fatty acids, hormones, and cell-signaling proteins to reduce the discomfort in the patient.

Pain is another major symptom of gallbladder disease. The pain can be dull, achy, sharp, or sudden depending on the cause. It affects the abdomen to the lower back.

CBD has analgesic (pain-relieving) properties that can decrease discomfort in the patients

A 2004 study revealed that CBD interacts with the vanilloid TRPV1 receptor to produce its anti-hyperalgesic effect . It was used to treat acute inflammation in a rat model.

CBD has antinociceptive effects t hrough which it can prevent the detection of painful signals by the sensory neurons. That’s why its effects last longer than the usual painkillers .

Heals Leaky Gut

Leaky gut or intestinal permeability is a digestive condition that affects the lining of the intestines. Here the bacteria and toxins leak from the intestinal walls into the bloodstream.

The common symptoms of leaky gut are inflammation, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, etc. It can further lead to gallstones and gastrointestinal diseases.

CBD may help in relieving this condition. A 2017 study concluded that CBD can “ restore the intestinal barrier integrity, through the involvement of the CB1 receptor”.

A 2012 study showed that “phytocannabinoids have therapeutic potential for reversing the disordered intestinal permeability associated with inflammation”.

In another 2019 study , it was revealed that CBD when taken with palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) can reduce intestinal hyper-permeability (leaky gut) induced by inflammation. This is also beneficial for people with Irritable bowel syndrome.

Improves Metabolism

The endocannabinoid system also regulates the metabolic function in the body. It is made up of metabolic enzymes that help in energy storage, transportation of nutrients, and insulin sensitivity.

A 2012 study i nvestigated the association between metabolic syndrome and the development of gallstone disease (GSD). It concluded that more the components of metabolic syndrome are there in the body, higher is the prevalence of GSD.

The use of CBD has shown significant development in treating metabolic disorders like diabetes . However, we require specific studies to prove their use for gallstones.

CBD turns the white fat cells into brown to prevent the risk of obesity. This further leads to increased lipolysis, thermogenesis, and reduction of lipogenesis. It, therefore, improves the user’s metabolic health.

Promotes Brain Health

The discomfort in your gut also affects brain function. A 2019 study talks about this gut-brain connection.

The inflammation in the gut usually causes brain fog, lack of concentration, and even anxiety. It also leads to inflammation in the brain which could develop into neurodegenerative disease.

A 2018 review revealed that CBD can attenuate acute autonomic responses induced by stress by activating the 5HT1A (serotonin) receptors.

Also, it concluded that CBD can show neuroprotective effects by activating the adenosine receptors. It can enhance the signaling of adenosine to mediate immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects in the body.

Pros and Cons of using CBD to Treat Your Gallbladder Problems

Before using CBD for your gallbladder condition, let’s understand its pros and cons:


  • CBD helps alleviate pain and inflammation in the gallbladder.
  • Helps heal leaky gut and promotes overall health by taking care of metabolism and the brain.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO) , “CBD is

generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile”.

  • The patient cannot develop tolerance or get addicted to CBD. It delivers therapeutic benefits without making them ‘high’.
  • Has relatively milder side effects than medication drugs.


  • There are limited studies related to CBD’s efficacy for gallbladder problems.
  • There’s no standard CBD dosage prescribed for its usage for gallbladder.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate CBD except in the case of epilepsy .
  • Due to the lack of regulation and standardization, low quality, mislabelled CBD products are being sold in the market that can be harmful.

CBD and Alternative Treatments for Gallbladder Problems

Many patients go for complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) to relieve gallbladder pain. They can also prevent the further development of gallbladder diseases. This should be done in supervision of a healthcare practitioner. Here’s what all it includes:

Maintain a healthy weight: Being obese puts you at risk for various gallbladder problems. It is important to maintain a healthy weight, reducing your calorie intake, and indulging regular exercise.

CBD also helps in improving your metabolism and reduces the risk of gallbladder diseases related to metabolic syndrome.

Dietary changes: To lower the plasma insulin levels, it is important to make significant changes in your diet. Eliminate fatty foods and refined carbohydrates from your diet.

Try having unrefined carbs like whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables.

Like CBD, these foods will help in reducing inflammation as they get digested slowly and ensure a steady dosage of sugar in your body.

Herbal medicine: You can also rely on turmeric, bupleurum, Oregon grape, and coin grass to reduce the painful inflammation caused by the gallbladder diseases. It may also relieve liver congestion.

CBD is also a herbal compound that comes from plants and treats the health ailments naturally. You can easily add it to your wellness routine.

How to take CBD for Gallbladder?

CBD is available in many forms in the market for you to choose from. Take a look:


The most common way to take Cannabidiol is in the form of oil tincture. As oils are molecular carriers, they hold more cannabinoids than other CBD products. They easily get absorbed into the bloodstream to show desired effects.

How to use : The best way to take CBD oil is sublingually. You need to put it under the tongue and let it sit for 90 seconds and then swallow it. The effects will appear in 15 to 45 minutes.

You can also have CBD oil in the form of capsules, edibles like gummies, baked goods.

CBD Topicals

Another way to use CBD is through CBD topicals. This includes ointments, lotions, and salves. These topicals get absorbed in the skin to provide relief in the affected areas.

How to use: Apply the cream generously on the upper abdomen or back area at the site of the pain. You can reapply it after 30-60 minutes until the pain reduces.

Pro tip: Always check the ingredients of the topical to check if you are not allergic to any of them.

CBD Dosage for Gallbladder Problems

Unfortunately, there is no recommended dosage of CBD for gallbladder diseases. It may depend on your weight, metabolism, cause of the pain, and its severity.

Finding the right dosage is a process of trials and experimentation.

You can either follow the instructions on the package or start with the lowest dosage.

Increase the dosage as required. Once you get the desired effects, stick to that dosage.

For further assistance, consult your doctor.

Side Effects of CBD

Although you cannot develop a tolerance or addiction towards CBD, it is important you do not overindulge in it.

It may cause some mild side-effects, like:

  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

If the side effects become too severe, we advise you to discontinue the use.

Conclusion: Should you try?

Although there is a long way to go for CBD as a potential gallbladder treatment, the present researches spark a promising light of hope. It may become a natural alternative to the drugs currently being used.

As CBD can be procured without any proper prescription, the risk of its side effects also increases. It may even interact with your over the counter (OTC) medications.

Therefore, we recommend you to consult your healthcare provider before taking CBD for any gallbladder problem. They shall let you know if it is safe for you to use given your medical state.

We hope we helped you understand the efficacy of CBD for gallbladder problems. Stay healthy, stay fit!