One study on mice has led to some scrutiny over whether CBD oil could be harmful. So, should you be worried? Is CBD oil bad for your liver? Food industry news, voices and jobs. Optimized for your mobile phone.
Is CBD Oil Bad For Your Liver? Here’s What You Need To Know
Any new supplements you are considering adding to your diet should be looked at carefully. Do they fit with your lifestyle? Will they interact with any prescription medications you’re on?
Our extensive research – and that of scientists across the globe – has proven that CBD oil is well tolerated by the human body and that it has very few, if any, side effects.
Taken by itself, there is no negative impact on core functions such as digestion, heart rate or glucose levels, even with higher doses of CBD oil (up to 1,500mg per day).
But one lone study on mice has led to some scrutiny over whether CBD Oil could be harmful to the liver, affecting how it functions.
So, should you be worried? Is CBD oil bad for your liver?
What Is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive chemical compound found inside the cannabis plant. It’s used as a supplement to help support a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, and is most commonly taken as oil drops under the tongue, but can also come in other forms such as absorption drinks and creams.
Despite its roots in the cannabis plant, CBD oil is legal to buy in the UK and in many other countries across the globe, and many consumers claim it’s effective for pain relief, combating nausea, stress, with more than a third of CBD oil users claiming it helps with their anxiety.
Cannabidiol interacts with and supports the human endocannabinoid system by binding to the receptors found in the body’s nervous system.
These receptors pass messages through pathways in the human body to keep the body well balanced, and the endocannabinoid system helps to regulate hormones, sleep patterns and mood, as well as things like appetite and immune response.
What Does Your Liver Do?
The liver is a metabolically active internal organ in the human body. It holds more than 10% of your total blood supply and actually has more than 500 different functions. The three main functions are that it cleans the blood, produces a digestive liquid known as bile and stores energy.
Bile aids digestion in the small intestine by breaking up fats into fatty acids. The liver works to transform all the nutrients we ingest into something the body can use, stores these substances and then distributes them around the body when and where they are required. It also converts toxins into harmless waste products that the body can then get rid of.
To keep your liver healthy you should eat a balanced diet, keep to a moderate alcohol consumption, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight and avoid recreational drugs.
The liver is the only organ in the human body that can regenerate itself. If the liver is healthy and a quarter of its tissue remains in place, it can regrow to its original size within just a few weeks.
Excessive intake of alcohol, fatty food, sugar and salt can all be damaging for your liver. Overindulging in these things can result in numerous problems, including liver failure.
Signs that your liver isn’t working properly include yellow skin or eyes, known as jaundice, abdominal pain or bloating and swelling of the legs and feet.
Will CBD Oil Hurt Your Liver?
Following a single study on mice last year, there have been concerns about CBD oil possibly being damaging to your liver if it is used in high quantities.
However, in the study in question, the doses used for the mice were much higher than humans would take, so the small daily drop of CBD oil which is advised for people is highly unlikely to cause the same effect. Therefore the study doesn’t mimic the typical intake of a CBD user. Scientists have instead said the findings can give an indication of the consequences of a potential CBD oil overdose.
It is the same with any drug or supplement. If you take more than the recommended dose there are always possible consequences, whether it be an excessive dose of grapefruit extract or ibuprofen. Studies have shown that using more than the recommended dose of ibuprofen, for example, can cause stomach ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems as well as greater risk of cardiovascular concerns.
And – obviously – a mouse is not a human being. Although they share very similar genes, which is why mice are frequently used for testing purposes, they are physiologically very different and this must be taken into consideration.
Further research into the findings has shown that using the correct dosage of CBD oil is safe for widespread use, and is well tolerated by the vast majority of people.
This is backed up by the World Health Organisation, no less. Not only that, but conflicting research has shown that the therapeutic properties of CBD oil could actually help improve liver function because of the way it interacts with endocannabinoids to create anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Can CBD Cause Liver Failure?
As CBD Oil is so new to the market, there is still much research to be done into what it can do, how it can potentially help users and any undiscovered risks involved.
However, initial findings suggest that side effects are minimal and it is only if you take a comparably huge dose of CBD Oil that your liver could be affected.
There are three main things to cause liver failure – obesity, alcohol misuse and hepatitis. CBD is not one of these and nor is it currently deemed to be a contributory factor.
The Bottom Line
Taking the correct, recommended dose of good quality CBD pil as part of a general wellness routine is unlikely to cause any side effects, including liver damage. Any side effects reported in humans up to now are very rare – and very mild if they do occur.
Vitally, if you are a CBD consumer, ensure you buy from a reputable source with lab certified products who can verify their contents. If you are already taking any form of medication we advise that you consult your doctor or healthcare professional before taking any CBD Oil or related products.
Study: CBD does not cause liver damage
Despite CBD’s popularity and increasing ubiquitousness, questions still linger regarding the safety and long-term impact of using the hemp and cannabis-derived substance.
Since hemp is now legal and CBD is becoming more mainstream, the FDA has come under pressure to clarify its stance on the ingredient so manufacturers eager to capitalize on the growing demand can develop products that can be sold.
A summer 2019 study involving mice suggested that there may be a link between CBD and liver damage. Critics pushed for a human study, like Validcare’s, saying there are differences between how CBD functions in mice versus humans, and most people would not ingest the level of CBD provided to rodents in the study.
The results of the study are likely good news for players in the CBD industry who may have been fearing heavy restrictions, should the results have raised red flags.
There are still plenty of other health-related questions about CBD to tackle. These stem from the relative newness of the ingredient and the lack of long-term research on side effects or how it may interact with medications. As a result, the FDA has cracked down on CBD-containing products making health claims or statements about what the ingredient can accomplish.
Consumers are showing increasing eagerness to add CBD to their daily regimens, with 40% saying in March 2019 that they would try CBD, according to a study by High Yield Insights. The ingredient got a boost during the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumers sought ways to relax, ease tension and improve sleep quality.
The lack of FDA regulations around CBD has not stopped companies from planning and creating products. These include completely new offerings and reimagined versions of existing ones. Unilever-owned ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s was the first to hint at the possibility of adding CBD to some products after hemp cultivation was legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill. Soon after, Mondelez’s CEO announced that the company is exploring CBD snacks . Smoothie maker Bolthouse Farms has also expressed interest in developing a CBD-infused line of its drinks, but progress has been slow due to regulatory ambiguities , said the company’s vice president of marketing.
Drink makers seem to be leading the charge when it comes to getting CBD products on store shelves. Ocean Spray’s Lighthouse incubator launched a line of sparkling CBD water called CarryOn, while Constellation Brands’ Canopy Growth launched its own bubbly CBD beverage, Quatreau . Truss CBD USA, a partnership between Molson Coors Beverage Company and Canadian cannabis grower Hexo, has also debuted a sparkling CBD drink called Veryvell in the U.S.
With the number of states legalizing cannabis increasing and a new administration that appears more favorable toward the substance, momentum around CBD is gaining speed. Manufacturers have little reason to stop making CBD products to satiate growing consumer demand, but the FDA has a critical role to play in determining how many of them will come to market.