The market for CBD products has seen significant growth in recent years and there’s no sign of slowing down as more and more people are discovering the amazon benefits of this miracle plant compound. While the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile, a 2019 study on liver damage in Mice apparently caused by CBD has stirred up some controversy. In this article, we discuss whether there is a connection with CBD and liver damage.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol and comes from the cannabis plant. In order for CBD to have little to no THC, and not cause any intoxicating effects, it must be extracted from hemp, which is a different variety of cannabis than traditional marijuana.
CBD oil can be beneficial for everything from getting a better night’s sleep, to post recovery after a workout, to de-stressing after a hectic day. Since there are so many benefits, a lot of people simply consume CBD oil as part of their general wellness routine to promote overall balance in their body and mind.
The Mouse Study Results on CBD and Liver Damage
Researchers from the University of Arkansas set out to investigate the effects of CBD on the livers of 8 week old mice. The mice tolerated the CBD just fine for the most part, but when given extremely high doses, the results showed signs of liver toxicity.
The researchers repeated the treatment with smaller doses of CBD and found that there were still signs of swelling and damage to the liver.
The study concluded that “CBD exhibited clear signs of hepatotoxicity, possibly of a cholestatic nature. The involvement of numerous pathways associated with lipid and xenobiotic metabolism raises serious concerns about potential drug interactions as well as the safety of CBD.”
The bottom line outcome from the study is that taking too much CBD might lead to liver damage in high enough quantities.
Should You Worry About CBD and Liver Damage?
While the FDA has yet to implement any regulations around CBD and other hemp derived products, more and more people are relying on CBD than ever before as part of their health and wellness regimen. It’s no secret that CBD oil is making a huge impact on many peoples’ lives.
Like any health product though, you should be aware of potential adverse side effects and possible dangers of ingesting anything new into your body. That being said, there are many other medications and herbal supplements that may also cause liver damage in high quantities. So you need to be aware of the proper dosage for any health product you are taking to understand how much is too much.
Many experts have weighed in on the mouse study and its flaws. The main problem with this study is that the initial dose chosen for the investigation was equivalent to 20 mgs of CBD per kg of body weight, which is analogous to those used in clinical trials for the FDA-approved CBD epilepsy drug, Epidiolex. This dose would be equal to a 150 pound human taking over 1300 mgs of CBD!
To put that into perspective, the typical dose of CBD oil users is somewhere in the range of 10 to 80 mgs per day, with slightly higher doses for therapeutic issues or “flare-ups”. As we can see, this study does not mimic the typical usage patterns of most CBD consumers.
The study itself states that their dosages “is not applicable to most real-life scenarios”, but goes on to say that “it does provide critical information regarding the potential consequences of CBD overdose.”
The report further states that “No measurable toxicological responses associated with liver injury were observed in mice gavaged with CBD at 184.5 mg/kg (MED of 15 mg/kg CBD) or lower” and also says that “no significant changes in any of these parameters were observed at lower CBD doses.”
To use another example, we would never expect anyone to suggest taking 100x, 50x or even 20x the recommended dose of Ibuprofen, or any other over-the-counter medication. Most people would scoff at any study that would use those levels to look for potential liver damage.
So Are There Any Dangerous Side Effects of CBD?
While you should not be concerned with liver damage for using CBD, that does not necessarily mean that there are no adverse side effects or dangers when consuming CBD. As stated above, the WHO regards CBD as generally safe and well tolerated by humans, but there are some precautions one should take, just like with any other health product.
Again, dosage is the main determining factor for any side effects of CBD, and while most people report no side effects whatsoever, some who have taken higher doses have reported minor issues such as diarrhea, changes in appetite, fatigue, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting.
One point of concern that some may need to be cognizant of is that CBD may interact with certain prescription medications. Our liver has a group of enzymes called cytochrome P450, which breaks down specific drugs into smaller bits to allow our cells to absorb them better and eliminate them properly. Even though the effects have been shown to be minimal, CBD can inhibit the CYP450 system’s ability to metabolize certain pharmaceutical drugs.
If you are taking any prescription medications, we advise that you speak with your doctor before consuming CBD. Many conventional doctors do not know much about CBD since it’s not taught in medical school, so it may be best to ask them if any of the drugs you’re taking are affected by eating grapefruits, since grapefruit also affects the same liver functionality.
How the Wrong Dosage Can Promote CBD Liver Damage?
Like everything else in life, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Just as taking too much Ibuprofen or Tylenol could have catastrophic effects, care should be taken when introducing CBD. But how much is too much?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to CBD dosing. Many factors lead to the varying doses required for different individuals. Weight, diet, metabolism, sleep patterns, lifestyle and genetics all play a part in determining CBD efficacy.
So, how much CBD oil should you take? Well, it depends… As a starting point, we suggest a low dose of 10-15mg and see how you react. Then you can slowly increase the dose over time to land on the most effective dose for your goals.
Use our free interactive CBD Dosage Calculator to determine your staging point based on weight, condition and severity.
As stated earlier, most people stick to somewhere in the 10-80mg of CBD per day, but each individual is different, so it will take some experimentation to find the right dosage for you. If you’re trying CBD for the first time, we suggest you read our Beginner’s Guide to CBD.
Does Quality of CBD Matter When Considering Side Effects?
Just like any other health product or supplement, quality matters. If you’re a high performance athlete, would you pick up some random protein powder sold at a gas station convenience store? Similarly, if you’re into health and wellness and looking for a quality herbal supplement, would you try an unknown brand you see on the shelf at a local vape shop?
CBD is no different. While there are many companies producing and selling CBD, you may not always get what you’re expecting. Even the CBD products on Amazon are not legitimate CBD products.
Unfortunately, the recent explosion in the CBD market has brought out plenty of snake oil salesmen who are just trying to capitalize on the “hot new trend” by putting out mass-produced, low quality, and possibly unsafe products.
As savvy consumers who really care about wellness, it’s important to be more educated about what to look for when buying CBD.
What To Look For When Purchasing High Quality CBD Products
Tessera Naturals has been at the forefront of the CBD movement and has built a reputation for high-quality products and excellent customer service. Tessera Naturals products are made with the utmost care, which you should expect from any product you are introducing into your body.
Some of the advantages that sets us apart include:
- All Tessera Naturals products are made from all-natural organically grown USA hemp.
- All Tessera Naturals CBD oil is extracted using CO2 for a clean solvent-free extract.
- All Tessera Naturals products are broad spectrum CBD profile, which means they are THC free.
- All Tessera Naturals products are non-GMO, free of pesticides or harsh chemicals.
Lastly, any time you purchase CBD, you should make sure the company can provide 3rd party lab tests to verify the potency and safety of their product. Due to the unregulated nature of CBD, many products on the market are either mislabeled in terms of CBD content, THC content, or they do not adhere to the strict quality standards you should expect in a premium product.
- CBD can be beneficial for a variety of health conditions
- Using CBD in moderation is generally safe and well tolerated by most
- Extremely high levels of CBD may have potential to cause liver damage and other mild side effects, similar to any other herbal or medical supplement.
- It will take some trial and error in order to determine the correct dose for each individual
- It’s important to seek quality products from a reputable source in order to reap the benefits of CBD
- Always buy from a trusted company who can provide 3rd party lab tests for their products.