Can CBD Help With Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are a common, painful condition that affects many people. While you can treat kidney stones, many common therapies are invasive and painful, requiring you to stay in the hospital. Kidney specialists are always looking for new ways to prevent and treat kidney stones. And, recently, experts have explored CBD oil’s potential to address kidney stones. But first, a refresher.
If you’re suffering from kidney stones, but have never used CBD oil before, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with this compound and its potential benefits. So let’s take a deeper look into what CBD is and how CBD works.
What Is CBD?
Officially known as cannabidiol, CBD is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant, both in hemp and marijuana strains. CBD comes from a larger group of naturally occurring chemicals in the cannabis plant referred to as cannabinoids.
There are somewhere between 80 and 100 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Each has the potential to uniquely interact with your body. The only cannabinoid more well known than CBD is THC. This is the cannabinoid responsible for the high you experience with marijuana use.
The good news is that, if you use a hemp-extract CBD, it will only contain trace amounts of THC. This means that you can enjoy the cannabinoid’s potential benefits without the fear of intoxication.
But How Does CBD Work?
It turns out that your body produces its own internal cannabinoids. In fact, we have an entire internal system, known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), to process internal and external cannabinoids. This complex system closely regulates many different processes in the body, including memory, food, and mood. That’s why CBD and THC produce effects in these systems and functions.
Many cannabinoids bond directly to ECS receptors, classified as CB1 and CB2 receptors. But CBD acts somewhat differently than the other cannabinoids. Instead of bonding with receptors, CBD stimulates your ECS, encouraging the production of internal cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. It also slows the breakdown of enzymes that keep existing cannabinoids in your system.
And that’s not all: CBD affects more than 60 different pathways in your brain, influencing your serotonin reception, immune system function, and a lot more. This is why we’re constantly discovering new ways that CBD can impact our lives.
But, today, our question is: can CBD help with kidney stones? Now, there are no studies directly pertaining to this subject, but we can make an informed decision based on information from other studies. So let’s take a look at what exactly kidney stones are and how you might identify them.
What Are Kidney Stones?
Understanding the problem helps us understand how CBD oil might help. A kidney stone is actually a small concentration of minerals that collects in your urine, inside your kidney. If these minerals are not properly filtered from your urine, they form deposits or stones that are large enough to become noticeable. The most common kidney stone symptom is severe pain.
Kidney stones are most commonly formed from calcium oxalate. The calcium collects in your urine when your body doesn’t use it. The oxalate can come from vegetables, or it can be produced internally by your liver. Eating high-oxalate foods can greatly increase your risk of developing kidney stones.
Struvite stones are common if you suffer from urinary tract infections. Struvite stones can develop and grow very quickly inside your kidneys. This can result in sudden and severe symptoms.
There are two other types of kidney stones: ulric acid stones and cystine stones. Ulric stones are more common if your diet is high in fish. Cystine stones are common in patients with cystinuria. Regardless of the type of kidney stone you develop, the major symptoms are generally the same.
What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Stones?
Severe and lingering pain below your ribs in your back or side is the most common symptom. The pain can remain until you pass or surgically remove the kidney stone. Patients often struggle to find relief through pain medication. So this is one area where CBD oil may make a difference.
The pain of kidney stones may not be isolated. It can radiate into your lower abdomen and fluctuate with intensity over time. You may also experience increased pain or burning when urinating.
Many of the additional symptoms cause some level of discomfort. You may experience fever, chills, and nausea. These symptoms are more common if you have a related infection. Your urine may also be cloudy or change colors altogether. You may also feel the need to urinate frequently.
Those symptoms sound bad. And kidney stones are certainly unpleasant. So you should discuss them with your doctor, especially if the pain reaches a point of severity that limits your daily life. Fortunately, however, you may be able to address symptoms with plant-based CBD supplements.
How Can CBD Help With Kidney Stones?
One of CBD’s most well-documented properties is its ability to alleviate pain. And it appears to fight pain in different ways and from different sources. Remember, CBD stimulates the ECS and affects more than 60 different neural pathways. CBD influences the reception of pain throughout your entire body. That makes it one of the most capable potential sources of natural pain relief.
CBD’s ability to fight pain at different levels of intensity makes it a potentially valuable option for addressing kidney stones. The pain associated with kidney stones is often varied and unpredictable. You may have constant, stinging pain as well as regular flashes. CBD can help provide some level of relief for both types of pain.
CBD also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. This is particularly useful at fighting the pain caused by kidney stones. Acute renal colic is a type of pain caused when kidney stones block the flow of urine. It is a sudden and intense pain that can be treated with anti-inflammatories. Which is why CBD oil and a bowl of blueberries may offer fast relief while you seek medical intervention.
Is CBD Oil Good for the Kidneys?
Many studies suggest that CBD oil may promote general kidney health. It’s an area that needs further research but is already showing promise. One study indicates that stimulating the CB1 and CB2 receptors improves kidney health in patients. A later study tracked the impact of CBD on patients undergoing chemotherapy. And both these studies showed that CBD oil could have an overall positive effect on kidney health and function. This suggests that CBD oil could help reduce the risk of kidney stones in the future, while also helping reduce the severity of immediate symptoms.
Is It Safe to Take CBD With Kidney Stones?
While you should talk to your doctor about your specific health conditions, CBD is considered a safe, well-tolerated supplement. It may help relieve your most severe kidney stone symptoms while promoting better kidney health going forward. If you’ve tried pain medications or other kidney stone treatments in the past without results, then it may be time to talk to your doctor about adding CBD oil to your kidney stone prevention protocol. Always look for a high-quality CBD product from a reputable source. A certificate of analysis from a third-party lab is a good indicator of a reputable source. Here, you can find the ingredients and their potency in the product.
CBD Oil Side Effects on Kidneys: What Studies Found
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) and kidney injury are two significant threats to renal function. Depending on the cause, kidney health issues can – at best – affect your quality of life and – at worst – be fatal.
Conventional treatments have existed for quite a while, and some are very effective. Unfortunately, the potential adverse effects can make those options unbearable. Naturally, some people with chronic kidney disease or kidney injury (among others) decide to look outside mainstream options.
Cannabinoid medicine exploded in recent years, with millions claiming cannabidiol (CBD) helped relieve their symptoms where prescription medication doesn’t cut it.
So how can CBD oil help with chronic kidney disease – or any renal disorder? It’s a complicated topic that, despite some research, leaves more questions than answers.
What is CBD Oil?
If you’re familiar with CBD, you likely know about CBD oil. Content and potency vary depending on the oil and brand. But at its core, CBD oil is a type of natural extract from all forms of cannabis Sativa L. – the plant species often (incorrectly) separated into “marijuana” and “hemp.”
Manufacturers extract the CBD and other compounds using methods like hydrocarbon (butane), alcohol, or CO2. Once separated, the CBD is infused into a carrier oil, like MCT, grapeseed, hemp, or coconut.
You then ingest a pre-measured amount based on your CBD dosage needs. But although many claim CBD works for symptom management, there are also CBD oil side effects to consider. We’ll get to that shortly.
How CBD is Absorbed Into the Body
CBD is absorbed into the body using a vast internal network known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS consists of specific pathways known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors located in the central nervous and peripheral systems.
Cannabinoids like THC bind to both the CB1 and CB2, which is why recreational or medical cannabis users experience mental and physical effects.
Other cannabinoids interact with just one receptor, but CBD is one of many exceptions. Instead, cannabidiol impacts other receptors and pathways, ultimately altering the shapes of the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
This reaction affects how external (phytocannabinoids) and internal (endocannabinoids) affect the brain and body. These “adjustments” are often beneficial, as are CBD’s interactions with the serotonin, vanilloid, and other vital receptors.
But before it can do all of that, CBD needs to get into your bloodstream. There are several ways to do this. All consumption methods have advantages and disadvantages, which alter the strength, duration, and effects of CBD.
Those being treated for chronic kidney disease or (other kidney diseases) should also consider potential drug interactions.
Inhalation offers a more authentic experience for vape and joint smokers. When consumed through the lungs, CBD hits the bloodstream almost instantly. As a result, you notice effects within minutes. However, the effects wear off faster than any other method – usually within two to four hours.
Many vendors don’t offer inhalable products, often due to health concerns. We’re all aware of the vape illness epidemic that dominated the news in 2019 (and continues to this day). We also don’t know the long-term damage of inhaling burnt cannabis plant matter – although it seems safer than tobacco.
Ingestion offers a broad range of options for taking CBD. Cannabidiol extracts can be infused into hundreds of foods and drinks, from desserts smoothies – even beer and wine! A few examples are:
With ingestion, the majority of CBD is broken down in the liver. Consequently, eating or drinking CBD is the slowest-acting option. But it makes up for this by lasting up to eight hours – longer than any other method.
Topicals are another diverse group of CBD products. But unlike smoking and eating, topicals don’t enter your bloodstream. Applied directly to the skin, these products provide a more focused, instant effect.
Is CBD Oil Excreted Through the Kidneys?
We know how CBD enters the body, but how does it leave? Considering urine tests are a common way to detect drug use, you’d think the kidneys eliminate a lot of THC and CBD. But a 2019 review in the Canadian Journal of Kidney and Health Disease shows that nothing could be further from the truth.
The authors explain THC and CBD mostly exit through the feces. As a result, they feel CBD’s minor effects on kidneys don’t require a CBD dosage adjustment. However, they’re unsure if we eliminate minor cannabinoids in the same fashion.
What are the Side Effects of CBD Oil?
Studies universally found that CBD is well-tolerated with no possibility for abuse or addiction. Side effects of CBD oil are mild, especially compared to prescription medication. Still, it might not be for you. Keep an eye out for some common side effects:
- Dry mouth
- Appetite changes
High doses of CBD – especially when introduced immediately without titrating – are more likely to trigger those effects. If these problems persist or worsen, stop using CBD.
Since hemp oil contains little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD extracts shouldn’t make you high. However, if you feel intoxicated, it’s possible the manufacturer mislabeled their product.
Common Causes of Kidney Disease
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is usually caused by diabetes or high blood pressure.
However, there are many other reasons, including (but not limited to):
- Drug interactions
- Physical injury
Symptoms of Kidney Disease
The symptoms of kidney disease can be difficult to pinpoint since various common infections or toxins often cause them. However, if you have high blood pressure or diabetes, pay extra close attention to the following signs:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Back pain
- Increased or decreased urination
- Sleep issues
- Muscle cramps
- Dry or itchy skin
- Swelling of the feet or ankles
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Regardless of the cause, chronic kidney disease is a serious threat to kidney function. If you’re concerned about your renal health, talk to a doctor as soon as possible.
Does CBD Oil Hurt Your Kidneys?
CBD oil may hurt the kidneys, but it also might help renal function. Preliminary research is either promising, inconclusive, or negative.
We’ll look at all the results next.
What Studies Say About CBD Oil Side Effects on Kidneys
The relationship between chronic kidney disease (or any other kidney health issue) and CBD oil isn’t well understood. Some research looks positive.
For example, a 2009 Study in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics discovered that CBD might help alleviate inflammation, oxidative stress, and cell destruction, reducing nephrotoxicity.
“Nephrotoxicity” refers to kidney damage from drugs or toxins. This condition makes it difficult to eliminate urine or waste, leading to a potentially deadly outcome.
The authors of the said review found that the activation of the CB1 receptors regulates renal vascular blood flow. Meanwhile, the renal CB2 receptors reduce the effects of inflammation, oxidative stress, and renal fibrosis. These findings support and explain the 2009 study’s observations.
Subsequent 2017 research in the American Journal of Physiology also concluded that cannabinoids have potentially beneficial effects on kidneys. However, they caution that we don’t know about the effects of CBD on acute kidney injury (AKI) or chronic kidney disease.
The following study shows how accurate this warning may have been.
Among the promising or inconclusive findings are some upsetting discoveries. One 2018 study in the American Society of Nephrology Found that cannabis consumers with impaired kidney function showed a faster decline than non-cannabis users.
One important detail, however, is that these subjects used THC and CBD products. This makes it difficult to determine if CBD or THC is responsible (if at all).
However, the mix of positive and negative findings might be attributed to CBD rather than CBD products. According to
2o2o review from Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension says, “There is no evidence to suggest that CBD has any adverse effect on kidney function. In fact, CBD prevented cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity in a mouse model by reducing oxidative stress. However, some products may contain toxic contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, and solvents.”
So are CBD’s effects on kidneys good or bad? For now, we don’t know. But even if cannabidiol is effective, quality CBD may be hard to find. Without a green light from the Food and Drug Administration, there’s no way to guarantee CBD oil is free of the aforementioned contaminants.
Potential Benefits of CBD Oil in Kidney Diseases
The effects of CBD oil on kidney disease are mostly promising but still warrant caution. But there’s some good news. Even if CBD has no direct therapeutic effects on those organs, chronic kidney disease patients can (and do) use cannabis for symptom control.
The 2020 study above mentions CBD’s potential for pain management. Researchers believe CBD may help mitigate chronic pain related to kidney disease.
They also theorize that maybe CBD’s analgesic benefits could reduce the need for opioids – but that’s an enormous “maybe.”
Dosage and Precautions for CBD Oil and Kidneys
We know very little about the effects of CBD oil on kidneys and next to nothing about the proper CBD dosage. Unfortunately, dosing cannabinoids isn’t an exact science, despite decades of research. Synthetic cannabinoids, like Sativex and Marinol, being are a couple of exceptions.
However, those prescription drugs are designed to treat specific symptoms rather than the broad range of potential benefits assigned to CBD.
It also doesn’t help that we can’t (yet) conclusively prove that CBD oil side effects on kidneys outweigh the possible beneficial effects of CBD.
But if you feel it helps with symptoms like nausea or chronic pain, you can at least benefit from those effects.
In this case, follow the “start low and go slow” rule. Begin with the smallest dose possible (usually 2.5 to 5 mg) and increase every few days as needed.
That being said, don’t try adding CBD to your daily health routine without consulting a doctor – especially if you have kidney disease.
Summary: CBD Oil Side Effects on Kidneys
There’s some promising CBD research that could be a game-changer for those with kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, or other renal function problems.
But while exciting, we need to remember Despite some worthwhile findings, none of the potential benefits have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. CBD oil isn’t intended to prevent, diagnose, or treat any illness.
However, we should see these discoveries as springboards to inspire further research.
“Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease | NIDDK.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Oct. 2016, www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/causes. Accessed 25 Nov. 2021.
CDC. “Outbreak of Severe Pulmonary Disease Linked with E-Cigarette Product Use.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 Sept. 2019, www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html. Accessed 25 Nov. 2021.
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/, 10.1177/2054358119828391. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.
Nesbitt, Hal. “American Society of Nephrology | Kidney Week – Abstract Details.” Www.asn-Online.org, www.asn-online.org/education/kidneyweek/2018/program-abstract.aspx?controlId=3017229. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.
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, 10.1124/jpet.108.147181. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.
Park, Frank, et al. “Cannabinoids and the Kidney: Effects in Health and Disease.” American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology, vol. 313, no. 5, Nov. 2017, pp. F1124–F1132, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5792153/, 10.1152/ajprenal.00290.2017. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.
Rein, Joshua L. “The Nephrologistʼs Guide to Cannabis and Cannabinoids.” Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension, vol. 29, no. 2, Mar. 2020, pp. 248–257, 10.1097/mnh.0000000000000590. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.