CBD has recently be praised as a "miracle drug." However, even though it is holistic and safe, CBD does have some side effects associated with its use. One study on mice has led to some scrutiny over whether CBD oil could be harmful. So, should you be worried? Is CBD oil bad for your liver? <span><b>Introduction:</b> Previous studies have suggested that prescribed cannabidiol (CBD) products may cause elevations in liver tests (LT). This study compared the prevalence of elevated LT in an adult population self-administering CBD with the normal and general adult population prevalences. <b>Mater</b></span> …
What Are Some Common Side Effects of CBD Oil?
CBD, one of the main components of the cannabis plant, is now being looked at as a highly effective remedy for all kinds of conditions.
Although not enough research has been conducted to prove it can cure any specific ailments, research indicates it can be effective in treating a wide variety of health issues.
When you read about all of its benefits, it almost seems like some kind of “miracle drug.”
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a miracle drug.
Even though it is holistic and safe, CBD does have some side effects associated with its use.
How Has This Been Proven?
Some advocates will argue that CBD has no negative side effects, and there are reasons for that attitude.
Indeed, the side effects of CBD are very mild when compared to most pharmaceutical products, but they are still there.
As far as we can tell, the best evidence for these side effects comes from a series of medical trials on Epidiolex.
Epidiolex is a commercial drug and its main ingredient is CBD.
As such, it had to be rigorously tested and vetted by the FDA and other organizations.
They found that CBD (or at least, this form of CBD) had a few negative consequences associated with its use.
These include several minor problems like sleepiness and decreased appetite.
The only serious side effect would seem to be an increase in liver enzymes.
As you probably know, CBD won’t get you “high” in any way.
A different part of the cannabis plant (THC) is responsible for those effects, so pure CBD is non-intoxicating.
However, most users do report that CBD makes them feel calm and relaxed.
This may be an explanation for the reported side effects of sleepiness and lack of energy.
To be fair, we should mention that this aspect is not necessarily a problem.
For those who are dealing with insomnia issues, this side effect could actually be a benefit.
Still, it might be a good idea to avoid driving a car for about an hour after taking CBD.
There were some people in the medical trials that experienced rash, skin irritation, and other signs of an allergic reaction.
This isn’t really too surprising since all plants have the potential to cause an allergic reaction.
This is ironic because CBD tends to have antihistamine properties, meaning that it can be used to fight allergies.
Of course, there are numerous levels of reaction, and some of them are pretty mild.
A mild allergy might be nothing more than an itchy sensation in your nose, while a severe reaction could involve violent puking and breathing problems.
Allergies to CBD products are rare, but it pays to take some precautions.
When using it for the first time, put a small sample on your skin for a test.
Wait 24 hours to see if a rash develops before taking the CBD internally.
Lack Of Appetite
This is something that we didn’t expect to see, mostly because cannabis has a reputation for making people hungry (i.e., “the munchies”).
It would seem that CBD alone has the opposite effect.
After a large dose of CBD, people are actually a lot less likely to eat.
It is believed that this is caused by the action of CBD on the receptors of the brain.
By indirectly blocking the receptors that govern hunger, CBD makes the brain less focused on those culinary desires .
This can be a real problem for those with malnutrition issues or those who are already taking appetite-reducing medications.
However, some have also touted this side effect as a benefit for those who are overweight.
Some of the literature on this subject claims that CBD can cause liver cancer when used in large amounts.
This claim is still a little dubious, but there is one solid fact to be found.
CBD does seem to increase the levels of liver enzymes found in the blood.
In case you don’t know, enzymes are special proteins that the body uses to “kick-start” certain reactions.
Whenever the liver is damaged, these enzymes will begin leaking into the bloodstream.
An elevated level of liver enzymes in the blood doesn’t usually signal a serious condition, but it does indicate some level of trauma to the liver itself.
That is why some researchers claim that CBD can cause liver cancer.
However, this could have been the result of the other ingredients that were present in Epidiolex, so alternative tests using pure CBD are needed.
Based on current research, t he side effects of CBD are extremely mild.
Always stick with the recommended dosages and consult with your doctor before beginning any healthcare regimen.
Is CBD Oil Bad For Your Liver? Here’s What You Need To Know
Any new supplements you are considering adding to your diet should be looked at carefully. Do they fit with your lifestyle? Will they interact with any prescription medications you’re on?
Our extensive research – and that of scientists across the globe – has proven that CBD oil is well tolerated by the human body and that it has very few, if any, side effects.
Taken by itself, there is no negative impact on core functions such as digestion, heart rate or glucose levels, even with higher doses of CBD oil (up to 1,500mg per day).
But one lone study on mice has led to some scrutiny over whether CBD Oil could be harmful to the liver, affecting how it functions.
So, should you be worried? Is CBD oil bad for your liver?
What Is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive chemical compound found inside the cannabis plant. It’s used as a supplement to help support a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, and is most commonly taken as oil drops under the tongue, but can also come in other forms such as absorption drinks and creams.
Despite its roots in the cannabis plant, CBD oil is legal to buy in the UK and in many other countries across the globe, and many consumers claim it’s effective for pain relief, combating nausea, stress, with more than a third of CBD oil users claiming it helps with their anxiety.
Cannabidiol interacts with and supports the human endocannabinoid system by binding to the receptors found in the body’s nervous system.
These receptors pass messages through pathways in the human body to keep the body well balanced, and the endocannabinoid system helps to regulate hormones, sleep patterns and mood, as well as things like appetite and immune response.
What Does Your Liver Do?
The liver is a metabolically active internal organ in the human body. It holds more than 10% of your total blood supply and actually has more than 500 different functions. The three main functions are that it cleans the blood, produces a digestive liquid known as bile and stores energy.
Bile aids digestion in the small intestine by breaking up fats into fatty acids. The liver works to transform all the nutrients we ingest into something the body can use, stores these substances and then distributes them around the body when and where they are required. It also converts toxins into harmless waste products that the body can then get rid of.
To keep your liver healthy you should eat a balanced diet, keep to a moderate alcohol consumption, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight and avoid recreational drugs.
The liver is the only organ in the human body that can regenerate itself. If the liver is healthy and a quarter of its tissue remains in place, it can regrow to its original size within just a few weeks.
Excessive intake of alcohol, fatty food, sugar and salt can all be damaging for your liver. Overindulging in these things can result in numerous problems, including liver failure.
Signs that your liver isn’t working properly include yellow skin or eyes, known as jaundice, abdominal pain or bloating and swelling of the legs and feet.
Will CBD Oil Hurt Your Liver?
Following a single study on mice last year, there have been concerns about CBD oil possibly being damaging to your liver if it is used in high quantities.
However, in the study in question, the doses used for the mice were much higher than humans would take, so the small daily drop of CBD oil which is advised for people is highly unlikely to cause the same effect. Therefore the study doesn’t mimic the typical intake of a CBD user. Scientists have instead said the findings can give an indication of the consequences of a potential CBD oil overdose.
It is the same with any drug or supplement. If you take more than the recommended dose there are always possible consequences, whether it be an excessive dose of grapefruit extract or ibuprofen. Studies have shown that using more than the recommended dose of ibuprofen, for example, can cause stomach ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems as well as greater risk of cardiovascular concerns.
And – obviously – a mouse is not a human being. Although they share very similar genes, which is why mice are frequently used for testing purposes, they are physiologically very different and this must be taken into consideration.
Further research into the findings has shown that using the correct dosage of CBD oil is safe for widespread use, and is well tolerated by the vast majority of people.
This is backed up by the World Health Organisation, no less. Not only that, but conflicting research has shown that the therapeutic properties of CBD oil could actually help improve liver function because of the way it interacts with endocannabinoids to create anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Can CBD Cause Liver Failure?
As CBD Oil is so new to the market, there is still much research to be done into what it can do, how it can potentially help users and any undiscovered risks involved.
However, initial findings suggest that side effects are minimal and it is only if you take a comparably huge dose of CBD Oil that your liver could be affected.
There are three main things to cause liver failure – obesity, alcohol misuse and hepatitis. CBD is not one of these and nor is it currently deemed to be a contributory factor.
The Bottom Line
Taking the correct, recommended dose of good quality CBD pil as part of a general wellness routine is unlikely to cause any side effects, including liver damage. Any side effects reported in humans up to now are very rare – and very mild if they do occur.
Vitally, if you are a CBD consumer, ensure you buy from a reputable source with lab certified products who can verify their contents. If you are already taking any form of medication we advise that you consult your doctor or healthcare professional before taking any CBD Oil or related products.
Observed Impact of Long-term Consumption of Oral Cannabidiol on Liver Function in Healthy Adults
Introduction: Previous studies have suggested that prescribed cannabidiol (CBD) products may cause elevations in liver tests (LT). This study compared the prevalence of elevated LT in an adult population self-administering CBD with the normal and general adult population prevalences. Materials and Methods: Adults 18-75 years of age across the United States taking CBD orally for a minimum of 30 days were recruited from 12 individual CBD product companies in this decentralized, observational study and sent their standard CBD regimen from the company of their choice. An app-based, 21CFR Part 11 decentralized clinical study platform (ValidCare Study) was used to securely automate consent inclusion/exclusion criteria and collect all the data for this study, including: demographic information, medical history, reasons for taking, dosage, current medications dosage, adverse effects, and efficacy. At the end of 30 days, LTs were obtained. Follow-up LTs were offered to all individuals with elevated alanine transaminase (ALT) values. Results: A total of 28,121 individuals were invited to participate in this study, 1475 enrolled, and 839 (female: 65.3%, male: 34.7%) completed the study. Full-spectrum hemp oil was used by 55.7%, CBD-isolate by 40.5%, and broad spectrum by 3.8%. The mean±SD daily dose of CBD was 50.3+40.7 mg. The prevalence of elevated ALT was 9.1%, aspartate aminotransferase (AST) 4.0%, alkaline phosphatase 1.9%, total bilirubin 1.7%, with 85.5% of the ALT elevations 3× ULN. The prevalence of ALT and AST elevations (9.1% and 4.0%) were not significantly different from known adult general population prevalences (8.9% and 4.9%). There was no significant association between CBD dosage and LT values. Thirty-three individuals with elevated ALT levels had follow-up LT performed with 21 having normal LT, 8 having the same severity of ALT elevation, and 4 having an increase in severity, 1 of which ultimately became normal. Conclusions: Self-medication of CBD does not appear to be associated with an increased prevalence of LT elevation and most of the LT elevations are likely due to the conditions/medications for which the individuals are taking CBD.
Keywords: ALT; AST; CBD; LT; cannabidiol; liver function test.
Watkins PB, Church RJ, Li J, Knappertz V. Watkins PB, et al. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2021 May;109(5):1224-1231. doi: 10.1002/cpt.2071. Epub 2020 Nov 21. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2021. PMID: 33022751 Free PMC article. Clinical Trial.
Perry MS. Perry MS. Epilepsy Curr. 2019 Mar-Apr;19(2):93-95. doi: 10.1177/1535759719835671. Epilepsy Curr. 2019. PMID: 30955420 Free PMC article.
Watkins PB, Dube LM, Walton-Bowen K, Cameron CM, Kasten LE. Watkins PB, et al. Drug Saf. 2007;30(9):805-15. doi: 10.2165/00002018-200730090-00006. Drug Saf. 2007. PMID: 17722971 Clinical Trial.
Harmer B, Lee S, Duong TVH, Saadabadi A. Harmer B, et al. 2022 May 18. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. 2022 May 18. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. PMID: 33351435 Free Books & Documents.
Lee WM, Larrey D, Olsson R, Lewis JH, Keisu M, Auclert L, Sheth S. Lee WM, et al. Drug Saf. 2005;28(4):351-70. doi: 10.2165/00002018-200528040-00006. Drug Saf. 2005. PMID: 15783243 Review.
Bailey MM, Emily Mills MC, Haas AE, Bailey K, Kaufmann RC. Bailey MM, et al. J Cannabis Res. 2022 Jul 27;4(1):44. doi: 10.1186/s42238-022-00153-w. J Cannabis Res. 2022. PMID: 35897117 Free PMC article.
Abbotts KSS, Ewell TR, Butterklee HM, Bomar MC, Akagi N, Dooley GP, Bell C. Abbotts KSS, et al. Nutrients. 2022 May 21;14(10):2152. doi: 10.3390/nu14102152. Nutrients. 2022. PMID: 35631293 Free PMC article. Clinical Trial.