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CBD Oil for Kidney Disease: Benefits, Side Effects, and Dosage

CBD may provide support for kidney disease through its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic benefits.

But there are some limitations to be aware of.

Here’s how you can get started using CBD oil today.

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According to research conducted by the American Kidney Fund, roughly 10% of the American public are believed to suffer from chronic kidney disease.

In this article, we’ll explore how to use CBD as a supplement for chronic kidney disease, how it works, and when you should avoid it.

Let’s get straight into it.

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY

Updated on November 07, 2020

Table of Contents
  • Summary: Using CBD for Kidney Disease
    • The Benefits of CBD for Kidney Disease:
  • What’s the Dose of CBD Oil?
    • Calculating CBD Dosage Strengths By Weight
    • CBD Dosage Calculator
  • Guide to Using CBD for Kidney Disease
  • What The Research Says: CBD For Kidney Disease
  • What is Kidney Disease?
    • Symptoms of Kidney Disease
    • The Risks of Kidney Disease
    • How is Kidney Disease Diagnosed?
      • Interpreting eGFR With Kidney Disease
      • Other Signs of Kidney Failure
    • What Are The Causes of Kidney Disease?
      • Common Causes of Kidney Disease
    • How is Kidney Disease Treated?
      • Common Medication Options for Kidney Disease
  • Final Verdict: CBD for Kidney Disease
  • References Cited In This Article
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    Summary: Using CBD for Kidney Disease

    Cannabis could be a useful aid in managing certain symptoms of kidney disease — which often includes chronic pain, nausea, emesis, anemia, itching, insomnia, and an overall lack of well-being

    There’s evidence that CBD and other related cannabinoids can support the health of the kidneys during both acute and chronic kidney disease in mice — though this has yet to be confirmed with research on humans.

    One of the main advantages of using CBD over other pain medications is that it doesn’t cause any additional damage to the kidneys.

    Other pain medications — such as acetaminophen or opiate medications — are metabolized by the liver and eliminated through the kidneys. These drugs have been shown to cause damage to the sensitive cells making up the kidneys, which can lead to a worsening of the condition.

    CBD is also metabolized by the liver but has been proven not to cause additional damage to the kidneys — making it a non-toxic option for managing kidney-related pain.

    The Benefits of CBD for Kidney Disease:
    1. Potentially reduces pain associated with common side-effects of kidney disease
    2. May slow the progression of kidney disease
    3. Studies suggest it may lower inflammation of the kidneys
    4. Could help protect the kidneys from oxidative damage

    What’s the Dose of CBD Oil?

    Kidney disease is a severe disease so any potential treatment options should be discussed with a medical doctor. This condition can quickly lead to serious consequences.

    With that said, many people with kidney disease are turning to CBD as an adjunctive treatment option along with other medications and diet/lifestyle modifications.

    Finding the right dose of CBD can be a challenge, as the compound affects everybody differently.

    Unfortunately, there isn’t much research highlighting the effective dose of CBD for kidney disease — most of the research done up to this point has been investigating the safety of using CBD with kidney disease (which is positive) and animal testing to explore how it works.

    We can use dosage information from similar conditions, such as liver or cardiovascular disease which involve similar mechanisms of action. Usually, these conditions require higher doses of CBD to produce effects.

    Therefore, it’s likely that the dose of CBD should be on the higher end of the spectrum to be useful for kidney disease.

    Whenever using CBD (or any supplement for that matter) for the first time, it’s essential that you start with a small dose, and build up gradually over time once you know how it affects you individually.

    We recommend starting at the low-strength dose and build up slowly over time to the medium or high-strength doses.

    Calculating CBD Dosage Strengths By Weight

    Unit of Measure Low Strength Medium Strength High Strength
    Imperial (pounds) 1 mg every 10 lbs 3 mg every 10 lbs 6 mg every 10 lbs
    Metric (kilograms) 1 mg every 4.5 kg 3 mg every 4.5 kg 6 mg every 4.5 kg

    Using this information, you can calculate what a low dose, medium dose, or high dose of CBD may look like.

    To simplify this for you, we’ve included a dosing chart based on weight and desired strengths.

    CBD may help slow the progression of chronic kidney disease and alleviate pain & inflammation. View the best CBD oils for CKD.

    Dr Joshua Rein Offers Insights on Cannabis Use for Chronic Kidney Disease

    Conferences | Kidney Week

    Several symptoms patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) experience are approved indications for medical cannabis, said Joshua L Rein, DO, FASN, a nephrologist at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.

    Several symptoms patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) experience are approved indications for medical cannabis, said Joshua L Rein, DO, FASN, a nephrologist at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.

    Transcript:

    What do we know so far regarding the effects of cannabis on kidney function?

    We don’t know that much right now, especially compared to what we know regarding the effects on the brain, lungs and heart, for example. But research on the effects of cannabis on kidney functions is largely limited to a few retrospective cohort studies. Those studies have included smoked recreational cannabis, either in healthy people, or they’ve evaluated any lifetime use among people with kidney disease. There are some differences between recreational cannabis and medicinal cannabis such as the route of administration, the dose, the frequency of use, and all of these can have different effects on long term outcomes. These studies do not demonstrate any association between cannabis use and development or progression of kidney disease. Because of this, though, in order to answer this question, we conducted a study among people at high risk for kidney disease, and we did demonstrate an association between chronic cannabis use and more rapid decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) among people with kidney disease. We presented this research at Kidney Week 2018 and we’re planning to submit the manuscript for publication shortly.

    What are the known benefits of this treatment for kidney disease?

    Many people use cannabis to treat a variety of ailments. Among people living with kidney disease, it’s estimated that about one quarter to one half of patients experience chronic symptoms such as pain, nausea, anorexia, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and depression. Several of these are approved indications for medical cannabis across the United States in various states. Additionally, anxiety, depression, and insomnia are the most common psychiatric conditions that people self-treat with cannabis. There’s evidence supporting the use of cannabis in patient populations without kidney disease for treating several of these symptoms. Most of the evidence is focused on chronic pain, nausea, and anorexia or loss of appetite. Additionally, many patients living with kidney disease and those on dialysis experience substantial chronic pain. It’s estimated up to 50% of patients can experience chronic pain. Now, over 60% of dialysis patients have received at least one opioid prescription annually, and approximately 20% of dialysis patients take prescription opioids chronically. But we know that the short term and chronic use of opiates are associated with increased morbidity and mortality among people with kidney disease. So cannabis could have a potential therapeutic role in the pain management among these patients. In fact, the National Academies concluded that there’s substantial evidence for the use of cannabis and cannabinoids to treat chronic pain, while several meta-analyses and systematic reviews on cannabis use, including the prescription cannabinoids have given some mixed results for treating chronic pain.

    What are some common misconceptions about cannabis use for kidney disease?

    One thing that I can think of is that cannabis consumers are no longer the stereotypical lazy stoner. The prevalence of cannabis use in the United States and worldwide has increased considerably over the last decade, but particularly among people over the age of 50, and even more so over the age of 65. This patient population is enriched with chronic illness, including chronic kidney disease. We know that adults with chronic medical conditions are more likely to consume cannabis than healthy individuals. However, we don’t really know the long term health effects of cannabis use on some of these conditions. So it’s that much more important to understand its impact on kidney disease.

    Several symptoms patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) experience are approved indications for medical cannabis, said Joshua L Rein, DO, FASN, a nephrologist at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.