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Does CBD Affect Your Kidneys?

There is no evidence to suggest that CBD has any adverse effect on kidney function. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Several studies have demonstrated that CBD can reduce oxidative stress, which could protect cells from damage and slow down the progression of the disease.

Indeed, it is thought that CBD is well tolerated, safe, and effective for a variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions when used at the correct dose. However, users should be aware of the fact that CBD may interact with some prescription medications. In addition to this, users should also avoid unregulated CBD products. Let’s look at the relationship between CBD and your kidneys in more detail, including the potential benefits and what you need to consider before taking CBD with a kidney condition.

Oxidative stress (OS) is the imbalance between oxidant and antioxidant molecules, in favour of oxidants, that causes ageing and disease. This imbalance can be particularly harmful to the kidneys because they undergo a lot of oxidation reactions, which makes them more susceptible to damage from oxidative stress. Indeed, several studies show that oxidative stress can both worsen and speed up the progression of kidney disease, and that in patients with advanced kidney disease, oxidative stress is linked to other health problems like high blood pressure, inflammation, and hardening of the arteries. 

CBD, on the other hand, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could reduce oxidative stress, protect cells from damage, and slow down the progression of disease, including kidney disease. This is because CBD, like other antioxidants, interrupts free radical chain reactions, capturing free radicals or transforming them into less active forms. 

Image via Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol (2020).

Indeed, one study found that CBD prevented cisplatin induced nephrotoxicity in a mouse model by reducing oxidative stress. Cisplatin is a chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat various types of cancer. However, one of its significant side effects is that it can cause damage to the kidneys (nephrotoxicity) as a result of oxidative stress. Treatment of mice with CBD markedly reduced oxidative/nitrosative stress, inflammation, and cell death in the kidney, and it improved renal function. 

Another study concluded that CBD is partially protective against the progression of chronic renal fibrosis, the final manifestation of chronic kidney disease (CKD), due to its anti-inflammatory and reno-protective effects. Another study found that CBD improved cardiac function and reduced renal (kidney) injury in a mouse model of cytokine storm. 

Chronic kidney disease can cause pain and discomfort. CBD has been studied for its analgesic (pain-relieving) properties and may help alleviate pain associated with kidney disease. One review of clinical studies based on the treatment of common symptoms encountered in advanced stages of chronic kidney disease concluded that, on studies conducted in patients without renal impairment, those treated with non-synthetic cannabinoids were 43% to 300% more likely to report a >30% reduction in chronic neuropathic pain compared with placebo. 

High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for kidney disease and can exacerbate its progression. Some studies suggest that CBD may help lower blood pressure, which could potentially benefit individuals with kidney disease.

For example, a 2017 study on nine healthy male volunteers concluded that CBD reduces resting blood pressure and the blood pressure associated with increased heart rate of those that were under stress. Another 2023 randomised controlled trial observed that, after five-weeks of CBD administration to hypertensive patients, reductions in blood pressure were seen.

There’s also some evidence that CBD may have other cardiovascular benefits, such as one small study from 2021 which found that heart rate variability (HRV) improved modestly after participants ingested CBD. However, more research is understood to fully understand the relationship between the two.

While CBD has shown potential benefits for kidney function, one of the main concerns is that CBD can interact with medications commonly used to treat kidney disease, such as blood pressure medications and immunosuppressants, which could lead to adverse side effects.

In addition to this, users should be aware of unregulated products. One study of 84 CBD products sold online found that 42% of products contained more CBD than stated on the label, 26% were over labelled, and the remaining 31% contained the stated amount. There are also concerns around these products containing toxic contaminants, such as heavy metals, pesticides, and solvents.

Thus, if you’re considering using CBD for your kidney health, it is essential to talk to your doctor first about the potential benefits and risks of CBD, what to look for, and where to purchase it to avoid adverse effects. There are several other factors to consider, including:

  • Type of CBD: Broad-spectrum CBD is a great option for those who want to experience the effects of CBD without consuming THC, the psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. Clinical reports suggest that broad or full-spectrum CBD may have a better effect due to the number of cannabinoids and other plant compounds they contain that work together, otherwise known as the entourage effect
  • Dosage: Finding the right dose and administration method can be a trial-and-error process as results can vary significantly from person to person. In general, you should start with a low dose and gradually increase it while monitoring its effects.
  • Source and Quality: Choose CBD derived from organically grown hemp, as this ensures minimal exposure to harmful chemicals. You should also look for third-party laboratory reports to verify how pure and potent your product is, and to ensure there are no contaminants.
  • Individual Variability: The effectiveness of CBD may vary from person to person; what works for one individual may not work for another.

Need additional help? Take our CBD Quiz for product recommendations in minutes, or read our full guides on How to Choose the Right CBD Product and The Different Types of CBD

We are Purity Hemp, the UK’s #1 Online CBD provider. Backed by science, and built on the principles of traceability, transparency & trust, we are dedicated to improving the health & wellness of people around the world. We are proud to be one of the only companies to guarantee full traceability from seed to shelf with our premium range of CBD products, tested by third-party, independent quality control analysts.

  • Atalay, Sinemyiz, et al. “Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol.” Antioxidants, vol. 9, no. 1, 25 Dec. 2019, p. 21, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7023045/, https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9010021.

  • Bonn-Miller, Marcel O, et al. “Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online.” JAMA, vol. 318, no. 17, 2017, pp. 1708–1709, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29114823, https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2017.11909.

  • Gyurászová, Marianna, et al. “Oxidative Stress in the Pathophysiology of Kidney Disease: Implications for Noninvasive Monitoring and Identification of Biomarkers.” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vol. 2020, 28 Jan. 2020, pp. 1–11, https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/5478708.

  • Ho, Claudia, et al. “A Review of Cannabis in Chronic Kidney Disease Symptom Management.” Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease, vol. 6, Jan. 2019, p. 205435811982839, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6388458/, https://doi.org/10.1177/2054358119828391.

  • Jadoon, Khalid A., et al. “A Single Dose of Cannabidiol Reduces Blood Pressure in Healthy Volunteers in a Randomized Crossover Study.” JCI Insight, vol. 2, no. 12, 15 June 2017, https://doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.93760.

  • Maayah, Zaid H., et al. “Cannabidiol Suppresses Cytokine Storm and Protects against Cardiac and Renal Injury Associated with Sepsis.” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 30 Dec. 2022, https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2022.0170.

  • nutraingredients.com. “Study: CBD May Lower Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Patients.” Nutraingredients.com, 16 Feb. 2023, www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2023/02/16/study-cbd-may-lower-blood-pressure-in-hypertensive-patients.

  • Pan, Hao, et al. “Cannabidiol Attenuates Cisplatin-Induced Nephrotoxicity by Decreasing Oxidative/Nitrosative Stress, Inflammation, and Cell Death.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, vol. 328, no. 3, 12 Dec. 2008, pp. 708–714, https://doi.org/10.1124/jpet.108.147181.

  • Suzuki, Shingo, et al. “CBGA Ameliorates Inflammation and Fibrosis in Nephropathy.” Scientific Reports, vol. 13, no. 1, 18 Apr. 2023, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10113213/, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-33507-2.

  • Timmons, Jessica. “CBD for Blood Pressure: Does It Have an Effect?” Healthline, 24 Sept. 2021, www.healthline.com/health/cbd-for-blood-pressure.

  • Williams, Natasha N. Bondareva, et al. “Comparison of Five Oral Cannabidiol Preparations in Adult Humans: Pharmacokinetics, Body Composition, and Heart Rate Variability.” Pharmaceuticals, vol. 14, no. 1, 6 Jan. 2021, p. 35, https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14010035.

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