CBD, Liver Damage – Rebutted

Forbes recently released an article called Marijuana Study Finds CBD Can Cause Liver Damage. It focuses on a recent research article from the journal Molecules, called “Hepatotoxicity of a Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract in the Mouse Model.” The researchers made their own CBD extract and took findings from GW’s Epidiolex clinical trials to give equivalent dosages to mice to observe the short-term effects. Keep in mind that their COA showed residual hexane, which is a known hepatotoxin.

The author uses this study to claim that CBD might be just as dangerous as alcohol or acetaminophen (Tylenol). These substances both have safe daily recommended amounts that do not harm the liver. But while alcohol’s abuse is well known and acetaminophen toxicity has replaced viral hepatitis as the most common cause of acute liver failure in the US, CBD has zero abuse potential because it is non-intoxicating, so its users have no incentive to approach similar levels.

GW observed that 20 mg/kg is the safe maximum daily dose of CBD. That’s 9 mg/lb. For a 100 pound person, that would be 900 mg a day. That’s between 1-2 grams for most adults.

The mouse researchers tested the effects of giving this max dose in a single day, and separately, the effects of giving it for fourteen days in a row. They then went on to perform the same test using triple the recommended safe daily dose and then once more using 10 times the limit.

In the same-day phase of testing, all of the detrimental effects occurred at the 3x and 10x levels. No negative effects were reported for the recommended safe maximum dose.

In the two-week phase, detrimental effects occurred only at the highest level. The author leaves a strong implication that CBD killed some of the mice, however, that isn’t the case. Some mice in the highest dosage group became so lethargic and anemic that the researchers decided to kill them on the third day. Mice in the lower two levels exhibited no visible signs of toxicity throughout the two weeks.

Because GW Pharma already determined a maximum recommended dose, it should come as no surprise that amounts higher than that can cause problems. Most people who regularly use CBD can’t or won’t ever come close to the “maximum” recommended amount due to cost, access, or simply needing less because of using whole plant extracts.

The author goes on to point out the warning on Epidiolex packaging that there is a risk for liver injury because 5-20% of patients in recent clinical trials experienced elevated liver enzymes. The overwhelming majority of increases in enzymes were at the 20mg/kg dose in combination with Valproic acid, another known liver toxin. Their published article cites three specific studies to support the case for elevated enzymes. In all three studies, the risk of elevated enzymes mostly applies to users who are also taking other medications, the risk isn’t severe, and the problem resolves itself for most. The author somehow conflates that to say all CBD users will develop a disease.

The fact that CBD can interact with other drugs in the liver is well-known and practices are already in place to avoid or minimize negative reactions.

As long as a reasonable amount of CBD is taken, and it isn’t taken at the same time as other medications, then there is a minute chance of a negative reaction occurring.

The author begrudgingly concedes that there is research on the positives of CBD. He brings up a study showing that cannabis users have a significant dose-dependent reduction in the odds of developing each of the four major stages of alcoholic liver disease. He quotes a doctor who said cannabis can lead to progression of liver disease in patients with hepatitis C, however, “cannabis” isn’t defined here and there is no citation provided by Healthline. The RoC Research Library has more studies showing the positives of cannabinoids for the liver.

One of his final warnings about CBD is actually a testament to its therapeutic potential. “CBD regulates 50 genes.” The keyword here is “regulate.” CBD works to regulate the rest of the body and help bring it to homeostasis. CBD actually has over 80 mechanisms of action.

The author concludes by saying that due to all the harms that CBD poses, users may as well be taking vodka to ease what ails them. Equating CBD to vodka is not a fair comparison. This article highlights why it’s important to do your own fact-checking and not accept everything you read at face value.  

Alternative to antidepressants

The cannabinoid therapy has helped me in many ways such as constipation relief from rare illness (SMAS) and a better sense of well being. My current health prognosis is I will not get better as I have dealt with this rare illness since 11/2010 and struggle daily with severe fatigue, abdominal pain, constipation, lack of normal digestion, etc. Plus cancer, aneurysm, and damaged spinal cord T6. I stopped using the oil and I got back on it as it helps with many things such as increased energy, sense of well-being, and helps a little with severe chronic pain.

This treatment gives me a better mood without taking antidepressants. I notice a huge difference when I take it daily and when I stop for a week so I can tell the difference. It does help once I load in my system (endocannabinoid) and I have also tried taking more such as 1 mL three times a day but it affected my liver so I dropped back down to .5 mL twice a day.

Zane’s Story

I wasn’t aware of CBD

Jazzlyn’s seizures are pretty much kept to baseline. She’ll have maybe 1 or 2 every 1 – 2 weeks except for when she gets sick. Her immune system is weak so it’s very easy for her to get sick and when she does she can have a seizure every day for however many days she’s sick with multiple seizures some days day.  Maybe increasing the dosing when she is sick will help. I usually give her clonazepam, which her neurologist recommends when this happens, and it doesn’t help but I’m working on it.

This aid really makes a difference given CBD isn’t covered by medical insurance and it’s pricey. AED’s do not work for my daughter to their full potential alone, she’s currently on 4, and CBD does. It’s unfortunate that for a lot of families the difference between seizure free and not is being able to afford CBD products. Of course, the legality part of it plays a part as well depending on where you live but the financial burden is definitely impactful. I mean, for the longest I stuck to just AED’s because I wasn’t aware of CBD and when I became aware, I couldn’t afford it. So thank you to the RoC!

Jazzlyn’s Story

Quality of Life Matters!!

Overall, Raymond’s health has improved. His appetite has increased and he is starting to have better coordination allowing him to move around more freely. The progress is slow but still steady. He is also beginning to make more sounds and try and talk. He is able to enjoy life so much more than before and we are so thankful!

Raymond’s story

Living with GI issues

I’ve been experiencing abdominal cramping and hot flashes before a bowel movement, waking up at night with hot flashes, cramps, and severe diarrhea. My only relief would come after a bowel movement.

My GI Doctor decided to run some tests to eliminate cancer. I immediately went home started on cannabis oil/hash oil and ordered a high CBD oil.

After using the cannabis oil (high in THC) the next morning the cramping reduced by 80%, stools were firming up, and hot flashes reduced dramatically. On day two my symptoms were gone. I started the CBD oil around day 3 and cut back on the high THC oil until I eliminated the THC oil completely.

I’m only using CBD only now and feeling great, my system is back on track and I take 1/8 tsp twice a day.

The help & info from ROC is fantastic!

John’s story

Not all stories are success stories

Payton’s health has not improved. She is having complications with her stomach. She has been vomiting and coughing. Her stomach will not digest properly.  She had a G-tube placed and it has helped some. The CBD oil has helped with Payton’s pain and sleeping. I do believe her seizures have slowed down a bit since she has been on CBD.   

Payton’s story

Parkinson’s Disease symptoms are improving!

My health has improved all over. I have Parkinson’s Disease and my illness was very poor; ie: my limbs, feet, hands, and fingers constantly shook, along with the feeling of swelling in my throat, biting my inside cheeks and tongue to where they bleed, eye twitching, mouth opening and closing. All of the above is remarkably improving! It’s amazing! I can NOT take Parkinson’s medicines, because I get horrific side effects, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for this medicine!!

Without this grant from Realm of Caring, I would be mostly bedridden. The 24/7 pain I was enduring, along with all of the above ailments are slowly subsiding. It brings tears to my eyes as to how grateful I am, and my caregiver son is so grateful, too! For example, my son had to help me get up out of chairs, the couch, etc., but now I can do it by myself most of the time.Although he had to help me walk from point A to point B, this is subsiding also!!!

Sonya’s story

Jayden has meltdowns with her autism

Jayden did really well with the CBD oil when we first started it last year. As we increased the oil, she continued to do well. Then after about 4 months, she seemed to become immune to the oil. We ran out of the oil after 5 months of use and we decided to give it a break. Jayden has autism and has severe meltdowns. The days that the oil seemed to get in her system, she had less severe meltdowns. She has once again increased her speech. We are super excited about starting the CBD oil therapy again!

Jayden’s story

Living with #Lyme disease

Since starting the hemp oil, I have had some days when I have been free of pain; not what has been usual for me since having Lyme.  This seems to last until the next change in barometric pressure – not long, this is the midwest, where we say “if you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes, it’ll change.” I have also noticed that my ability to sleep is improving, and the timing of my hours of sleep is more normal than it has been since I’ve been ill.

The financial assistance is allowing me to make a fair attempt at using cannabinoid therapy for Lyme disease, which I would not have been able to do without it.  The good results so far give me hope. I look forward to seeing what will happen after I have worked up to the full recommended dose.

Sharon’s story