cbd oil liverDecember 15, 2021
In addition, repeated doses of a smaller amount of CBD (50 mg) also showed signs of liver damage and swelling.
Inflammation is one of the main causes of hepatic encephalopathy. A study conducted on mice models of hepatic encephalopathy reported positive effects. The research team observed that applying CBD to mice could restore the neurological functions and cognitive performance in the mice. CBD also reduced the levels of ammonia in the blood, helping restore liver function and normalize the number of liver enzymes (7).
Now, we’re not saying CBD doesn’t have any side effects — it does, like any other health supplement — but should you actually worry about your liver when you use normal doses?
Effects of CBD On the Liver.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is found in all mammals and consists of receptors (CB1 and CB2) endogenous cannabinoids, and enzymes that facilitate their production or break them down.
As mentioned earlier in the article, CBD has an excellent safety profile. People turn to CBD because it’s a low-risk alternative to conventional treatment options for liver disease. That being said, it has a few relatively mild effects when consumed in high doses, including:
However, one of the caveats of this study was that it tested the maximum recommended daily dosage for humans. While all mammals share the same endocannabinoid system, mice and humans are different physiologically. The size of the liver is just one of the many variables that should be taken into consideration when evaluating the safety of CBD in human subjects.
It goes without saying that CBD — like any supplement or medication — does have side effects, including dose-dependent danger to liver health. However, while users using the peak-tested dosages should have their liver enzymes in check, the vast majority of people can safely use CBD without worrying about a negative impact on their liver function.
With 1,500 mg of CBD taken for a six-week period, no dangerous side effects were observed (1).
Now it’s time to ask a different question: what positive effects does CBD have on the liver?
CBD Oil for Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury.
Second, it prevents the formation of blood vessels that facilitate tumor growth.
Okay, so now you know that extremely high doses of CBD may cause liver toxicity when taken regularly. You also know that it’s impossible to trigger toxicity with normal doses of CBD oil.
Let’s shed some light on the infamous study on mice.
To this day, studies on cannabinoids and their effect on liver cancer show that cannabinoids can both prevent the dividing of tumor cells and kill cancer cells while protecting the healthy ones. Besides stopping cancer proliferation, there are several mechanisms CBD uses to help tackle liver cancer.
The Study on CBD and the Liver of Mice.
The ECS is responsible for regulating many of our homeostatic control processes. In other words, this network controls the balance of various systems and organs in the body, including the liver.
Human studies that have examined the safety of different doses of CBD have found no negative effects at the recommended maximum daily dosage of 20 mg/kg. This dosage was taken from the trial of Epidiolex, a CBD-based pharmaceutical for treatment-resistant seizures. To put that in context, an individual weighing 150 pounds would need to take over 1,300 mg of CBD per day, which is way above what most people take (10–80 mg daily).
The best approach you can take is to start low and gradually increase the dose until you experience the desired relief. We suggest that you start with 5–10 mg CBD and try it out for one week, monitoring the effects. If you deem the dose insufficient, add another 5 milligrams and continue for another week, reassessing the results.
Long story short, CBD is generally safe for your liver enzymes if you don’t exceed the dose of 20 mg CBD/kg/day.
“Although (a dose of) 200 mg is not applicable to most real-life scenarios, it does provide critical information regarding the potential consequences of CBD overdose as well as for doses needed for further subchronic and chronic toxicity studies.”
Devitt-Lee elucidates that a close examination of the Molecules study “reveals a Pandora’s box of strange statements, problematic publishing and unreasonable experimental design. On the first page, the abstract makes a claim that is fundamentally impossible , stating that, with chronic administration of CBD, ‘75% of mice gavaged with 615 mg/kg developed a moribund condition.'”
“The huge popularity of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating component of cannabis, has helped to destigmatize the plant and restore its reputation as an important medicinal herb. But bogus science and inept reporting continue to distort how we understand the benefits and risks of CBD and cannabis,” he asserts.
Nevertheless, according to Mike Adams’ Forbes article “People that use CBD are at an elevated risk for liver toxicity.” And “[CBD] may actually be just as harmful to their livers” as “conventional pain relievers, like acetaminophen.”
“It is important to remember, that mice are not humans,” says Dr. Peter Grinspoon. “Those poor mice. Someone should call the ASPCA on those researchers,” he adds.
Adrian Devitt-Lee, is the young genius behind the think tank Project CBD. He is reputed to be formidably knowledgeable regarding CBD. Here, Devitt-Lee along with renowned doctor, Peter Grinspoon, weigh in to clarify if cannabidiol really killed four-and-a-half mice in a hotly debated study and will subsequently cause liver damage.
According to Devitt-Lee this sensational claim was based on a dubious study of CBD and liver toxicity conducted by researchers (Ewing et al) at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock – except the damage discussed in the study was unrelated to alcohol toxicity and “our livers” actually refers to the livers of mice.
The Little Rock study makes no mention of humans beings, “which is a hugely important distinction,” clarifies Devitt-Lee. “Moreover, in the real world CBD consumers are not ingesting 0.25% of their body weight – the maximal dose that Ewing et al used in their study of liver toxicity.”
Of Mice and Men.
“The breathless reporting in Forbes focuses on a single, flawed, preclinical study and exaggerates it to the point of falsehood. Yet if there’s a saving grace of the Forbes article, it’s that it gets much less wrong than the study itself,” says Devitt-Lee. ( The study is freely available from Molecules , a journal published by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute. (MDPI))
However, merely six rodents received this dose. “One doesn’t need an advanced degree in science or math to recognize that something is amiss. Seventy-five percent of six equals 4.5,” he sniffs.
A recent article by Mike Adams for Forbes, asserts that CBD “could be damaging our livers in the same way as alcohol and other drugs.” This and other conclusions drawn by Adams caused the Henny Pennies of Twitter to insist the sky was falling. ( Forbes ‘ format does not allow readers to comment, so many took to Twitter to vent their anger.)
Devitt-Lee surmises that “scientists force-fed mice a single dose of CBD, ranging from the supposedly “low” dosage of 246 mg/kg up to a mega-dose of 2460 mg/kg CBD. That means for every kilogram of body weight, they gave the mice about 2.5 grams of CBD, which had been formulated as a hexane extract from cannabis supplied by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Hexane, incidentally, is a neurotoxin.”
According to the Little Rock researchers, four-and-a-half mice died from CBD, while somehow one-and-half mice survived.
Devitt-Lee explains that in the “preliminary research on panic and anxiety, humans are usually given 300-600 mg CBD. The maximum human dosage recommended for the CBD-isolate Epidiolex is 20 mg/kg, which is over 100x less than what the Little Rock researchers force fed their experimental mice. They also tried smaller doses (ranging between 61.5 to 615 mg/kg) of CBD, which was given daily for 10 consecutive days.
Of Mice and Men.
Dr. Grinspoon concurs.
Experimental white mouse on the researcher’s hand.
“Despite these ridiculous dosages, Ewing et al. claim their study accurately represents human experience, insisting that the equivalent human dose is 12.3 times lower because of allometric scaling , This is – at best – an unverified assumption. More likely, it’s just plain wrong,” asserts Devitt-Lee.
This column was posted in conjunction with ProjectCBD. To continue reading, please click here.
“Our primary endpoint in this study is to observe potential liver effects in adults ingesting oral forms of hemp derived CBD for a minimum of 60 days,” said co- investigator Jeff Lombardo PharmD, BCOP. “What we observed to date is no clinical evidence of liver disease in any participants. We observed slight, clinically insignificant elevations of liver function tests in less than ten percent of consumers irrespective of age, product composition and form and the amount consumed. Three of the 839 participants had 3x normal levels of the liver enzyme ALT. These three consumers are taking prescription medications that are known to elevate liver enzymes, and we are investigating whether prescribed medications or other factors contribute to these outliers.”
The CBD industry has grown since the legalization of hemp, but many questions remain. Many people who ingest CBD products — such as oil or gummies — say it helps ease anxiety and certain pains.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, comes from the cannabis plant. It is one of two most commonly known compounds of cannabis (marijuana), the other being delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It’s the THC that is associated with a “high,” not CBD.
“Congressional leadership asked ValidCare almost 18 months ago to engage industry help collect safety data for FDA. We understand the significance, importance and immediate need for CBD safety research for the FDA, industry and the US consumer. This first of its kind, industry led, multi-branded study required trust, collaboration, operational excellence, innovation, and resilience. It demonstrates the incredible potential for decentralized clinical research to increase participant access and accelerate results – even during the most challenging times” said Patrick McCarthy, CEO of Validcare. “We are excited for our principal investigators to continue, expand and report out on this foundational work in the next few months. Once completed, safety results of this study will be shared with participating brands and FDA. The investigators also plan to publish in a peer reviewed journal.”
Dave Bartkowiak Jr. , Digital Managing Editor.
Investigators report to FDA no evidence of liver toxicity in 839 adults consuming oral CBD.
The study, conducted by a team from clinical research company Validcare, aims to help the FDA to determine how to appropriately regulate CBD products.
So far the FDA has approved only one CBD product: A prescription drug product to treat seizures associated with Lennox Gastaut syndrome (LGS), Dravet syndrome (DS), or tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in people one year of age and older.
Researchers presented initial results from a study to the FDA in March suggesting there is no evidence of liver disease from the use of hemp-derived CBD products.
Furthermore, this research is aiming to answer another FDA question about CBD: Can it affect how other drugs you are taking work, potentially causing serious side effects? Validcare’s researchers say they were surprised to find almost 70% of study participants reported having a medical condition and taking medications for those conditions, without an increase in reporting of adverse events.
“This unexpected, positive finding makes the data even more compelling and provides significant data to consider secondary safety measurements in the general population,” said Keith Aqua, MD, co-principal investigator of this IRB-approved study.
The FDA has been researching to learn more about CBD, including specifically whether or not it can cause harm to a person’s liver. The Validcare researchers say their new study’s preliminary findings “show no evidence of liver disease in the 839 participants and no increase in the prevalence of elevated liver function tests when compared to a population with a similar incidence of medical conditions.”
In March 2019, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) issued joint guidance for CBD and industrial hemp:
The study of 839 people was completed between August 2020 and February 2021.
From the Marijuana Regulatory Agency:
Michigan’s guidance on CBD and industrial hemp.
From the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development: