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Kidney Disease & CBD Oil: Research on Symptoms & Possible Benefits

Kidney disease is a common but complicated illness. According to the National Kidney Foundation, nearly 37 million Americans have kidney disease resulting in abnormal renal function. This illness has no known cure and is often treated through symptom management and attempts to delay disease progression. This is where CBD oil may be able to help.

The current research on CBD oil for kidney disease is neither exhaustive nor conclusive, but it is promising. Many of the symptoms and conditions connected to kidney disease have been helped or impacted by CBD in some way.

Here is a closer look at what we know so far about all the ways CBD oil may be useful in managing kidney disease.

Benefits of CBD Oil for Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease cannot usually be cured. Acute kidney disease can sometimes be reversed and at other times can become chronic.

Dialysis and kidney transplants are the only treatments for the end stages of the disease, but in the early stages, treatment involves a series of medications to help address the health concerns that accompany this sort of diagnosis.

Often, people with kidney disease experience increased blood pressure, higher cholesterol levels, anemia, and weakening of muscles and bones. The treatments prescribed for these conditions can be effective but also produce unpleasant side effects. CBD oil, while certainly no cure for kidney disease, may also be able to help address some of these symptoms with potentially fewer and milder side effects.

Medical Editor’s Note: Kidney disease doesn't usually cause high cholesterol. High blood pressure and high cholesterol cause end-organ disease, which leads to kidney damage. Blood pressure is a tricky one because it can cause kidney disease but can also be caused by kidney disease.

If you’re considering trying CBD oil to manage the symptoms of kidney disease, alone or in tandem with your current kidney disease medication, first speak to your doctor. While CBD oil is considered relatively safe, it can interact with some medications in a way that’s dangerous to the liver.

As a starting reference, the table below looks at some of the most common kidney disease medications, their side effects, and CBD’s potential interaction with them.

Kidney Disease Treatment Potential Side Effects of Medication Interaction of CBD Oil and Kidney Disease Medication
Blood pressure medication (ACE Inhibitors; angiotensin II receptor blockers) Dizziness; headaches; diarrhea; nausea; dry cough; skin rash; back and joint pain. Using CBD oil with some ACE inhibitors can increase the risk of liver damage.  Always speak to a doctor before taking CBD oil.
Statins (Lipitor; Crestor; Zocor) Headache; insomnia; muscle aches and weakness; drowsiness; dizziness; nausea; vomiting. Using CBD oil with some statins can increase the risk of liver damage.  Always speak to a doctor before taking CBD oil.
Iron Supplements Constipation; dark stool; nausea; vomiting. There are no known interactions between CBD oil and iron supplements. But that does not mean they do not exist.  Always speak to a doctor before taking CBD oil.
Calcium Calcium: Nausea; vomiting; constipation; confusion; muscle weakness; lack of energy. There are no interactions between CBD oil and calcium. But that does not mean they do not exist.  Always speak to a doctor before taking CBD oil.
Vitamin D Kidney stones; confusion; muscle weakness; weight loss; frequent urination; extreme thirst. Vitamin D may not be metabolized as well when taken with CBD oil.  Always speak to a doctor before taking CBD oil.

Effectiveness of CBD Oil for Kidney Disease

Research into the potential uses of CBD oil is ongoing. And while nothing is conclusive, there is a good amount of evidence that suggests cannabidiol (CBD) may be effective in managing some of the conditions associated with kidney disease, making life easier and more enjoyable for those afflicted.

In particular, CBD oil may be able to help with the symptoms of chronic pain, high blood pressure, increased cholesterol, insomnia, and weakened bones. Let’s take a look at the research so far.

CBD Oil for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain, and neuropathic pain specifically, are common symptoms of renal failure. Fortunately, CBD oil is being studied and used for its ability to alleviate pain.

Cannabidiol’s anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the experience and causes of a wide variety of painful symptoms. Additionally, CBD has been found to affect glycine receptors, which are linked to neuropathic and chronic pain. Researchers have found that cannabinoids like CBD “may represent a novel class of therapeutic agents for the treatment of chronic pain and other diseases.”

CBD Oil for High Blood Pressure

For people with kidney disease, high blood pressure is a common occurrence. Unfortunately, many blood pressure medications can actually decrease kidney functioning and change the body’s electrolyte balance, leading to a need for ongoing blood tests. CBD oil may be a more reasonable option.

CBD is a vasodilator. This means that it can widen, or dilate, the blood vessels allowing blood to pass through more easily and reduce blood pressure. A 2017 study found that even a single dose of CBD oil significantly reduced the blood pressure of participants both under stress and at rest.

In that same year, a review of studies on blood flow found that despite the limited research, “CBD may be used as a treatment for various cardiovascular disorders, such as hypertension, myocardial infarction, and stroke.”

CBD Oil for Cholesterol

Unfortunately, when it comes to CBD oil and cholesterol, published studies are limited. But, research does indicate that CBD may be able to help increase metabolism, thereby improving cholesterol levels. A higher metabolism means the body processes fat and calories at a faster rate, ultimately decreasing blood cholesterol levels.

In addition, CBD oil naturally contains omega-3 fatty acids. The cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are well-studied and include their ability to prevent the buildup of cholesterol in the bloodstream.

More research is certainly required but at the moment, it seems that CBD does have some sort of impact on cholesterol levels.

CBD Oil for Insomnia

The research on using CBD oil for sleep is still early, but the results so far are somewhat encouraging.

A 2019 clinical trial examined the effects of CBD on 72 patients with anxiety and sleep issues. By the end of the three-month trial, the patients reporting sleep issues recorded a slight improvement to their sleep scores. Interestingly, patients who had reported initial anxiety issues recorded a small negative impact on sleep scores due to CBD.

Generally speaking, CBD has been proven to help reduce stress by lowering the levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone produced in times of stress that elicits an alert, fight-or-flight response. At night, your cortisol levels should naturally fall, and allow the body and mind to relax. However, a packed schedule, the pressure at work, and a number of other factors contribute to a lifestyle of chronic stress and chronic cortisol production, which can make getting to sleep nearly impossible at the end of the day. By blocking cortisol secretion, CBD oil may be able to help fight insomnia caused by stress.

CBD Oil for Strengthening Bones

When it comes to CBD research, one of the most interesting and unexpected areas of study is on bone strength. Specifically, how CBD may help those with weakening bones and conditions like osteoporosis.

There are two types of cells that impact bone density: osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Osteoblasts form new bone and osteoclasts degrade bone—they work in balance to regulate bone growth and loss.

Osteoclasts have a receptor called GPR55 that, when stimulated, increases the rate of bone loss. In a 2009 study, CBD was found to block GPR55, decreasing the rate of osteoclast activity and ultimately, bone loss.

Finally, it is worth noting that endocannabinoids are produced in the bones. Scientists have yet to determine their exact function and mechanism, but it makes sense intuitively that phytocannabinoids like CBD, which are similar to the body’s endocannabinoids, may have a positive effect on bone health.

How to Use CBD Oil for Kidney Disease

There are many different ways to use CBD oil for kidney disease and the option you choose will depend on your needs and lifestyle preferences.

For most people with kidney disease, it would make sense to take consistent therapeutic doses in the form of a capsule, or through CBD oil tinctures or drops.

CBD oil tinctures and drops provide a faster-acting dose of CBD oil. Placed sublingually under the tongue, CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream directly through the thin skin of the mouth, typically showing effects within 30 minutes; these effects usually last 2 to 4 hours. While tinctures and drops do not last as long as capsules, they are portable and discreet. They also offer the most dosage control, allowing you to control the amount of CBD you’re taking down to the literal drop. Because you can easily adjust dosage, CBD oil drops or tinctures may be a good starting point if you’ve never used CBD before and still need to figure out your ideal dose.

Using CBD oil capsules or CBD oil edibles, like gummies, will feel familiar to most. Similar to taking other supplements, these delivery formats provide a relatively consistent dose of CBD and the effects typically last from 4 to 6 hours. Because the CBD must first be processed through the digestive system, an edible or capsule may take longer to show effect. Depending on metabolism speed and the amount of food already present in the stomach, CBD oil capsules and edibles could take up to an hour to work.

CBD vape oil, e-liquids, and CBD flower are not the best choice when looking to regularly supplement with CBD, but they can still be useful. Because vaping and smoking CBD brings about near-instant effects, these CBD products are best used to treat the sudden onset of symptoms. In the case of kidney disease, these products may be useful in managing stress levels and sudden spikes in blood pressure. Bypassing the digestive system, inhaled CBD oil is absorbed through the lungs and shows effects right away. Unfortunately, these effects are short-lived and are typically gone within an hour. It is easy to take another dose if needed, but it should be pointed out that smoking and vaping will not always be appropriate options.

When dealing with the myriad of symptoms associated with kidney disease, sufferers may find that a combination of products is what is most effective for them.

Dosage of CBD Oil for Kidney Disease

It would be great if there was a single recommended dose of CBD oil for kidney disease but unfortunately, that is not the case.

The amount of CBD oil you need will depend on a number of factors that are unique to you. Unless your doctor suggests otherwise, always start with the lowest recommended dose on your CBD oil product. Once you have determined how your body responds to CBD, you can adjust the dosage up or down as needed.

At CBD Oil Review, we have analyzed hundreds of products and have come up with a standard recommended dose to get you started:

The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25mg of CBD, taken twice daily

If this amount does not provide the relief you are after, you can slowly increase the dose by 25 mg every 3-4 weeks until you find the results you are after.

For more information on CBD oil dosages, check out our dosage guide here. You can also speak to a naturopathic doctor for the most personalized CBD dosage advice.

The Best CBD Oil for Kidney Disease

There is no particular brand or product that is best for kidney disease. When shopping for CBD oil, the most important factors are safety and potency.

To verify you’ve purchased a high-quality CBD oil product, keep the following in mind:

  • The Law. Before you purchase any CBD oil products, make sure you understand the laws in your state. Yes, CBD oil is legal at the federal level as long as it is derived from hemp and contains 0.3% THC or less. But, that does not mean CBD oil is legal in your state. Do your research.
  • Check for THC. In states with legal access to medicinal and recreational cannabis, some CBD oil products will also contain THC in amounts greater than 0.3%. If you live in a state that has strict cannabis laws or you’d rather avoid using THC, look for products that use broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate.
  • Look for the Certificate of Analysis (COA). You should only buy from brands that post a COA for every batch of CBD oil products produced. The COAs are lab results that will let you know exactly what is and is not, in your CBD oil. A COA will help you verify the CBD and THC concentrations stated on the label, and alert you to any contamination from pesticides and heavy metals in the final product.

Kidney disease is a difficult illness with no known cure. It is chronic and progressive, leading sufferers to seek effective ways to manage the symptoms and related conditions.

The research on CBD oil and all of its potential uses is in its infancy. As scientific study progresses, it is likely that we will find out more about how CBD oil can be useful in the treatment of kidney disease. Until then, CBD oil holds promise in its potential to combat high blood pressure, regulate cholesterol, and maintain bone strength. Talk to your doctor to find out if using CBD oil for kidney disease is the right option for you.

 

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