At extremely high doses, CBD is bad for the liver, so says some studies. But according to others, CBD can restore severely impaired cognitive function in mice, and consumption may increase plasma levels in liver enzymes, ammonia, and bilirubin. In other words, CBD may improve brain and liver function.
So, which is it? is CBD bad or good for the liver? Below is everything you need to know.
Quick take: Is CBD good for the liver?
- The FDA has not approved CBD as a treatment for liver disease.
- The recommended maximum dosage of CBD per day for adults is 1500mg. Any higher and you risk side effects, and continued exposure may lead to liver damage (according to animal studies).
- At recommended doses and combined with a healthy diet and exercise, CBD is good for the liver.
- CBD can reduce pain and inflammation anywhere on or in the body.
What is CBD, and is Cannabidiol harsh on the liver?
CBD, short for cannabidiol -is a non-psychoactive compound present in hemp or cannabis plants. Medical and anecdotal evidence suggests that the chemical may have uses in the treatment and management of over 50 illnesses and conditions, including liver damage caused by alcohol abuse.
Recent changes in cannabis laws have aided research into CBD’s potential benefits for man and animals. However, marijuana remains a schedule 1 substance in the majority of countries. What we do know is:
- The FDA discourages the use of CBD and cannabis products if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- More research is needed to prove CBD benefits.
- The FDA has approved CBD as a treatment for epileptic seizures because of its neuroprotective quality.
A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that, quote:
“Cannabidiol restores liver function, normalizes 5-HT levels, and improves brain pathology in accordance with normalization of brain function. Therefore, the effects of cannabidiol may result from a combination of its actions in the liver and brain.
Avraham, Y., Grigoriadis, N., Poutahidis, T., Vorobiev, L., Magen, I., Ilan, Y., Mechoulam, R., & Berry, E. (2011). Cannabidiol improves brain and liver function in a fulminant hepatic failure-induced model of hepatic encephalopathy in mice. British Journal of Pharmacology, 162(7), 1650-1658. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01179.x
According to the cited study, consuming CBD is beneficial in that:
- It can restore severely impaired cognitive function, fortifying the claim that CBD is a neuroprotective agent.
- CBD may increase plasma levels of liver enzymes, bilirubin, and ammonia.
The study was conducted on mice.
A conflicting study on mice found that at extremely high doses, CBD may be damaging to the liver. What does that mean for consumers?
According to the study:
- CBD is well tolerated in mice. However, test subjects that received a human equivalent of 200 mg, showed signs of liver toxicity.
- Continued exposure to high doses of CBD caused swelling and damage to the liver.
Should I be worried?
It is advisable to check product CBD content and keep CBD candies, gummies, or consumables away from minors and pets.
The easiest way to control dosage is to take CBD pills.
The CBD dosage question: how much Cannabidiol should I take in a day?
There are no regulations on how much CBD you should take and what products you should purchase.
Consequently, it is in your best interest to source CBD products from reliable sources. Priority should be:
- Accurate levels of CBD. You want the product to match the advertisement; this will keep you from overconsuming or under-consuming.
- How much THC does the product contain? Any product that contains more than 0.3% THC is legally cannabis or marijuana. Exposing said product to a minor may lead to criminal prosecution.
To avoid overconsumption, you should practice the “start low and go slow approach.” That means taking low doses of CBD initially and increasing until you reach a level you are comfortable with.
How much is too much CBD?
As mentioned, CBD is well tolerated by the majority of users. Meaning you are unlikely to experience adverse side effects if you take a tolerable dosage.
You know that you have taken too much CBD if you experience side effects, including:
- Upset stomach
- Dry mouth.
CBD dosage: what to remember
- According to medical research, 1500 milligrams a day is enough for adults. Any higher, and you risk developing the side effects above.
- CBD may interact with heart medicines, including blood thinners. Making it advisable to consult with a physician before taking CBD if you have an underlying health issue.
- Taking excessive amounts of CBD may be damaging to the liver.
So how much CBD is safe?
- 300 to 600mg a day is enough for anxiety.
- For arthritis pain, 250 milligrams applied topically and 30 milligrams ingested is enough.
In short, keep the dosage below 1500mg a day.
Is CBD good or bad for the liver?
The study linked above was conducted over 6 weeks. During that period and after, persons who consumed below 1500 mg OF CBD showed no adverse side effects. That indicates that the compound has a good safety profile.
“CBD does not produce the effects that are typically seen with cannabinoids such as THC. It also failed to produce significant effects in a human study of abuse potential discussed below. Across a number of controlled and open-label trials CBD of the potential therapeutic effects of CBD, it is generally well tolerated, with a good safety profile.”
According to the report linked above:
- CBD has relatively low toxicity. Limited research shows that the compound does not affect embryonic development, it may suppress the immune system at high doses, and CBD affects tumor growth with no effect on non-tumor cells.
- There are no studies that show the development of dependence or addiction to CBD/CBD does not have abuse potential.
- Exposure to CBD reduced the occurrence of epileptic seizures for the entire 3-month period.
Can you use CBD recreationally?
The report concluded that, quote:
“At present, there are no case reports of abuse or dependence relating to the use of pure CBD. There are also no published statistics on non-medical use of pure CBD.”
Meaning that you may use CBD recreationally, but you must keep the dosage low.
What are CBD’s benefits for the liver?
Researchers believe that glucose metabolism in the liver is regulated by the endocannabinoid system. What you need to remember is CBD’s positive effects occur as a consequence of interactions between the compound and the endocannabinoid system.
Because of that, CBD may offer the following benefits for the liver.
- CBD modulates CB1 and CB2 receptors and ensures proper functioning of the liver, meaning it may have uses in the prevention of liver disease.
- CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory, suggesting that it may prevent or relieve inflammation anywhere in or on the body, including the liver.
Is it okay to use CBD for liver cancer?
The WHO report linked above claims that CBD has a positive effect on tumor cells. It is not a cure for liver cancer, but consumption may slow down the progression, and it may help manage pain and chemotherapy side effects.
What the research says:
- CBD protects healthy cells and destroys tumor or cancerous cells by preventing the formation of blood vessels that encourage growth.
- CBD and THC may cause apoptosis (cell death).
According to one study:
“There is preclinical evidence that CBD may address several of the pathways underpinning cancer, and there is preclinical and some clinical evidence that CBD may be effective in treating several of the symptoms and signs associated with the disease and its orthodox treatment.”
Added benefits include:
- Stress, anxiety, and depression relief.
- CBD may protect organs, including the liver against chemotherapeutic toxicity.
- A combination of THC and CBD may have uses in the treatment or management of brain tumors.
Does CBD protect the liver from alcohol?
Binge drinking or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol is problematic in that it may cause the build up of fat in the liver, triggering a condition known as “alcoholic fatty liver disease.”
Alcoholic fatty liver disease may cause symptoms including:
- Blood in stool
- Drowsiness and confusion.
- Abdominal and ankle swelling.
- Loss of appetite.
- Weight loss.
Left unchecked, damage to the liver may lead to failure.
Can CBD be taken after drinking alcohol?
Consuming CBD after taking alcohol may be beneficial in that (1) CBD reduces or prevents inflammation. (2) CBD helps the liver maintain proper function by regulating CB1 and CBD 2 receptors.
There is also evidence that CBD increases liver enzymes and has anti-fibrosis properties.
Is CBD safe for the liver?
The key word is moderation. Like all medicines, taking excessive amounts is bound to cause problems. Remember, the human liver plays an essential role in detoxification, Enzyme activation, protein synthesis, and bile production and excretion.
Consequently, it is in your best interest to keep the organ safe.
CBD consumption at recommended doses offers numerous benefits for the liver, but for you to experience the full effects, you must also:
- Limit alcohol consumption. Daily or excessive consumption of alcohol increases the risk of liver damage.
- Avoid consuming harmful toxins. Wash your food and purchase CBD products or health supplements from trustworthy vendors.
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis and practice safe sex.
- Wash your hands regularly.