CBD Oil’s Side Effects on the Kidneys
CBD oil has taken the world by storm recently thanks to its impressive health benefits. But while CBD has shown impressive therapeutic potential, it’s also important to understand its possible risks. One side effect that some people might be worried about is how CBD affects your kidneys. We’ve done the research to help you understand exactly how CBD affects your body and how it can impact kidney health.
CBD or cannabidiol is a naturally occurring chemical compound that has garnered a lot of attention in recent years thanks to its impressive list of potential health benefits. When you think of CBD, you probably think of cannabis. This is because CBD is found in and extracted from cannabis plants. But CBD is a different product from whole cannabis that gives you different results.
CBD is not the compound responsible for the infamous cannabis high, so when you consume CBD alone, you won’t feel any psychotropic effects.
So why do people take CBD? The main reason for using CBD is its health benefits. Studies tell us that CBD may be effective in helping treat:
anxiety and depression (1)
sleep disorders (2)
neurodegenerative disorders (5)
skin conditions (7)
There are many ways to make and consume CBD. CBD oil is one of the most popular product options but you can also find candies, lotions, vape fluid, and more.
Does CBD negatively affect your kidneys?
As with any product you add to your routine, it’s important to understand the possible side effects that can occur from CBD use. Some concerns have been raised about how CBD might affect the kidneys, but what exactly is the risk?
A 2018 study did find that chronic cannabis use was associated with a more rapid decline in eGFR, a measure of kidney function (8). However, this could be because patients with already declining kidney disease may turn to medicinal cannabis to help them manage their pain, nausea, and anxiety.
In fact, when we look at another study that compares cannabis use and non-cannabis use among patients within the same eGFR range, no link is found between cannabis use and kidney function decline (9).
Even if a link were to be found between cannabis and kidney disease, that doesn’t mean that CBD alone has a negative effect on kidney function.
Research tells us that no evidence has been uncovered that suggests CBD has a negative impact on kidney function (9). But other ingredients found in CBD products could prove dangerous to kidney health. Contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals can prove toxic to kidney function.
CBD alone brings no risk of kidney damage. But it’s important that you source your CBD oil from a reputable company with third-party testing to ensure that you’re not consuming any dangerous contaminants that could affect your kidneys.
CBD as a treatment for chronic kidney disease
As well as pure CBD oil not having a risk of negative impact on your kidneys, it turns out that CBD might actually improve kidney function. One study using a mouse model found that CBD managed to prevent chemotherapy-induced kidney deterioration. Impressively, CBD managed to reduce the stress, inflammation, and cell death that typically occurs in the kidneys of mice with exposure to the specific chemotherapy used in this study (10).
A 2019 review of cannabis therapy for managing chronic kidney disease also found that cannabinoids like CBD could be helpful in treating chronic kidney disease symptoms. The study found that synthetic cannabinoids were especially useful in helping to manage chronic kidney disease patients’ pain levels.
While more research is needed into how CBD specifically might help, these results are indicative of the potential benefits of cannabinoids, in general, to help patients with kidney disease (11).
Other CBD side effects
While CBD might not negatively affect kidney function, it does come with some side effects. The good news is that the side effects of CBD are largely mild. Common CBD side effects include:
We know that CBD can’t get you high, and it turns out that overdose is also extremely unlikely. This is because CBD receptors aren’t found in the areas of the brain that controls respiration, meaning that even large doses of CBD can’t affect breathing in any way similar to what occurs during an overdose (13).
When to talk to your doctor
Even though CBD might not be the cause of any kidney issues, it’s important to know the symptoms of kidney failure so that you can seek appropriate care. The following symptoms can occur due to kidney deterioration and you should reach out to your doctor if you experience them:
a reduction to your urine output
swelling to your legs and feet due to fluid retention
shortness of breath
pressure in your chest or chest pain
irregular heartbeat (14)
In severe cases of acute kidney failure, you could also experience a seizure or coma.
The bottom line
While you’re right to do your research about the potential side effects of CBD oil, studies associating CBD with kidney failure is not something you’ll find. In fact, CBD may even help prevent kidney deterioration from occurring.