CBD is known for its amazing medical benefits and it is used to alleviate a wide range of health conditions and symptoms. In fact, a growing number of people prefer using CBD than prescription medication because they find the former more effective and a lot safer.
However, according to a Forbes news report, a new study suggests that when using CBD, we should also look after our liver. Apparently, researchers have learned that CBD could also be harmful to the liver in the same way as alcohol.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science, investigated CBD hepatotoxicity in mice. Researchers found that while CBD is being recognized for its potent therapeutic effects and while many people use it as a safer alternative to pharmaceutical pain relievers like acetaminophen, the substance could also put users at a higher risk for liver toxicity.
But first, what is liver toxicity?
Liver toxicity or toxic hepatitis is an adverse reaction of your liver to various substances. More specifically, it is the inflammation of your liver in reaction to certain substances that you have been exposed to, including alcohol, chemicals, other drugs, and supplements that claim to be natural. All of these can take their toll on liver function, even among healthy individuals.
In some cases, liver toxicity develops within days — even hours — of exposure to a toxin. There are also cases wherein it may take months of regular use before symptoms appear.
Published in the journal Molecules, the study employed interesting methods. First, it utilized all of the dosages and safety recommendations from Epidiolex. Epidiolex is a CBD-based prescription medication designed to treat seizures that are associated with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in children above two years old. These diseases are types of epilepsy.
Epidiolex, which is manufactured by GW Pharma, was granted approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year. In Epidiolex’s Indications & Important Safety Information literature, it warns users that the drug may cause liver problems.
The researchers spent some time examining mice who were given various doses of CBD. Some of the mice received lower doses, while others were purposely given more doses.
Quite surprisingly, the researchers found that those mice given higher doses of CBD had shown signs of liver damage within just 24 hours. Meanwhile, 75 percent of the mice who were in the sub-acute phase were on the verge of death within a few days.
Igor Koturbash, PhD, the study’s lead author, said that the risk of liver damage from using CBD is a nasty side effect that is clearly printed on the Epidiolex packaging. He said that if you look closely at the Epidolex label, it states a warning for liver injury. The label states that you have to monitor the patient’s liver enzyme levels.
In fact, Dr. Koturbash noted that in clinical trials, 5% to 20% of the patients had developed elevated liver enzymes. Some patients, he added, were withdrawn from the trials.
Wait, there’s more!
The latest study also suggests that CBD has the potential for drug and herbal interactions.
The researchers wrote: “CBD differentially regulated more than 50 genes, many of which were linked to oxidative stress responses, lipid metabolism pathways and drug metabolizing enzymes.”
No need to be alarmed!
Dr. Koturbash, however, had been quick to point out that the CBD products that are coming to market may not pose this particular risk.
What Dr. Koturbash is sure of is that more research is needed on CBD in order to evaluate the overall safety of the compound.
Moreover, further studies should look into human models instead of mice or animal models in order for them to get a more accurate picture.
Insanely ridiculous amounts of CBD had been used
If you look at the abstract of the study, the mice “were gavaged with either 0, 246, 738, or 2460 mg/kg of CBD (acute toxicity, 24 h) or with daily doses of 0, 61.5, 184.5, or 615 mg/kg of CBD for 10 days (sub-acute toxicity).” It was noted that the doses were “the allometrically scaled mouse equivalent doses (MED) of the maximum recommended human maintenance dose of CBD in EPIDIOLEX® (20 mg/kg).”
One cannabis advocate and daily CBD user said: “Any person would see that two of the higher doses that had been used were 615 mg/kg and 2460 mg/kg. To put that into perspective, that is the equivalent to over 43,000 mg or 35 x 1200 mg bottles per dose and over 172,000 mg or 143 x 1,200 mg bottles per dose for a 70 kg person a day. No one would ever use or even need to use that sort of quantity in nine to 12 months, let alone in a 24-hour period.”