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How CBD Can Help an Overactive Bladder

person with overactive bladder

An overactive bladder is a medical condition characterised by a sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate, a significant increase in the number of times one needs to urinate during the day and night, and unintentional urine leakage. In the UK, 17% of the adult population have some degree of overactive bladder symptoms, and nearly one-third of retirees report OAB symptoms. An overactive bladder may happen for many reasons, including:

  • neurological conditions, such as a stroke, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.
  • nerve damage from pelvic or abdominal surgery complication.
  • hormonal changes during menopause. 
  • bladder stones or cancer.
  • enlarged prostate.
  • acute urinary tract infections.
  • consuming too much alcohol or caffeine.
  • diabetes.

This condition can significantly impact your quality of life, with many feeling embarrassed, uncomfortable and anxious in their daily lives. The good news is that you may be able to manage symptoms of an overactive bladder with behavioural strategies or treatment options, such as physical therapy, medication, botox and, in more severe cases, surgical procedures.

While these treatments are available, there is growing interest in the potential of CBD (Cannabidiol) as a natural alternative for managing OAB symptoms.

What is CBD? 

Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is a non-psychoactive compound and does not induce the “high”often associated with cannabis. CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) which plays a crucial role in regulating several of our cognitive and physical functions including inflammation, immune response, stress and pain perception, and bladder function. 

Can CBD Help an Overactive Bladder? 

Researchers believe that the cannabinoids in CBD bind to our endocannabinoid receptors and activate them, which triggers certain actions that appear to help an overactive bladder. Let’s look at this in more detail, including what the existing scientific research says.

Relaxes Bladder 

OAB is often associated with bladder muscle dysfunction, leading to involuntary contractions of the detrusor muscle. CBD may help an overactive bladder with its muscle-relaxant properties, reducing detrusor overactivity, contractions and the urge to urinate. 

In a 2017 study detrusor overactivity on rats, rats were divided into four groups: a control group (normal rats) and three groups with bladder outlet blockages. After using substances to activate CB1 and CB2 receptors in the rats with bladder problems, it was found that this substance improved the rats’ bladder function. 

Another 2017 review of studies concluded that the expression of CB1 and CB2 receptors in the lower urinary tract is relevant to effects of cannabinoids on voiding dysfunction. In addition to this, the review concluded that CB1 and CB2 receptors may be novel targets for therapies designed to treat diseases afflicting the lower urinary tract and the management of malignancy (the state or presence of a malignant tumour) in the bladder. 

Reduces Inflammation 

CBD has proven anti-inflammatory properties, which can help regulate the body’s inflammatory response and reduce neuroinflammation.

Neuroinflammation is associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s disease, which are two leading causes for an overactive bladder.

An earlier 2006 study which looked at the effects of cannabinoids on urge incontinence in 630 people MS showed a reduction in urge incontinence episodes for groups that received cannabis extract (38%) and THC (22%).

Researchers in a 2017 review of people with MS who experienced bladder control issues found evidence to suggest cannabinoids could help to reduce incontinence episodes.

Regulates Brain to Bladder Signals 

If it’s a signalling issue that is causing your detrusor muscle to spasm and contract, CBD can also have an impact on the signals between your brain and bladder, reducing the number of misfires that make your bladder overactive. As touched on above, CBD interacts with the ECS by binding to cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) and may modulate signalling pathways associated with bladder function.

Relieves Anxiety 

CBD has anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties, which can be beneficial for OAB sufferers, as stress and anxiety often accompanies the condition and exacerbate its symptoms. 

In a large retrospective case series at a psychiatric clinic involving clinical application of CBD for anxiety and sleep complaints, anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased during the study duration.

In a 2019 study, which compared the acute effects of different doses of CBD and placebo in healthy volunteers performing a simulated public speaking test (SPST) — a well-tested anxiety-inducing method — CBD significantly reduced anxiety compared to placebo.

In another 2019 study on the anxiolytic effects of repeated cannabidiol treatment in teenagers with social anxiety disorders, participants treated with CBD became positive in their attitude toward seeking treatment.

A more recent 2022 review of studies concluded that existing literature supports the efficacy of acute CBD for improving social anxiety, without sedative or cognitive side effects.

Using CBD For an Overactive Bladder

There are no specific CBD products that have been approved for the treatment of an overactive bladder. However, CBD has shown great promise in alleviating the causes and symptoms of an overactive bladder, and is generally considered safe and well-tolerated. There are just a few things to keep in mind before you invest:.

  • Safety and Side Effects: Although CBD is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, it can cause mild side effects, such as dry mouth and fatigue. It might also interact with certain medications, so it is essential for patients to consult with their doctor before starting CBD treatment.
  • Source and Quality: Choose CBD derived from organically grown hemp, as this ensures minimal exposure to harmful chemicals. You should also look for third-party laboratory reports to verify how pure and potent your product is, and to ensure there are no contaminants.
  • Type of CBD: Broad-spectrum CBD is a great option for those who want to experience the effects of CBD without consuming THC, the psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. Some clinical reports suggest that broad or full-spectrum CBD may have a better effect due to the number of cannabinoids and other plant compounds they contain that work together, otherwise known as the entourage effect. CBD products come in various forms, such as oils, capsules, edibles, and vape pens, so you should choose a delivery method and dosage that suits your need.
  • Dosage: Finding the right dose and administration method can be a trial-and-error process as results can vary significantly from person to person. Start with a low dose and gradually increase it while monitoring its effects.
  • Individual Variability: The effectiveness of CBD may vary from person to person; what works for one individual may not work for another.

We are Purity Hemp, the UK’s #1 Online CBD provider. Backed by science, and built on the principles of traceability, transparency & trust, we are dedicated to improving the health & wellness of all our customers.

We are proud to be one of the only companies to guarantee full traceability from seed to shelf with our premium range of products, tested by third-party, independent quality control analysts.

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  • Shake well before use
  • Add dose directly to your pet’s food, stirring it in if necessary
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Weight of Pet Regular Dosage Strong Dosage
Up to 20lbs/9kg 1 to 4 drops 4 to 8 drops
20 to 40lbs/9-18kg 2 to 8 drops 8 to 16 drops
Over 40lbs/18kg 4 to 20 drops 16 to 40 drops

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*This product is sold for use by pets only, as it contains CBD Isolate.

We recommend discussing the use of CBD with a qualified vet, especially if your pet is pregnant or nursing a litter.

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