Interested in CBD oil but worried about how it’s going to affect your kidneys? Read on to find out about how CBD oil might affect your kidney health. The side effects of CBD oil and the symptoms of chronic kidney disease show some similarities. But does CBD affect the kidneys? What does the research say?
CBD Oil Side Effects On Kidneys
CBD oil has taken the world by storm recently thanks to its impressive health benefits. But while CBD has shown impressive therapeutic potential, it’s also important to understand its possible risks. One side effect that some people might be worried about is how CBD affects your kidneys. We’ve done the research to help you understand exactly how CBD affects your body and how it can impact kidney health.
CBD or cannabidiol is a naturally occurring chemical compound that has garnered a lot of attention in recent years thanks to its impressive list of potential health benefits. When you think of CBD, you probably think of cannabis. This is because CBD is found in and extracted from cannabis plants. But CBD is a different product from whole cannabis that gives you different results.
CBD is not the compound responsible for the infamous cannabis high, so when you consume CBD alone, you won’t feel any psychotropic effects.
So why do people take CBD? The main reason for using CBD is its health benefits. Studies tell us that CBD may be effective in helping treat:
- anxiety and depression ( 1 )
- sleep disorders ( 2 )
- inflammation ( 3 )
- seizures ( 4 )
- neurodegenerative disorders ( 5 )
- pain ( 6 )
- skin conditions ( 7 )
There are many ways to make and consume CBD. CBD oil is one of the most popular product options but you can also find candies, lotions, vape fluid, and more.
Does CBD negatively affect your kidneys?
As with any product you add to your routine, it’s important to understand the possible side effects that can occur from CBD use. Some concerns have been raised about how CBD might affect the kidneys, but what exactly is the risk?
A 2018 study did find that chronic cannabis use was associated with a more rapid decline in eGFR, a measure of kidney function ( 8 ). However, this could be because patients with already declining kidney disease may turn to medicinal cannabis to help them manage their pain, nausea, and anxiety.
In fact, when we look at another study that compares cannabis use and non-cannabis use among patients within the same eGFR range, no link is found between cannabis use and kidney function decline ( 9 ).
Even if a link were to be found between cannabis and kidney disease, that doesn’t mean that CBD alone has a negative effect on kidney function.
Research tells us that no evidence has been uncovered that suggests CBD has a negative impact on kidney function ( 9 ). But other ingredients found in CBD products could prove dangerous to kidney health. Contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals can prove toxic to kidney function.
CBD alone brings no risk of kidney damage. But it’s important that you source your CBD oil from a reputable company with third-party testing to ensure that you’re not consuming any dangerous contaminants that could affect your kidneys.
CBD as a treatment for chronic kidney disease
As well as pure CBD oil not having a risk of negative impact on your kidneys, it turns out that CBD might actually improve kidney function. One study using a mouse model found that CBD managed to prevent chemotherapy-induced kidney deterioration. Impressively, CBD managed to reduce the stress, inflammation, and cell death that typically occurs in the kidneys of mice with exposure to the specific chemotherapy used in this study ( 10 ).
A 2019 review of cannabis therapy for managing chronic kidney disease also found that cannabinoids like CBD could be helpful in treating chronic kidney disease symptoms. The study found that synthetic cannabinoids were especially useful in helping to manage chronic kidney disease patients’ pain levels.
While more research is needed into how CBD specifically might help, these results are indicative of the potential benefits of cannabinoids, in general, to help patients with kidney disease ( 11 ).
Other CBD side effects
While CBD might not negatively affect kidney function, it does come with some side effects. The good news is that the side effects of CBD are largely mild. Common CBD side effects include:
- reduced appetite
- dizziness ( 12 )
We know that CBD can’t get you high, and it turns out that overdose is also extremely unlikely. This is because CBD receptors aren’t found in the areas of the brain that controls respiration, meaning that even large doses of CBD can’t affect breathing in any way similar to what occurs during an overdose ( 13 ).
When to talk to your doctor
Even though CBD might not be the cause of any kidney issues, it’s important to know the symptoms of kidney failure so that you can seek appropriate care. The following symptoms can occur due to kidney deterioration and you should reach out to your doctor if you experience them:
- a reduction to your urine output
- swelling to your legs and feet due to fluid retention
- general weakness
- shortness of breath
- pressure in your chest or chest pain
- irregular heartbeat ( 14 )
In severe cases of acute kidney failure, you could also experience a seizure or coma.
The bottom line
While you’re right to do your research about the potential side effects of CBD oil, studies associating CBD with kidney failure is not something you’ll find. In fact, CBD may even help prevent kidney deterioration from occurring.
**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**
CBD oil side effects on kidneys
The side effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil reported so far include dry mouth, fatigue, change in appetite, and nausea. But, does CBD oil cause side effects on kidneys? Let us review in this post.
To precisely understand the gravity of the situation, let us begin with some background facts about kidney disease.
- 10% of people worldwide are affected by Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). And the number of deaths is increasing each year due to a lack of access to affordable treatment.
- CKD was ranked 18th in the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study.
- CKD is progressively getting identified as a global health problem.
- The WHO reports that kidney diseases increase the risks of five other complications that include diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, HIV, and malaria.
These alarming facts indicate the pressing need for spreading primary awareness and information about chronic kidney disease among susceptible populations that could help prevent delays in diagnosis and treatment.
What is chronic kidney disease? (CKD)
Let us quickly recall the vital functions performed by the kidneys.
- Kidneys are responsible for producing varieties of hormones that include vitamin D, erythropoietin (EPO), calcitriol, and renin.
- Regulate the flow of body fluids, water, minerals, electrolytes, chemicals, etc.
- Removal and excretion of excess fluids, toxins, and waste products.
When the kidneys are no longer able to carry out these functions, they create lasting damage over time eventually causing chronic kidney disease. (CKD)
If this damage is irreversible, they stop functioning and result in Kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). At this stage, dialysis or kidney transplant are the only options to support affected patients to stay alive.
Equally important to note that CKD leads to other associated health conditions that affect the blood vessels, heart, nerves, and bones.
Common causes of kidney disease
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure cases.
Some of the other causes that lead to kidney failure are:
- Glomerulonephritis(GN): Glomeruli are tiny clusters of looping blood vessels that filter the blood sent to the kidneys. Damage or inflammation in the glomeruli leads to a leak of proteins and red blood cells through the urine. The excretion process of the kidneys also gets obstructed in such a condition. Hence, waste begins to build up in the blood leading to kidney failure. Infection, toxic drugs, diabetic nephropathy, or lupus are possible causes that lead to such a condition.
- IgA Nephropathy another form of glomerular disease.
- Systemic sclerosis is a condition that arises due to the overproduction of proteins and collagen in various tissues.
- Genetic reasons that cause polycystic kidney disease.
- Severe urinary tract infection.
- Prostate enlargement.
- Goodpasture Syndrome is a rare autoimmune disease that affects the lungs and kidneys. is another cause that leads to kidney disease. In this condition, the protein content becomes very high in the urine but very low in the blood, accompanied by other complications like high cholesterol, swelling in feet, hands, etc. Although not a disease in itself, it may occur along with other conditions.
- Infection, liver damage or elevated liver enzymes, low blood pressure, blockage in the bladder, injury, or prolonged sickness, and hospitalization could cause a sudden renal failure leading to Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)
- Other generic causes include old age, family history, heart disease, ethnicity, etc.
Side effects of CBD oil and Symptoms of kidney diseases – An analogy
General symptoms of kidney diseases.
- External Itching, Renal Itching or Rash, Uremic pruritus ( chronic itching accompanied by pain)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Disturbed sleep
- Short breath
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Sexual dysfunction is common in CKD and ESRD
Now let us look at some of the side effects of Cannabidiol(CBD)
- A 2011 study 1 points out that some studies report that CBD can induce side effects like blocking the liver to metabolize drugs, decreased fertilization capacity, decreased hepatic drug metabolism, decreased activities of drug transporting mechanism, and decreased cell viability.
- References from a 2019 study 2 report excessive sleepiness, sedation and lethargy, fatigue, decreased appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
We see similarities between the side effects of CBD and the symptoms of kidney disease. That does prompt us to inquire further. Let us discuss.
Some takeaways from the same 2019 study 3 are:
- Since the Intraperitoneal ( IP) and Intravenous (IV) routes provided higher bioavailability, they increased the adverse effects and toxicity of CBD. However, the occurrence of such situations is likely in patients receiving treatment for epilepsies and psychiatric disorders.
- Further research is needed to investigate the after-effects of chronic administration of CBD on hormones, enzymes, interactions with other drugs, drug transporters, and toxicity that affects the DNA.
- Excessive sleepiness and sedative effects of CBD are dose-dependent. In most cases, they occur when administered along with other anti-epileptic drugs, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and alcohol.
- Broad dosage range and self-medication also influence the adverse side effects of CBD. The study also points to the variability in CBD products available in the form of tablets, capsules, sprays, e-liquids, and oils as a risk that adds to its adverse effects.
A recent study 4 indicates that currently available research related to cannabis is biased towards recreational cannabis.
In the same lines, synthetic cannabinoids (developed for research purposes) are now turning out to be dangerous recreational drugs. Moreover, synthetic cannabinoids do not get detected on standard blood and urine tests. Hence could mislead nephrologists treating patients with AKI.
Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) is occasionally associated with prerenal AKI.
Other takeaways from this study:
- CBD may increase tacrolimus levels. But a small case study showed that a low dose of CBD administered for chronic pain in kidney transplant patients did not change tacrolimus levels.
( Tacrolimus test or TAC, is conducted to assess the amount of the drug in the blood to make sure if it has reached a therapeutic level and is below the toxic level. )
Reference from the 2017 study 5 : TAC is an immunosuppressant and used in patients with heart, liver, kidney, or pancreas transplantation.
Adding to this inference, another study 6 reports the importance of TAC in immunosuppressive therapy in kidney transplantation. At the same time also points out the increased risk of post-transplant diabetes.
- THC and CBD may interact with the metabolism of prescription medications.
- At a dose of 200mg of oral CBD, maximum plasma concentration showed no change.
- High doses of CBD could increase liver enzymes.
- There is no evidence so far to suggest that CBD has any adverse effect on kidney function.
- If CKD patients used cannabis, they should use the lowest dose and avoid the smoking route to evade pulmonary complications.
Potential effects of CBD on kidneys: what does the research say?
- The 2017 study 7 points out the presence of CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in kidneys and could be activated by cannabis ingredients. But considering the type of kidney disease and state of injury, experimental studies show that its effects on kidneys could be detrimental and beneficial.
- Contrary to the above, a 2019 study 8 reports that although CB1 and CB2 are expressed in the kidneys, the effects of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the kidneys are not yet well understood.
- But the study indicates that preliminary investigations on synthetic cannabinoids used as topicals in uremic pruritus in ESRD are promising.
- When it comes to symptoms of kidney diseases, neuropathic pain is highly relevant in patients with CKD. But, the study concludes that the role of cannabis in symptom management for CKD is limited. It is worth recalling here, the post CBD for back pain highlights the role of topical application of CBD, and its potential to block nociceptive and neuropathic pain.
- However, 4 the 2020 study reports that patients with progressive CKD may be more inclined to use medical cannabis for symptom management. It also adds that the National Academies concluded the existence of valuable evidence for the use of cannabis and cannabinoids to treat chronic pain.
Kidney disease and COVID 19
While the world is still fighting the novel coronavirus, research on it is in swift progress. The magnitude of the epidemic has jolted the medical research fraternity across the globe.
In this scenario, a new report reveals that people hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment are at a higher risk of developing Acute Kidney Injury(AKI). Kidney tubular injury, increased blood clotting, kidney infections are some of the after-effects of COVID-19, adds the report. Moreover, patients who have recovered from COVID-19 related AKI continue to show lowered kidney functions.
Therefore, the study recommends such patients get regular consultations from kidney specialists.
What are the simple lab tests to detect kidney functions?
Kidney diseases are common, painful but they can be treated with early diagnosis. Simple urine and blood tests can help us check our kidney functions.