CBD Oil Side Effects On Liver

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Food industry news, voices and jobs. Optimized for your mobile phone. The liver is involved in a wide range of critical physiological functions. This article explores the ways CBD can affect our liver. Some people believe CBD oil is safe and well-tolerated. Read about the side effects you can expect and what to be aware of.

Study: CBD does not cause liver damage

Despite CBD’s popularity and increasing ubiquitousness, questions still linger regarding the safety and long-term impact of using the hemp and cannabis-derived substance.

Since hemp is now legal and CBD is becoming more mainstream, the FDA has come under pressure to clarify its stance on the ingredient so manufacturers eager to capitalize on the growing demand can develop products that can be sold.

A summer 2019 study involving mice suggested that there may be a link between CBD and liver damage. Critics pushed for a human study, like Validcare’s, saying there are differences between how CBD functions in mice versus humans, and most people would not ingest the level of CBD provided to rodents in the study.

The results of the study are likely good news for players in the CBD industry who may have been fearing heavy restrictions, should the results have raised red flags.

There are still plenty of other health-related questions about CBD to tackle. These stem from the relative newness of the ingredient and the lack of long-term research on side effects or how it may interact with medications. As a result, the FDA has cracked down on CBD-containing products making health claims or statements about what the ingredient can accomplish.

Consumers are showing increasing eagerness to add CBD to their daily regimens, with 40% saying in March 2019 that they would try CBD, according to a study by High Yield Insights. The ingredient got a boost during the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumers sought ways to relax, ease tension and improve sleep quality.

The lack of FDA regulations around CBD has not stopped companies from planning and creating products. These include completely new offerings and reimagined versions of existing ones. Unilever-owned ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s was the first to hint at the possibility of adding CBD to some products after hemp cultivation was legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill. Soon after, Mondelez’s CEO announced that the company is exploring CBD snacks . Smoothie maker Bolthouse Farms has also expressed interest in developing a CBD-infused line of its drinks, but progress has been slow due to regulatory ambiguities , said the company’s vice president of marketing.

Drink makers seem to be leading the charge when it comes to getting CBD products on store shelves. Ocean Spray’s Lighthouse incubator launched a line of sparkling CBD water called CarryOn, while Constellation Brands’ Canopy Growth launched its own bubbly CBD beverage, Quatreau . Truss CBD USA, a partnership between Molson Coors Beverage Company and Canadian cannabis grower Hexo, has also debuted a sparkling CBD drink called Veryvell in the U.S.

With the number of states legalizing cannabis increasing and a new administration that appears more favorable toward the substance, momentum around CBD is gaining speed. Manufacturers have little reason to stop making CBD products to satiate growing consumer demand, but the FDA has a critical role to play in determining how many of them will come to market.

CBD & Liver Damage: Learn If CBD Can Actually Affect Liver Functions!

Studies show a higher prevalence of liver cirrhosis or liver damage in the United States of America than before. It is an important health concern and a significant reason for morbidity and mortality.

Due to the prevalence of liver damage, the use of CBD oil has grown in popularity across the United States. The public has become more aware of the health benefits and the possible adverse effects of CBD usage.

Can CBD Cause Liver Damage?

CBD oil has a low risk of side effects, thus. Researchers used daily doses of 1,500 mg to 3,000 mg CBD to examine the safety and effectiveness of CBD in humans. A sample group took a dose of 1,500 mg of CBD for six weeks; scientists identified no life-threatening negative effects.

Recent research on mice in 2019 found that increased dosages of CBD can harm the liver, garnering significant media coverage. The study also caught the attention of people who have been seeking a major side effect to disprove CBD’s therapeutic potential. Like every other medicine, CBD does have its side effects, but the real question is if it is harmful to liver function when taken in an average dose.

  • Effect Of CBD On The Liver Of Mice

The University of Arkansas conducted research on a group of 8-week-old mice to study the treatment of various dosages of CBD. The research had a problem: there were not enough extensive toxicological studies on CBD safety. It was crucial to establish the effects since companies continue to market CBD and CBD-derived goods.

Likewise, when scientists give mice repeated doses of a lower concentration of CBD (50 mg), it results in liver damage and edema. Due to the difference in the physiology of humans and mice, the size of the liver is one of the many aspects that they must consider. When analyzing the benefits of CBD in human beings, it is vital to know how far these differences fare.

According to previous studies, CBD products, when prescribed to adults, resulted in elevated liver tests. Hence, scientists conducted a study to compare the occurrence of higher liver tests in an adult population who self-administer CBD to the average and general adult population.

Studies concluded that people who self-administer CBD for various ailments did not appear to have increased results in their liver tests. However, the underlying diseases or medicines taken to treat these conditions could be the main source of the anomalies. Self-medication of CBD, when taken in controlled amounts, was not linked to clinical liver damage in adults.

Is CBD Good For Fatty Liver?

All mammals have an endocannabinoid system consisting of (CB1 and CB2) receptors. CBD interacts with ECS and helps in mood, appetite, sleep, and memory regulation. The body naturally produces endocannabinoids. These molecules bind to the C1 and C2 receptors, found in the central and peripheral nervous systems, respectively.

The body’s ability to stabilize and adapt happens in the ECS. The ECS controls homeostasis to maintain balance. Moreover, this network regulates the equilibrium of the body’s many systems and organs, including the liver.

When the liver gets injured, inflamed, or malfunctions, the body’s response is to produce more endocannabinoids. The ECS’s activity is mainly associated with a healthy liver. In fact, the ECS components in the liver are low in concentration.

Emerging evidence indicates that cannabinoids play a key role in fatty liver regulation. They are mediated by cannabinoid receptor activation.

While researchers are still looking into how CBD interacts with the ECS, most results are mainly based on assumptions. But they believe that the endocannabinoids take time to break down. Hence, it enhances the functions of these neuroreceptors in the body.

Can CBD Oil Help People With Liver Cancer?

Studies about cannabis and its efficacy in liver cancer reveal that it can deter tumor cells from spreading. Moreover, scientists revealed that it could destroy cancer cells while preserving healthy cells. CBD Oil is used in various ways to help fight liver cancer and prevent cancer growth. First, it acts as an anti-metastatic agent, inhibiting the development of reserved tumor masses in the liver. Second, it inhibits the growth of new blood vessels, which aid cancer progression.

CBD causes pre-programmed cell death. Scientists discovered this ability while studying the effects of CBD in animals. These anti-cancer features apply to both CBD and THC.

Cannabidiol For Viral Hepatitis

Viral hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) are grave public health concerns worldwide. Both viruses induce severe liver damage if left untreated, resulting in cirrhosis and cancer. Unlike HBV, which has a vaccination, HCV does not. The potential of drug resistance and the high cost of existing medicines led to the discovery and development of cost-effective medications.

With the recent spike in interest in medical cannabis CBD, scientists kept pushing to discover more of its benefits. Researchers are looking into analyzing and verifying the therapeutic potential of CBD liver function.

They found CBD to limit the multiplication of the hepatitis C virus by nearly 90% in a study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy Research. They concluded from this research that CBD has the potential to be further researched as a treatment for viral hepatitis. Moreover, people can use it as a combination therapy with existing medications.

CBD For Hepatic Ischemia

Hepatic ischemia is a prevalent complication of liver surgery and transplant. It causes the liver to be severely inflamed and can even lead to transplant and rejection-related mortality. Moreover, oxidative stress can aggravate the patient’s condition.

Scientists found that CBD has antioxidative properties. Further, it also has anti-inflammatory effects. Thus, it could help to reduce inflammation and protect the liver from oxidative damage. Researchers found that CBD efficiently reduced inflammation and oxidative stress during experiments in labs. Not only that, but it also caused an increase in malignant cell death in the liver. According to other studies, when scientists treated rats with hepatic ischemia with CBD, it resulted in a considerable reduction in liver damage.

CBD For Liver Encephalopathy

Hepatic encephalopathy is defined by psychological disturbances that occur due to liver malfunction. Personality changes, confusion, and movement issues are just a few signs. In severe circumstances, it can lead to a coma.

This condition is usually caused by inflammation. Scientists conducted a study on mice with hepatic encephalopathy to determine the therapeutic effects of CBD oil. They found that CBD oil restored neurological function and cognitive capabilities. CBD also helps restore liver function and regulates the overall level of liver enzymes by lowering ammonia levels in the blood.

CBD For Autoimmune Hepatitis

Inflammation of the liver causes autoimmune hepatitis to an already compromised immune system. The TRP (transient receptor potential) is a set of membrane proteins involved in transmitting various chemical and physical signals.

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Studies report that when TRPV1 is activated, it lowers the inflammation of the liver by activating myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). Hence, blocking the inflammation leads to autoimmune hepatitis.

According to research, CBD causes the TRPV1 receptor to activate. Not only that, but it also helps in reducing inflammation and pain due to the proliferation of T cells. It is safe to say that CBD can help prevent and treat autoimmune hepatitis.

Hemp For Alcohol-Induced Liver Fibrosis

Liver fibrosis happens due to constant liver damage caused by overconsumption of alcohol. Chronic alcohol abuse eventually leads to liver cirrhosis.

Scientists found that CBD has anti-fibrosis characteristics. It hinders the production of collagen by cells that cause fibrosis. Moreover, it can also help to counteract the effects of alcohol-induced liver damage.

Does CBD Oil Affect Liver Enzymes?

There have been conflicting results of studies on CBD oil’s effect on liver function. According to one study, 10% of the participants had increased levels of liver enzymes and had to quit using CBD as a result. Scientists found that CBD improves liver function in other trials. To avoid any possible CBD-drug interactions and minimize liver stress, individuals with liver disorders should limit their use of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. If the individual does not exceed a dose of 20 mg CBD/kg/day, CBD is typically safe for liver function.

Dosage Of CBD For Correct Liver Functioning

There is no right amount of dosage when it comes to CBD and liver. Most human medical trials that suggested precise CBD dosages have been conducted on anxiety, chronic disorders including epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis models. There is yet to be a clinical investigation that looks into CBD’s effects on various stages of liver diseases. Moreover, researchers have yet to determine a proper dosage for this condition.

The ideal dosage of CBD for each person is defined by several factors: weight, age, and gender. Moreover, you also have to consider the intensity of the symptoms, one’s metabolic rate, and experience with CBD products.

The best method is, to begin with a minimal dose and slowly increase it until you achieve the desired relief. We suggest starting with 5 to 10 mg of CBD and evaluating the results for one week. If you believe the amount is inadequate, you can increase the dose to 5 mg and continue for another week, reevaluating the outcomes.

It would be best to ask a physician to measure the most suitable dosage range for you. Also, they should assist you in avoiding possible drug interactions if you are using medication.

Benefits And Side Effects Of Hemp For Liver

CBD can help reduce feelings of anxiety and sadness, control PTSD symptoms, and ease chronic pain. Moreover, it offers protection against some neurological disorders. General enhanced brain, heart, and healthy skin are possible CBD oil advantages. However, researchers need to conduct more studies to figure out how CBD affects these ailments.

On the other hand, the evidence from consumers that the benefits of CBD are many. Further, CBD may provide these benefits without the euphoric symptoms associated with marijuana. Even though some CBD products contain trace levels of THC, these amounts are trivial compared to the amount required to feel high.

CBD oil may be a helpful approach to improving your quality of life. If you are looking for a way to relax after a hectic day at work, CBD may relieve that stress. If you seek treatment for chronic pain and muscle spasms, CBD may help reduce the sensation.

Negative Effects Of CBD

CBD offers a high level of safety. People turn to CBD as a low-risk alternative to traditional liver disease treatment methods. But, when ingested in excessive dosages, it causes a few side effects, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Appetite changes

Some of these adverse effects may occur due to an overdose. Also, ingesting an incorrectly labeled product with more than 0.3% THC can cause such side effects. Lastly, if one obtains CBD from low-quality hemp or is processed with harsh solvents, one will suffer from adverse reactions. When taking high-quality CBD oil daily, the mentioned adverse effects are almost non-existent.

Best CBD Oil For Liver Issues

#1. Flavored Hemp Oil By BudPop

BudPop offers two varieties of CBD oil that include peppermint tincture and natural CBD. The tincture comes in a 1 fl oz glass dropper bottle. Each bottle contains 1,500 mg of CBD and 50 mg of CBD per serving. Further, ingestion is simple because all you need to do is place a few drops of the product under your tongue.

The tincture contains no synthetic compounds or preservatives. It is organically flavored with peppermint and has been lab certified for purity and strength. The tincture is composed of CBD from organic hemp, natural peppermint oil, terpenes, sucralose, and water. Each bottle contains 30 servings which can last you a month or more depending on usage.

BudPop CBD uses hemp farmed in the United States. Both peppermint and natural CBD tinctures contain natural terpenes for that smooth and rich taste. You can use the dropper to measure the amount of oil. Drop the oil under your tongue and hold it for at least 20 seconds. It may take some time for the oil to take effect, and when it does, you may experience a pleasant and soothing calm. You can also change the dose by ingesting a different quantity of drops.

BudPop recommends keeping the tincture in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. They back their products with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Hence, you can return them if you feel that the product is not working for you. However, they only allow returns for unopened products.

#2. Full-Spectrum CBD Oil By Exhale Wellness

Exhale Wellness offers a full-spectrum CBD oil. Its oils are non-GMO, free from preservatives, organic, and made of 100% natural ingredients. Exhale Wellness’s full-spectrum CBD oil comes in a clean glass dropper bottle, and it is available in 600 mg and 1,200 mg. Exhale Wellness offers premium hemp products that are lab tested for accuracy and derived from legal complaint hemp. All products are not tested on animals and are cruelty-free. Exhale Wellness offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 20% off on the first purchase.

How To Consume CBD Tinctures

Most manufacturers sell CBD oils in 30 ml glass dropper vials, which contain around 30 doses of CBD. You can prolong the shelf life by keeping it in a dry, cold, and dark environment away from light. Many CBD users agree that consuming a tincture is one of the simplest techniques to ingest CBD oil due to its easy packing. You only need a few drops sublingually and wait for them to work.

The best method for ingesting CBD oil is sublingual. Hold the oil below your tongue for at least 20 seconds before taking your dose. While the oil is resting under your tongue, the CBD is absorbed by the thin mucus membranes. It avoids digestion and rapidly enters the circulatory system. Holding the oil under your tongue allows the oil to permeate your system quickly. You may feel the results sooner if you keep it under your tongue rather than ingest it.

However, some users may need extra time to select their ideal dosage, and some users may dislike the taste of oils. The natural bitterness of hemp compounds most likely causes it. That is why many companies use various flavors to cover the taste of hemp. Some consumers also report a burning or tingling sensation while using the oil. While this is not hazardous, it may cause CBD users to seek out different methods of consuming the product.

FAQs: CBD Oil & Liver Functioning

#1. How Long Would It Take For CBD Oil To Work?

Several factors determine the time consumed for CBD oil to work. Because everyone is different, an individual’s biology can influence, to some extent, how long it takes for CBD oil to take its optimum effect. You must consider the person’s metabolic rate, age, fitness level, and tolerance.

First, hold the CBD oil under your tongue to allow the oil to enter your mucous membranes. It may take approximately half an hour to know the effect of CBD oil in this manner. It is one of the easiest ways to experience the benefits of CBD oil.

Then there is the alternative of simply swallowing the CBD oil or mixing it with food or drink. You can take it along with your food or drink instead of using it sublingually, but you will have to wait for the effects to kick in. It is totally up to you to decide how to use CBD oil based on your preferences and needs.

#2. Why Should We Use CBD Tinctures?

CBD tinctures can be effective in a variety of ways. CBD products may be pretty efficient at relieving pain in the body. The ECS system is a unique mechanism in the human body. It helps the body govern many functions and activate specific immunological responses. Moreover, this system regulates bodily activities like eating, pain sensation, and sleep.

#3. Isolate, Broad-Spectrum, And Full-Spectrum CBD Oil – What Is Their Difference?

Full-spectrum CBD contains all of the components present in hemp plants, including THC, the chemical that causes a high. In broad-spectrum CBD, the hemp plant includes a number of components, including CBD, but no THC. While you will still receive many benefits, they will be less intense owing to the lack of THC. Isolate CBD is the purest form of CBD. It is purely made of CBD, and no other compounds are present.

#4. What Are The Benefits Of Buying BudPop CBD Oil?

BudPop uses hemp grown in the USA. The hemp used in their oils is organic and free from toxins and heavy metals. The BudPop CBD tinctures are available in two flavors. It is potent and contains legal amounts of THC. Moreover, BudPop offers Certificates of Analysis for its goods, including detailed information regarding their effectiveness, durability, and purity. BudPop provides quick and easy shipping; they will pack and ship your orders immediately and at no extra expense.

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Final Thoughts: Does CBD Prevent Liver Illnesses?

Research has shown that CBD effectively treats various severe liver illnesses, including fatty liver disease, liver cancer, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. High-quality CBD oils offer lots of benefits. Its effectiveness may be therapeutic in various ailments involving liver malfunction. Moreover, it may help to substitute long-term use of certain drugs. A high dosage can cause liver toxicity. Hence, we advise patients to seek medical advice before introducing CBD into their lifestyle. Discuss the dosage and set the best time timetable to avoid probable drug interactions.

7 CBD Oil Side Effects You Should Watch Out For

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Note that each number in parentheses [1, 2, 3, etc.] is a clickable link to peer-reviewed scientific studies. A plus sign next to the number “[1+, 2+, etc. ]” means that the information is found within the full scientific study rather than the abstract.

CBD oil is believed to be generally safe and well-tolerated, but it is not free of side effects. Read on to learn which adverse effects you should watch out for when using CBD oil, how the delivery form influences them, and what you can do to reduce your risk.

CBD Oil Side Effects

First, it is important to remember that CBD oil is considered experimental and investigational and far more clinical studies are needed before we can make any firm conclusions about its supposed benefits [1].

Similarly, it’s an insufficiently investigated supplement with a relatively unknown safety profile. The list of side effects listed in this article is, therefore, not a definite one.

So, make sure to speak with your doctor before starting on a CBD oil regimen.

With the recent legalization of CBD oil in many states worldwide, its popularity is booming and people are taking it for not only its FDA-approved use for seizures, but also conditions such as [2]:

An advantage of CBD oil is that it’s considered generally safer and causes fewer adverse effects than the drugs typically used for these conditions. Chronic doses of up to 1500 mg/day were tolerated well in multiple studies [3+, 4].

Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t cause behavioral and psychological side effects. What’s more, it may even reduce some of them such as anxiety, psychosis, and memory loss [5, 6, 7, 8].

CBD oil is believed to cause fewer side effects than THC and most prescription drugs, even at high doses.

Nevertheless, there are some potential side effects of CBD oil that you should watch out for. Below is a detailed overview of the most common ones.

1) Dry Mouth

Whether you use them for recreational or medicinal purposes, cannabis products will often make your mouth feel as if it were stuffed with cotton balls. Almost 12% of 1500 people responding to a survey about CBD use experienced dry mouth, making it the most common adverse effect [2].

Stimulation of the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the salivary glands reduces saliva secretion, which makes the mouth feel dry. The well-known cannabis compound THC activates these receptors directly. In turn, CBD raises the levels of an activator naturally produced in the body – the cannabinoid anandamide [9, 10, 11, 12].

2) Digestive Issues

Both CBD oil supplements and the FDA-approved CBD medicine Epidiolex have been reported to cause digestive issues such as [2, 4]:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased or reduced appetite
  • Weight loss or gain

Because preliminary research suggests that CBD improves rather than causes nausea and diarrhea, these effects most likely result from the irritating effects of other ingredients (e.g., carrier oils) on the bowels [13, 14, 15].

Alternatively, the loose regulation of supplements may allow for excessive CBD levels in products or harmful contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, and solvents [16+, 17].

In turn, the endocannabinoid system has a role in promoting appetite. The mixed effects of CBD on appetite and weight seen in different studies may be due to its dual effect: it blocks the CB1 and CB2 receptors but boosts the levels of their activator anandamide [18, 19, 11].

If you experience digestive issues from using CBD oil, tell your doctor. He or she may recommend reducing the dose or shifting to another brand.

Contaminants and additives are likely responsible for the digestive side effects of low-quality CBD oil: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and appetite and weight changes.

3) Drowsiness and Fatigue

People taking CBD oil often report feeling sleepy and tired. Indeed, this side effect was observed in early clinical trials and one of the most common uses of CBD oil is to improve sleep disorders [20+].

If the symptoms are very severe, you shouldn’t drive or operate heavy machinery.

The effect of CBD on sleep seems to be biphasic: high doses may increase sleeping time, lower amounts may promote wakefulness. Additionally, levels of endocannabinoid receptors depend on the circadian rhythm. This may explain why CBD tends to cause drowsiness later in the day but has the opposite effect in the morning [21, 22, 23].

CBD oil may make you feel sleepy, especially if you take high doses at night. Low morning doses, on the contrary, seem to increase wakefulness.

4) Dizziness

High doses of CBD lowered blood pressure in a small trial on 9 people. In turn, THC seems to have a more complex effect: it slightly raises blood pressure in people lying down but increases the risk of sudden blood pressure drops when standing up [24, 25+].

As a result, a common adverse effect of CBD – both alone and with equal amounts of THC (nabiximols) – is feeling dizzy and light-headed [26, 27, 28].

If your blood pressure drops too much, you may faint. The risk is especially high in people diagnosed with low blood pressure or on blood pressure medications – such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers. These people should be especially cautious with CBD oil and never try it out without discussing it with their doctor.

CBD oil, alone or with THC, may reduce blood pressure. This can make you feel dizzy and light-headed, especially if you are prone to blood pressure drops.

5) Possible Liver Damage

Several trials testing CBD for seizures found possible liver damage (high transaminases ALT and AST) in 9-25% of the people. The risk increased with the dose and was highest in people also taking the anti-seizure drug valproate, which is known to cause liver injuries [29+, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34].

Similarly, CBD caused signs of liver toxicity (high transaminases, alkaline phosphatase, and bilirubin) in mice and dogs. However, the doses were generally higher than those used in human trials [35, 36, 37].

Make sure to talk to your doctor, especially if you are taking valproate, and never exceed the recommended CBD oil dose to reduce your risk of liver damage.

CBD oil may cause liver damage at very high doses and in people prescribed the anti-seizure drug valproate.

6) Irritability

CBD is often used to curb anxiety, although research suggests it has “inverted U-shaped” effects: moderate doses, but not low or high amounts, may be effective for a range of anxiety disorders and stressful situations [38, 39].

In contrast, very high doses may even trigger anxiety and irritability. This was the case in 7-9% of the children in 2 clinical trials using CBD for seizures and autism [40, 41].

The effect probably involves the TRPV1 receptor, the activation of which increases the brain’s response to stressful situations [42].

CBD boosts the naturally-produced cannabinoid anandamide. While moderate anandamide levels activate CB1 receptors and curb anxiety, high amounts may worsen it by binding to TRPV1. CBD also activates this receptor directly, further contributing to the potential anxiety-triggering effects [43, 44, 11, 45].

7) Immune Suppression

CBD may reduce the immune response. It prevents T cells from dividing, migrating to inflammation sites, and producing pro-inflammatory cytokines. This may be beneficial in people with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis [46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52].

The downside of blocking the immune response is that it may make people with weakened immune systems more prone to infections. Thus, people on immunosuppressants or with conditions such as HIV, diabetes, and Down syndrome might want to avoid it [53].

CBD oil seems to reduce the immune response, which may make people with a weak immune system more prone to infections.

Kidney Health

CBD didn’t damage the kidneys in clinical trials. In fact, researchers believed it protected against kidney injury and inflammation in numerous animal studies [54, 55, 56, 57, 58]. Remember that larger and better designed clinical trials are needed before these findings are conclusive.

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Though more clinical trials are needed, the current evidence suggests CBD oil will not harm your kidneys at normal doses.

On the other hand, people with kidney disease should probably avoid THC-containing medical marijuana without consulting a doctor.

According to a recent review, THC may worsen kidney health and increase urination by activating CB1 receptors. Remember that, unlike THC, CBD blocks these receptors. However, CBD may indirectly activate them by increasing anandamide levels in the body [59+].

Lastly, avoid synthetic cannabinoids at all costs (products like “spice” and “K2” sold in smoke shops). These chemicals caused sudden and severe kidney injury in several cases [59+].

Unlike THC and synthetic cannabinoids, CBD oil probably does not cause side effects on the kidneys; some researchers believe it might even be protective.

Are You at Risk of CBD Oil Side Effects?

Risk Populations

CBD altered the levels of two drug transporters in placental cells. This suggests that taking CBD oil during pregnancy may increase the exposure of the fetus to any drugs that the mother takes. Pregnant women should avoid CBD oil in any case, since safety data are lacking [60].

Taking THC-containing CBD oil during pregnancy and breastfeeding is particularly dangerous, since THC may reduce growth and cause brain developmental anomalies in babies [61+].

Because there are no studies testing its safety in children below 2 years old, it’s better to avoid giving them CBD oil unless prescribed by a doctor.

CBD is thought to be safe in older children, but they may be more sensitive to THC and toxic contaminants such as heavy metals and pesticides than adults. Be sure to use high-quality, THC-free CBD in children and consult the doctor first.

Pregnant women and children under 2 years old should avoid CBD oil due to the lack of safety data; THC during pregnancy is known to be dangerous.

Drug Interactions

Most drugs are broken down by liver enzymes. Among them, cytochrome (CYP) P450 plays a key role. A single CBD dose blocks several CYP enzymes, such as:

By doing so, it may slow the breakdown of several drugs and enhance their effects [62, 63, 64, 65, 66].

Indeed, CBD reduced the breakdown of the sedative hexobarbital, the anti-seizure drug clobazam, and the blood thinner warfarin in humans. It had the same effect on the immunosuppressant cyclosporin and the cannabis compound THC in cells [67, 68, 69, 70].

On the other hand, repeated CBD doses can increase the levels of some enzymes of this group and reduce the effects of the drugs they break down [71, 72, 73, 74].

Plus, CBD itself is broken down by CYP enzymes, especially by CYP34A and CYP2C19. Drugs that block these enzymes (such as ketoconazole and ritonavir) will enhance its effects, while those that activate them (such as phenobarbital and rifampicin) will have the opposite effect [75, 4].

If you are on prescription medication and plan to use CBD oil, ask your doctor about potential interactions and dose readjustment. Additionally, avoid combining CBD oil with grapefruit or other supplements that block the same liver enzymes (such as St John’s wort or watercress).

CBD oil can block or activate liver enzymes that metabolize drugs. This may increase the side effects of both CBD oil and the medication you’re taking.

How Does the Delivery Form Influence CBD Oil Side Effects?

While rapid-release forms (mouth sprays and oil tinctures) deliver CBD directly into your bloodstream, slow-release forms (capsules, edibles, and teas) have to pass your digestive system first. This means their ingredients may irritate your bowels and give you nausea and diarrhea [76+, 77].

However, rapid-release forms will release CBD faster, so you may experience both wanted and unwanted effects sooner [76+, 77].

And since tinctures and sprays are directly applied in the mouth, they will quickly reach the salivary glands and cause dry mouth. Mouth sprays may also cause a stinging sensation and even burns, especially if they contain alcohol [9, 78].

Capsules and edibles are more likely to cause digestive side effects, while mouth sprays and tinctures more frequently cause dry mouth.

Vapes

Vapes bypass the digestive system without irritating your bowels, but they may trigger the other adverse effects faster [76+, 77].

Vaping is considered safer than smoking cigarettes or joints because the oil is heated at lower temperatures that produce fewer toxic byproducts [76+ 79].

However, the additives used as flavorings and thinning agents in vaping oils may still pose some hazards. Although they are normally food-grade, they may release harmful compounds (including the cancer-causing formaldehyde) when vaporized. Their heavy use may lead to [80, 79, 81+]:

  • Cough
  • Dry throat
  • Lung injury
  • Fat particles entering the lungs (lipoid pneumonia – rare)

For instance, one man developed severe lung damage from vaping CBD oil [82+].

Creams & Gels

Creams and gels act locally on the application site and don’t release CBD into the gut or bloodstream. This means they will not cause most of the adverse effects previously described [76+].

However, they may cause allergic reactions with itching, redness, and rashes on the skin. It’s important to note that the reactions can be caused by either CBD or other ingredients in the formulation [83+, 84+].

How to Reduce Your Risk of Side Effects from CBD Oil

1) Drink More Water

The best way to reduce dry mouth when using CBD oil is to drink plenty of water and other hydrating liquids before, during, and after consumption.

2) Find Additive-Free Products

You can reduce the risk of digestive issues by choosing forms that bypass the gut and directly release CBD into your bloodstream such as vapes, mouth sprays, and oil tinctures. High-quality oils without additives may also irritate your bowels less.

3) Take it Before Sleep

If you feel drowsy or light-headed after taking CBD oil, you may need to reduce the dose or take it only before sleep.

4) Increase Wakefulness Naturally

Drinking coffee or tea will help you both stay awake and raise your blood pressure, but it also causes many side effects. Try to get more sunlight first thing in the morning, as it will energize you and help you get better sleep at night. We talk about other natural ways to increase wakefulness in this post.

5) Support Your Liver

Avoid combining CBD with the anti-seizure drug valproate. Additionally, make sure not to exceed the dose and regularly monitor your liver function to reduce your risk of liver damage. Eggs (choline), artichokes, NAC, and probiotics also support liver health. Read more foods and supplements that are good for the liver here.

6) Don’t Take Megadoses

Only very high CBD doses may cause irritability. Make sure not to exceed the dose and try reducing it if you notice this symptom.

7) Monitor Your Immune Response

If you have a weakened immune system, you should consult your doctor before taking CBD oil. You may need to avoid CBD or take a lower dose.

Additionally, you may also want to look into balancing your Th1/Th2 immune response. If you have a slightly weaker immune system and are prone to allergies, you are probably Th2-dominant.

To reduce your risk of CBD oil side effects, avoid products with additives, drink plenty of water, get sunlight during the day, and support your liver and gut health.

Takeaway

Always make sure to speak with your physician before starting on a CBD oil regimen.

CBD oil is thought to be safe and most people seem to tolerate it well.

Low-quality products may contain additives and toxins that can irritate the lungs when vaped and the gut when taken orally. Choose high-quality products to reduce your risk.

Additionally, CBD oil can make you feel drowsy and lightheaded. If you feel tired after taking CBD oil, lower your dose or use it only before sleep. Look to also increase your wakefulness naturally by getting more sunlight during the day.

High doses may damage the liver, but likely only in people taking the anti-seizure medication valproate. Monitor your liver enzymes and look into natural ways to protect your liver.

Avoid CBD oil if you have a weak immune system, as it might make you more prone to infection.

If you take prescription drugs, consult your doctor. Many drugs can interact with CBD oil and increase the risk of side effects.

Pregnant women and children should avoid CBD oil until more safety data are available.

Some people have genes that make them more likely to experience inflammation. Check out SelfDecode’s Inflammation DNA Wellness Report for genetic-based diet, lifestyle, and supplement tips that can help reduce inflammation levels. The recommendations are personalized based on YOUR DNA.

About the Author

Carlos Tello

Carlos spent 9 years in the laboratory investigating mineral transport in plants. He then started working as a freelancer, mainly in science writing, editing, and consulting. Carlos is passionate about learning the mechanisms behind biological processes and communicating science to both academic and non-academic audiences. He strongly believes that scientific literacy is crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid falling for scams.

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