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CBD Oil and Kidney Disease

Last Updated on September 24, 2020

Over the last few years, the medical uses of cannabis have piqued the curiosity of many Americans. More states are legalizing the use of cannabis for both medical and recreational use, so medical professionals study what benefits it can have on our health.

Over 30 million Americans have some form of chronic kidney disease (CKD). The kidney’s main function is to filter blood, and kidney disease occurs when this process is impaired.

The two primary causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. If left untreated, these conditions can progress to end-stage kidney disease. Patients at this stage either go on dialysis or undergo a kidney transplant.

There are many different medications prescribed to patients with kidney disease. Most of them are diuretics or focus on lowering blood pressure. However, many of these medications don’t help combat the symptoms of kidney disease. They also come with side effects that make them undesirable by the patients.

So what’s the alternative?

A significant number of patients have turned to cannabidiol (CBD) to help treat the symptoms of chronic kidney disease. CBD doesn’t intoxicate its users because it doesn’t contain THC, which is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.

If you’re looking for a natural alternative for treating kidney disease, CBD oil is worth investigating. However, there’s a lot of confusing information out there about the actual benefits of CBD oil.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about CBD oil and kidney disease.

Table of Contents

What Causes Kidney Disease?

According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic kidney disease occurs when kidney functions gradually deteriorate.

The main job of the kidneys is to filter waste and other unnecessary compounds from the blood. Without our kidneys, toxins would overwhelm our blood and ultimately damage other organs, causing our bodies to shut down.

Early signs of kidney disease are often difficult to detect without a proper examination. Unfortunately, many patients don’t notice they have chronic kidney disease until there has already been noteworthy damage.

Here are some of the common causes of chronic kidney disease:

  • Diabetes (both type 1 & type 2) – Diabetes is when blood glucose levels are higher than normal. Excess glucose can damage blood vessels, which makes them inefficient. As a result, diabetes usually leads to high blood pressure, which can ultimately damage the kidneys, causing kidney disease.
  • High blood pressure – High blood pressure (hypertension) is the number one cause of kidney disease. It can directly damage the filters (the glomeruli) within the kidneys, causing them to malfunction.
  • Glomerulonephritis – Glomeruli are important components of the kidneys. Glomerulonephritis is when the blood vessels within the glomeruli—the kidney’s filtration units—become inflamed or damaged. This damage can lead to chronic kidney disease.
  • Interstitial nephritis – Interstitial nephritis is inflammation around the tubules within the kidney. This inflammation impairs the ability of the kidney to filter waste properly.
  • Polycystic kidney disease – PKD Is a genetic disorder that causes multiple cysts to form within the kidney. The cysts contain fluid, and can grow large enough to interfere with kidney function.
  • Vesicoureteral reflux – In this condition, urine backs up in the kidney tract, leading to inflammation, urinary tract infections, and scarring that can destroy kidney function.

There are many causes of kidney failure, but the two main causes are diabetes and hypertension. The best way to know if you are experiencing kidney disease is to consult your doctor for a thorough examination.

Introducing CBD Oil

CBD oil has skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years. It’s known as a healthy natural alternative to most over-the-counter medicines, and can also treat unpleasant symptoms such as chronic pain, stress, anxiety, and insomnia. But what exactly is CBD oil, and how does it work?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a compound found in the cannabis plant. So, in short, CBD comes from marijuana and hemp. Though CBD comes from marijuana, it doesn’t get you high. CBD a great alternative for those who want to experience the medical benefits of cannabis without THC.

CBD is extracted from hemp plants using carbon dioxide or other methods. After extraction, it’s refined and prepared to be used by the consumer by mixing with a carrier oil that helps to deliver and preserve the extracted CBD. You can purchase CBD either online or in most stores that sell dietary supplements. It’s important only to consume CBD that was extracted safely by a reputable manufacturer.

Now that marijuana is becoming more acceptable in the United States, researchers and medical professionals are starting to recognize CBD as the main therapeutic compound found in cannabis. It’s a versatile substance that comes in many different shapes and forms.

More research is underway on the direct effects CBD has on the body and how it can treat certain symptoms, but CBD oil is already a recommended treatment for several conditions.

When CBD oil enters the body, it reacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which help regulate pain, sleep, inflammation, and other effects regulated by the nervous system. When ingested through the digestive system, these effects seem amplified. That is why ingesting CBD oil in the form of food or tablets is so popular.

Since the widespread use of CBD oil is relatively new, the exact reasons for its positive effects on the body are still unknown. More research is underway to narrow down how exactly it works in the body and whether it’s a viable long-term solution. Currently, CBD oil should only be used as a supplement to known kidney disease treatments, not as a cure.

There has been some promising research done on CBD oil and kidney disease. While no research has been able to solidify a connection between CBD and kidney receptors, patients have experienced less severe symptoms while taking the natural herbal remedy. CBD has also been proven less harmful to the kidneys than other common drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin.

How Does CBD Oil Help With Kidney Disease?

Kidney disease is one of the major killers in the United States. It’s deadlier than both breast and prostate cancer. The most alarming aspect of chronic kidney disease is that it’s often undetected until it has already caused significant damage. Some symptoms of kidney disease are low energy, bloody urine, unnatural weight loss, and difficulty breathing.

Due to the developing research on CBD oil and kidney disease, many patients seek out the herbal remedy as a form of treatment. CBD oil is widely known to help treat symptoms such as pain and inflammation, both of which are omnipresent in patients diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Therefore, if you’re experiencing pain due to chronic kidney disease, CBD oil may help.

Cannabidiol amplifies what our bodies do naturally. As mentioned above, our bodies already have an endocannabinoid mechanism that binds CBD compounds. It primarily works as a neurotransmitter, which signals your brain to alleviate pain and promote relaxation. Naturally, the body might produce endocannabinoids as a mental defense to an injury or a stressful situation.

CBD oil can help relieve pain and anxiety and let your body’s internal systems zero in on the more crucial steps toward recovery. When CBD binds with your cannabinoid receptors, it allows the tissue around the kidney to produce more anandamide, blocking pain. Other compounds found in cannabis such as THC also aid in this process, but CBD specifically does the best job.

To better understand how CBD oil helps treat chronic kidney disease symptoms, let’s first break down different pain receptors. Here is a not-too-technical crash course on how receptors work.

Receptors 101: What are they?

Your brain is a network that transmits and receives information throughout the body. Signals get sent through the nervous system, which is just a complex system made up of billions of cells. Imagine the brain as the control center for the body’s functions and pain receptors as different lookout towers stationed throughout the body.

Whenever there’s damage to organ tissue, such as the kidney, pain receptors send a signal to the brain to initiate a defense. Neurotransmitters like endocannabinoids can regulate these signals, causing them to be less severe. In other words, they make you feel less pain.

The two key receptors for CBD oil are:

CB1 Receptors – Receptors found in the spinal cord, and the brain
CB2 Receptors – Receptors located throughout the body.

It’s no surprise then that many people are looking into CBD oil as a treatment for chronic kidney disease. It’s non-toxic and has fewer long-term effects (if any) on the body compared to other forms of medication.

There are also other benefits of taking CBD oil other than treating CKD. It can also help improve your sleep cycle, decrease anxiety, increase your appetite, and decrease joint inflammation.

Other Benefits of CBD Oil

Research has shown that CBD oil may be a suitable treatment for those with chronic kidney disease. CKD comes with a multitude of symptoms that cause fatigue and discomfort. CBD oil can help combat the symptoms of CKD, allowing patients to be in a more relaxed state as they battle the disease.

Here are some of the additional benefits of taking CBD Oil:

  • Lower anxiety & depression – Battling a disease such as CKD can take a huge toll on your mental health, adding additional stress and fatigue, which is not ideal for a healthy recovery. Studies have shown CBD oil to reduce anxiety and depression in most users.
  • Pain relief – There’s no doubt that the symptoms of CKD can be painful. CBD oil can amplify your body’s natural response to pain. It won’t eliminate the pain, but it’s a much healthier alternative to most pain medications.
  • Increased appetite – When humans are sick, we tend to lose our appetite. Decreased food intake is detrimental because our bodies need food’s energy to recover. CBD oil might increase appetite in certain users. However, there hasn’t been enough research to support this claim.
  • Sleep aid – Insomnia can result from a variety of factors such as anxiety, caffeine consumption, and medications. CBD oil can help treat the main causes of insomnia, improving sleep quality.

Does CBD Oil Have Any Negative Side Effects?

Before undergoing a new form of treatment, it’s important to know that it’s both safe and effective. Modern medicine has blessed us with a wide variety of choices. However, some remedies can do more harm than good. Luckily CBD oil is labeled safe by most medical professionals if it’s extracted safely and consumed responsibly.

Just like any other treatment, CBD oil has guidelines for safe consumption. You have to know the right dose and frequency to take. Though it’s not a deadly substance, there are a few negative side effects of misuse, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Upset stomach/diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Groggy headaches
  • Nausea/dizziness
  • Changes in appetite

Taking CBD oil can also offset the effects of other medications. If you’re currently taking medication for CKD, make sure to consult your doctor before trying CBD oil. As mentioned above, CBD oil should be handled as a supplemental treatment, not as a magical cure.

You must purchase your CBD oil from a reputable brand. Since the substance is in such high demand, many “enthusiasts” create homemade oil and sell their products online. Unless you’re sure the CBD oil was extracted in a controlled environment and lab-tested, you should hesitate to buy it.

The negative effects of CBD aren’t severe and often go unnoticed. Compared to other medications that have numerous negative side effects, it’s no surprise that CBD oil is more desirable. However, make sure you consult a healthcare professional to see if you’re suitable for CBD treatment before searching for products.

How to Take CBD Oil

For starters, before you use CBD oil to help treat chronic kidney disease, you need to ask your doctor or check the packaging to determine the correct dosage. Most reputable manufacturers will have dosage guidelines for you to follow. You’ll need to gradually increase your dosage over time to feel the same effects.

CBD oil is a versatile product. There are many ways to consume CBD oil, and that is why it’s so popular. Each method has its unique benefits—it’s all about finding the form most comfortable for you.

Here are some of the most common ways to consume CBD oil:

Edibles – If you’ve been to a health supplement store recently, you may have noticed CBD gummies, cookies, or even lollipops. Edible CBD products, as you may have guessed, are eaten by the user. Though CBD is becoming more accepted across the country, edibles are a less obvious way of using CBD than smoking it.

Be careful when eating CBD edibles, though. They can take up to two hours to kick in. Some people unknowingly eat too much at once and can start to feel sick.

Tinctures and oil– This is by far the most common way to consume CBD oil directly. CBD is mixed with a carrier oil or a small amount of alcohol for absorption through the skin (typically under the tongue). This form is one of the fastest ways to feel the effects of CBD oil.

Topical creams – Did you know that CBD oil can also be a beauty product? You can find many lotions and balms that contain CBD oil, which is applied directly to the skin. In this, “two birds, one stone” scenario, CBD oil can soothe skin and provide medical benefits.

Smoking – Smoking isn’t the healthiest way to consume CBD, but if you already smoke, this might be a suitable method. You can get CBD in the form of flowers and smoke it in a joint, blunt, pipe, or even vaporize it.

Many companies make vape cartridges that contain CBD oil. Vaping is one of the most convenient ways to consume CBD oil. However, THC-containing e-cigarettes have been implicated, but not positively associated with, lung damage in users. The effects might be due to contaminants, carriers, or oils in the vaping solution, and it’s not clear if CBD vaping carries the same potential risk.

Conclusion

Every day, research is discovering more health benefits from CBD oil. For patients experiencing chronic kidney disease, CBD oil can be a healthier alternative to over-the-counter medications. Also, it’s a great way for patients to reap the benefits of cannabis without ingesting THC.

Remember to make sure you’re getting your CBD oil from a trusted source. The best way to know whether or not a manufacturer is reliable is to check their reviews online. Most companies selling high-quality CBD products have a long list of positive reviews from customers.

Another way to determine a company’s credibility is to see how good their customer service is. Good customer service is normally a by-product of a high-quality brand.

Now you have the confidence to start looking into CBD oil as a supplement to treat some of the symptoms of chronic kidney disease.

In Short: FAQ’s related to “CBD Oil and Kidney Disease”

Question: Can you use CBD to help treat kidney disease?
Answer: A significant number of patients have turned to cannabidiol (CBD) to help treat the symptoms of chronic kidney disease. CBD doesn’t intoxicate its users because it doesn’t contain THC, which is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.

Question: How does CBD work?
Answer: When CBD oil enters the body, it reacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which help regulate pain, sleep, inflammation, and other effects regulated by the nervous system. When ingested through the digestive system, these effects seem amplified.

Question: How Does CBD Oil Help With Kidney Disease?
Answer: Due to the developing research on CBD oil and kidney disease, many patients seek out the herbal remedy as a form of treatment. CBD oil is widely known to help treat symptoms such as pain and inflammation, both of which are omnipresent in patients diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

Question: What are the two key receptors in CBD oil?
Answer: CB1 Receptors. Receptors found in the spinal cord, and the brain. Another one is the CB2 Receptors. Receptors located throughout the body.

Question: What are the other benefits you can get in CBD oil besides helping in kidney disease?
Answer: CBD can help anxiety & depression, pain relief, regulate appetite, and can give you a good sleep.

Question: Does CBD Oil Have Any Negative Side Effects?
Answer: Some of the negative side effects of CBD oil includes dry mouth, diarrhea, increased heart rate, headaches.

Question: How do you take CBD oil?
Answer: Some of the common ways to take CBD is through tinctures, topical creams, edibles or gummies, smoking, and supplements.

A significant number of patients have turned to CBD to help treat the symptoms of chronic kidney disease. Find out the benefits of CBD and how can it help!

CBD for Kidney Disease – December 2020

Can CBD help with kidney disease, and if so, how?

Kidney failure, also called renal failure or end-stage renal disease, is the last stage of chronic kidney disease.

When the kidneys fail, it means they have stopped working well enough for the person to survive without dialysis or a kidney transplant (1 ) .

However, even these remedies are not without adverse side effects. For instance, researchers found an increased incidence of kidney stones in patients after a kidney transplant.

Calcium based stones, such as calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate, were the most common types of kidney stones found after kidney transplantation (2 ) .

Meanwhile, studies have examined the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for chronic kidney disease (CKD) (3 ) .

Findings suggested that short-term NSAID use has adverse side effects on blood pressure elevation (4 ) .

High blood pressure is the second principal cause of kidney failure in the United States after diabetes (5 ) .

CBD for Kidney Disease: What the Research Says

There are no studies specific to the use of CBD alone and its impact on kidney health. There are, however, limited studies that examined the effects of cannabis on kidneys, and they produced mixed results.

During the American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Week conference in October 2018, researchers shared their findings from a recent study on medical marijuana use and its side effects on kidneys (6 ) .

Marijuana and hemp belong to the s ame plant species, Cannabis sativa, but are widely different. Marijuana contains much more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than hemp, while hemp contains more cannabidiol (CBD).

The researchers, who studied kidney disease progression in cannabis users, found that chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients’ kidney function d eclined faster in those who used cannabis, compared to those who did not (7 ) . They did not report whether this was marijuana or hemp-derived cannabis which would have lower THC than CBD.

Joshua L. Rein, DO, who led the study, warned that kidney patients using cannabis should be aware of potential symptoms, such as nausea, lack of appetite, and chronic pain , which are all valid issues for medical marijuana usa ge (8 ) .

Meanwhile, researchers of a study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management believe that even minor improvements in patients with difficult-to-treat CKD symptoms may be clinically meaningful (9 ) .

In their research, they found that cannabinoids, like CBD and THC, may present a reasonable alternative to pain and symptom management.

Another study , which was published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics , showed that CBD might help reduce nephrotoxicity by decreasing oxidative stress, inflammation, and cell death (10 ) .

Nephrotoxicity occurs when the body is exposed to a drug or toxin that causes kidney damage, which makes the body unable to eliminate excess urine and wastes.

Still, due to limited treatment options f or chronic kidney disease (CKD), sy mptom management can be challenging.

Thus, therapeutic alternatives are in high demand, which may explain why, in recent years, medical marijuana has emerged as an attractive therapeutic option (11 ) .

As a result, medical cannabis continues to be used for a variety of indications with minimal guidance on known risks, particularly on the altered physiological state of patients w ith chronic kidney disease (CKD) (12 ) .

How CBD Works: The Endocannabinoid System Explained

According to a study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology in 2017, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a crucial role in renal homeostasis.

While data suggest cannabis and cannabinoids could have essential effects on kidney function, there is not sufficient evidence from clinical research studies to determine the dangers faced by users of these products with respect to the development of acute kidney injury (AKI) or CKD (13 ) .

A 2016 review looked into the emerging role of the endocannabinoid system, particularly the cannabinoids and the cannabinoid receptors, in normal kidney function and other diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, that directly contribute to the development of renal diseases (14 ) .

The authors of the said review found that the activation of the CB1 receptor regulates renal vascular blood flow. Meanwhile, the renal CB2 receptor reduces the effects of inflammation, oxidative stress, and renal fibrosis.

Conclusion

The limited treatment options among individuals with CKD increase the demand for therapeutic alternatives.

Despite the current lack of approved CBD or cannabis therapy, some patients may still want to start experimenting with medical cannabis for symptom management.

However, although CBD has been used in many therapeutic applications, the evidence of its efficacy with chronic kidney disease has not been well-reviewed. Also, there is not enough literature accumulated to advise appropriately on consumption forms and dosage.

Before using CBD to treat CKD symptoms or as supplementary therapy, a consultation with a nephrologist experienced in cannabis use is strictly advised.

  1. American Kidney Fund. Kidney Failure (ESRD) Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments. Retrieved from https://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/kidney-failure/ .
  2. Cheungpasitporn W, Thongprayoon C, Mao MA, et al. Incidence of kidney stones in kidney transplant recipients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. World J Transplant. 2016;6(4):790–797. doi:10.5500/wjt.v6.i4.790.
  3. Chih-Cheng Hsu et al. Use of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease in Subjects With Hypertension. Originally published 13 Jul 2015. https://doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.05105 .
  4. Clive DM, Stoff JS.Renal syndromes associated with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs.N Engl J Med. 1984; 310:563–572. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198403013100905.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States, 2019. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2019.
  6. American Kidney Fund. (2018, Nov. 8). A caution about self-medication for kidney patients. Retrieved from https://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-today/a-caution-about-self-medication-for-kidney-patients.html .
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Davison, Sara N. et al. Is There a Legitimate Role for the Therapeutic Use of Cannabinoids for Symptom Management in Chronic Kidney Disease? Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, Volume 41, Issue 4, 768 – 778.
  10. Pan H, Mukhopadhyay P, Rajesh M, et al. Cannabidiol attenuates cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity by decreasing oxidative/nitrosative stress, inflammation, and cell death. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2009;328(3):708–714. doi:10.1124/jpet.108.147181.
  11. Ho C, Martinusen D, Lo C. A Review of Cannabis in Chronic Kidney Disease Symptom Management. Can J Kidney Health Dis. 2019;6:2054358119828391. Published 2019 Feb 22. doi:10.1177/2054358119828391.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Park F, Potukuchi PK, Moradi H, Kovesdy CP. Cannabinoids and the kidney: effects in health and disease. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2017;313(5):F1124–F1132. doi:10.1152/ajprenal.00290.2017.
  14. Tam J. The emerging role of the endocannabinoid system in the pathogenesis and treatment of kidney diseases. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2016;27(3):267–276. doi:10.1515/jbcpp-2015-0055.

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Kidney failure, also called renal failure or end-stage renal disease, is the last stage of chronic kidney disease. When the kidneys fail, it means they have stopped working well enough for the person to survive without dialysis or kidney transplant. Can CBD help with kidney disease, and if so, how?