How does CBD oil affect the liver?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound from the cannabis plant. It is increasingly popular to use due to its potential health benefits. While some people may have concerns about potential liver damage, more research is necessary to determine how CBD may impact the liver.
CBD refers to one of the many cannabinoid compounds present in the cannabis plant. While research is ongoing, growing evidence suggests that CBD may interact with the endocannabinoid system and possess many different health benefits.
Unlike delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is another well-known cannabinoid, CBD lacks the psychoactive effects that many people may associate with the characteristic high of cannabis.
However, as the liver metabolizes CBD, researchers are investigating whether this cannabinoid may cause potential liver damage or affect the function of this vital organ.
In this article, we discuss the potential side effects of CBD oil on the liver, and how to use CBD safely.
Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) , CBD could potentially cause liver damage. During its review of cannabidiol (Epidiolex), a drug containing CBD to help treat seizures, the FDA noted that higher doses of CBD that a person takes without medical supervision could lead to liver injury. As the FDA does not currently approve CBD products, it may be difficult to gauge how they may impact the liver.
Research notes that people generally tolerate CBD well and it has a good safety profile. However, CBD may alter the effects of other drugs due to how the cannabinoid may interact with the liver and its ability to metabolize drugs. As such, higher doses of CBD may affect the liver and could lead to the medication not working, or an increased risk of side effects.
A 2020 research review highlighted that more research into the dosage of CBD and its effect on the liver is necessary. It concluded that there is a low risk of liver damage at the high doses used in pharmaceutical CBD products and a much lower risk of liver damage at the low doses commonly found in dietary supplements and food products. Similarly, a 2021 study also suggested that self-medication of CBD is unlikely to affect liver function.