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CBD for Kidney Disease – November 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?

CBD Effects on Kidneys

Posted on August 14th, 2020

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, has become quite popular. Its popularity has peaked over recent years, with adverts everywhere, from the internet, billboards, television, and even social media. Currently, kidney disease is the ninth most common cause of death in the United States , and things are not getting any better. A common symptom is having physical and emotional pain, that will vary its intensity depending on the patient. Doctors usually prescribe painkillers as a treatment for the pain, but they are usually excreted by the kidneys, which could lead to more kidney damage. With all that it might offer, how could the effects of CBD impact the kidneys?

CBD, according to studies, may be able to help alleviate pain. Early trials of CBD have revealed that it may also help the kidneys due to its potential anti-inflammatory properties, pain management, blood pressure stabilization, and anxiolytic properties. Let’s take a deeper look at the effects of CBD on the kidneys.

What Is CBD and Its Potential Effects on the Kidneys?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound derived from the cannabis plant. Unlike its other counterpart Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is non-psychoactive; hence it will not make you high. It might also be a viable option for alleviating aches, symptoms of anxiety, and inflammation. The advantage that CBD may have over other pain medications such as acetaminophen is that the latter is metabolized by the liver and eventually eliminated by the kidneys. They also might damage the cells in the kidney, therefore worsening the condition. CBD, on the other hand, is also metabolized by the liver, but it does not appear to cause any damage to the kidneys, as it is not toxic.

Some of the potential effects of CBD on the kidneys are as follows:

  • Has the potential to help to reduce inflammation in kidneys
  • May help alleviate pain associated with the side effects of the kidney ailments
  • Could help to slow the progression of kidney disease
  • May aid in the prevention of oxidative damage in the kidneys

What Is Kidney Disease?

The kidneys are bean-shaped organs that are situated on either side of the torso. Their primary role is to clean the blood and extract all the excess fluids in the body. The fluids are then removed from the body as urine. They play a crucial role in the filtration of blood in the body. Therefore, the kidneys are crucial to the body, and once they get impaired in their functions, there can be serious implications.

Usually, you can live a long and healthy life without one kidney, so kidney donors and the recipients survive for many years. However, if both of your kidneys fail, then you will be in a traumatizing condition. This is because the condition is fatal; you would need to have a kidney replacement done to survive.

Kidney disease can be acute, and in severe circumstances, become chronic. Below are the different types of kidney disease:

Chronic Kidney Disease

This is the most common form of kidney disease, affecting millions of people all over the world. In fact, most people do not even realize that they have it, which can be quite daunting. Unfortunately, chronic kidney disease does not get any better with time but only worsens. It happens when waste builds up in the body since the kidneys are not working as they should. In the advanced stages, the kidneys may fail altogether, becoming life-threatening. Here, you may need dialysis to remove the excess fluids.

Glomerulonephritis

Glomeruli are usually the tiny blood vessels where cleansing of the kidneys take place. This condition is therefore caused by congenital conditions, some drugs, and infections that can make the glomeruli inflamed. The symptoms usually include foamy urine, retention of fluid, and brown or pink urine. The good news is that glomerulonephritis resolves itself with time.

Kidney Stones

The kidneys clean numerous materials from the blood. An example of this is mineral particles. Over time, these minerals crystallize and form kidney stones. Many people are usually able to pass the stones out through urination; however, the process can be quite painful. In severe cases, you may need surgery to remove them.

Pyelonephritis

This is a condition in which the kidneys get inflamed due to bacterial infections. It can damage the kidneys permanently and even be fatal. Symptoms of this condition include fever above 102°F, cloudy urine, painful urination, and pus in the urine. You may also experience nausea and vomiting. It can be treated with antibiotics, and in severe cases, you may need to be hospitalized.

Polycystic Kidney Disease

It is common for the kidney to form cysts or fluid sacs on its surface. Most of them are usually benign and have no severe side effects. Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic condition that will cause the kidneys to grow numerous cysts all over the surface. It can even lead to kidney failure if the cysts interfere with the regular functioning of the kidneys. However, if both of your kidneys fail due to polycystic disease, you might need dialysis.

The Effects of Kidney Disease

Below are some of the effects seen in result to kidney disease:

  • Bleeding disorders
  • Lowered immune function
  • Anemia
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Skin disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Acidosis
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Hyperkalemia

Causes of Kidney Disease

On a typical day, the kidneys usually filter around 180 liters of blood . One of the most common causes of kidney disease is diabetes. Diabetes usually leads to high sugar levels that tend to damage the body tissues, including the kidney nephrons. The other most common cause of kidney disease is hypertension. It does this by reducing the blood supply and the autoregulatory sensitivity of the kidneys. Therefore, the nephrons get damaged, causing a strain on the other remaining nephrons, hence increasing their chances of getting damaged. The other causes of kidney disease include:

  • Heart disease
  • HIV/ AIDS
  • Lupus
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Hepatitis B and C

CBD and Kidney Disease: Where Does It Fit?

CBD is not a cure for kidney disease, but how might the effects of CBD impact the kidneys? The body has CB1 and CB2 receptors that help with bodily functions. When you take CBD, it might stimulate the production of natural cannabinoids, which attach themselves to these receptors and help provide a homeostatic balance to the body. Cannabinoids from CBD also interact with these receptors, which is thought to also aid in homeostasis.

The other effect of using CBD is that it might help promote renal function. It has the ability to protect the nephrons from inflammatory and oxidative damage due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

CBD may also promote the normal functioning of the glomerulus. It might also help to prevent the malfunctioning of the body’s filtration mechanisms depending on the type of kidney injury.

Below are ways in which CBD effects may help reduce the symptoms of kidney disease:

Pain Management

CBD is thought to be an analgesic and has been seen to help reduce pain in arthritis and other conditions. CBD enhances the function of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by blocking the FAAH, a fatty acid used to break down anandamide , and keep more of it in the body. The anandamide binds to the CB1 receptors to help control your pain response. Kidney disease is harrowing, due to the inflammation of the organ, incisional pain from kidney surgery, kidney stones, and even dialysis.

Inflammation Reduction

According to studies, CBD may have anti-inflammatory properties. Since most kidney diseases are usually inflammatory, then CBD might have a positive impact on the inflammatory symptoms. This is done due to its ability to stimulate the endocannabinoid system.

Reduces Nephrotoxicity

The presence of toxins in the renal tissue is known as Nephrotoxicity. These toxins affect the renal function of the kidneys and affect the normal functioning of the organ. CBD might help reduce drug-induced Nephrotoxicity through its relationship with the cannabinoid receptors. This, therefore, may help promote kidney health.

Diabetes Prevention

Diabetes is an inflammatory condition that usually affects the regulation of blood sugar by the body. According to studies, CBD may be able to reduce inflammation. Since diabetes is one of the risk factors of kidney disease, CBD may be able to help.

What Is the Recommended Dosage of CBD?

One of the crucial things that you need to note is that you should talk with your doctor when you want to start taking CBD. This is especially true if you have any health conditions or are taking any medications. CBD can interact with certain medications, so it’s always best to speak with your doctor before starting CBD.

Finding the right dose of CBD may seem daunting, as it affects people differently. Therefore, it is advisable to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and start low and slow. Note how your body is responding and adjust as needed.

Final Word

Kidney disease is a severe condition that can be fatal in severe cases. More research is needed before we fully understand the effects of CBD on kidneys. However, CBD does appear to have several potential benefits. Remember to always consult with your doctor before starting CBD. When looking for the right CBD product for you, search for a trusted and transparent source. Reliable manufacturers will provide third-party lab tests and a certificate of analysis.

Cannabidiol (CBD) may have potential anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic properties. But what are the effects of CBD on kidneys?