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? ‘Hopefully it stands up — because otherwise, we’re kind of all owed an explanation for why this was pushed on us.’
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.
64 million Americans have tried CBD and now the FDA says it could cause liver damage
‘Hopefully it stands up — because otherwise, we’re kind of all owed an explanation for why this was pushed on us’
The FDA issued a warning to consumers about potential health effects from CBD, including liver damage.
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Brandon Warne, a Minnesota Twins beat reporter for the sports news outlet Zone Coverage, started taking cannabidiol (CBD) in August after growing increasingly frustrated with his depression and anxiety medications over the past four years.
“I was just at a point where nothing was working for me,” Warne, 33, of Minnesota’s Twin Cities area, told MarketWatch. “I was just trying to branch out because I was just so upset [and] distraught with my lack of progress towards mental health.”
Under the guidance of his psychiatrist and therapist, Warne started taking CBD and pared down his medication list. He tapered off the antidepressants bupropion GSK, -2.00% and Effexor PFE, -1.92% , but continued to take his anti-anxiety medication, buspirone TEVA, -2.72% , after experiencing “wicked side effects” from trying to go off of it. He now takes CBD in the form of a 0.5-ml dose of Clean Remedies full-spectrum hemp extract oil every morning, and plans to eventually try to taper the buspirone as well.
Warne, who received his diagnoses after his grandfather’s death, wonders whether he was misdiagnosed. But the results he has seen since taking CBD, he said, have been “moderately positive.” “I’ve been feeling great since I got off my meds,” he said.
“ ‘We remain concerned that some people wrongly think that the myriad of CBD products on the market, many of which are illegal, have been evaluated by the FDA and determined to be safe, or that trying CBD ‘can’t hurt.’ ”
— — Amy Abernethy, FDA principal deputy commissioner
Warne isn’t entirely sure whether it’s the CBD oil or being off his meds that’s causing the improvement, but he is willing to continue trying CBD when he’s done with his current bottle. He said he still has “research” to do on the matter — and a new FDA warning backs him up.
The Food and Drug Administration said late Monday that what you don’t know about CBD might hurt you and warned that it could cause serious health problems, including liver damage.
The warning comes as millions of consumers have jumped on board with the non-psychoactive cannabis compound for reasons relating to health, wellness and recreation, and CBD has popped up on restaurant menus, in post-workout salves and in bath bombs.
The FDA sent letters warning 15 companies for illegally selling CBD-containing products. The federal agency also updated its position to clarify that the substance increasingly infused in pills, lotions, food products and wellness beverages “has the potential to harm you, and harm can happen even before you become aware of it.”
“We remain concerned that some people wrongly think that the myriad of CBD products on the market, many of which are illegal, have been evaluated by the FDA and determined to be safe, or that trying CBD ‘can’t hurt,’” Amy Abernethy, the FDA’s principal deputy commissioner, said in a statement.
The only CBD product approved by the FDA is the prescription drug Epidiolex, which treats pediatric epilepsy. It’s illegal to market CBD as a dietary supplement.
The compound can cause liver injury, interact with other drugs, and increase the risk of drowsiness and sedation when used with alcohol, the FDA said. Studies using lab animals have also shown negative impacts on the male reproductive system, though the takeaway for human patients remains unclear, the FDA said.
The agency also provided a list of potential side effects related to CBD, including sleepiness, diarrhea and/or a decrease in appetite, and mood changes such as agitation and irritability.
Many questions, not many answers
Scientists still don’t know what happens if a person consumes CBD daily for sustained time periods; the compound’s effect on children who take CBD, growing fetuses or breastfed newborns; its interactions with herbs and botanicals; and whether it leads to the same male reproductive problems in men as observed in animals, the FDA said.
What’s more, the FDA is concerned about “a lack of appropriate processing controls and practices”: Many products tested by the FDA have contained different CBD levels than what manufacturers claimed, and there have been reports of products containing unsafe levels of pesticides, heavy metals and THC, the agency said.
“I still don’t think it’s so harmful that I shouldn’t use what I have,” Warne said in response to the new FDA warning. “But it certainly makes me question how settled the science is … and maybe it’s not as ironclad as I thought it was before.”
64 million Americans have tried CBD
Research published this year by the consumer-data firm MRI-Simmons estimated that 3.7 million U.S. adults were CBD consumers, with a median age of 45. Even more appear to have dabbled in the substance: Some 64 million Americans — 26% of the country — report having tried CBD in the last two years, according to a nationally representative Consumer Reports survey of more than 4,000 people conducted in January. One in seven of those respondents reported daily use.
And many CBD users use the compound for its health potential, though their outcomes tend to be mixed.
More than a third of respondents to the Consumer Reports survey said they used CBD to reduce stress or anxiety or promote relaxation; 63% of those people said the compound was “extremely or very effective” at doing so, while 16% said it was not at all or only slightly effective. Nearly one in four respondents said they used CBD to help with joint pain, with 38% calling it “extremely or very effective” and 27% saying it was slightly or not at all effective.
The Mayo Clinic says that “although some research appears to indicate that CBD might hold benefit for treating anxiety-related disorders, more study is needed.” And physician Peter Grinspoon, writing on the Harvard Health Blog, noted that an animal study had shown that applying CBD to the skin could help lower arthritis-related pain and inflammation. “More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control,” he added.
Warne is not alone in using CBD to replace or supplement a medication: 30% of respondents to the Consumer Reports survey said they had taken CBD in addition to a prescription or over-the-counter medication, while 22% said they replaced the medication with CBD entirely. A third of those who replaced a medication with CBD said that the drug was a prescription anti-anxiety drug.
Still, Warne called the FDA’s words of caution “prudent” and agreed that more research should be conducted on CBD’s benefits and risks.
“Hopefully it stands up — because otherwise, we’re kind of all owed an explanation for why this was pushed on us for the past year or however long this has been popular,” he said. “Hopefully we get an explanation one way or the other.”