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If you have constipation, take cannabis

It might have been constipation that killed him. Photo: Tullio Saba
It might have been constipation that killed him. Photo: Tullio Saba

Most people have three to 21 bowel movements a week, but if they are at the bottom end of this range or worse, they are considered to have constipation. The formal names for the condition are costiveness and dyschezia. If someone goes irregularly, their stool can be dry and hard, causing pain while trying to expel it. In the United States each year, more than $800 million is spent on prescription laxatives, which ignores the amount forked out for over-the-counter preparations and people often don’t consult a doctor – 66 percent, according to a Canadian study. Constipation doesn’t just go away: treatment is required.

What hath wrought constipation?

Constipation is a major problem. Wimmen and over-65s are more commonly affected. It arises often after childbirth or surgery. The most common cause is a diet with insufficient fibre or water or excessive fat. Lack of physical activity is another biggie. Opiates are frequently responsible for drastic constipation – 81 percent of patients in one study conducted over the internet. People who suppress the urge to “go” can have constipation.

Abdominal, colon and rectal cancer, amyloidosis, diabetes, hypercalcimia, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, multiple sclerosis, scleroderma, spinal cord injuries, a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, poor glycemic control, hypothyroidism and uremia can all cause constipation. Medications that can prompt it include antacids, anti-convulsants, anti-depressants, blood pressure treatments and diuretics.

Constipation kills!

Bad breath, bloating, cramps and a bad feeling are often experienced by people who have constipation, but, worse than that, constipation kills: it can cause fatal heart arrhythmia. Dr George Nichopoulos, Elvis Presley’s doctor for his final 12 years of life, who attempted to resuscitate him when he was found unconscious in his bathroom, believes it was constipation that did for the King and might have been responsible for his weight gain in the years leading up to his death.

Why take cannabis?

Cannabis relaxes the bowels: specifically, tetrahydrocannabinol, the stuff that gets you stoned, relaxes the nerves of the intestinal wall. It might also assist the stomach with digestion. Relief of constipation was one benefit of cannabis cited by emperor Shen-Nung five thousand years ago, since when just about every medical text has acknowledged cannabis doing good in this respect. Laxatives are addictive, while cannabis ain’t. If you’re deathly boring and don’t wish to smoke dope, you could just eat hemp seeds, which is best accomplished by putting them into a blender and adding olive oil and juice.

OK, so sometimes cannabis causes it

It’s rare but not unknown for people who use cannabis to have constipation, in which case, it’s time to try a different strain because the problem results from cannabis’ additional ingredients.

Strain to resist G force

Straining to defecate actually makes you more resistant to high gravity. An untrained individual usually blacks out at between four and six G, where one G is the regular force of gravity. If you strain, you can last for one more G. In the RAF, they even have some name for this action.