Liver damage and CBD oil

We support health writers who wish to spread their work to a wider audience.  This article was submitted by Natalie Shae.

Note, the study cited in the article was very small with children under physician care but if you are a liver patient it is a cautionary note if you are considering CBD oil.  We are not aware of any research that would suggest using it more broadly but consult your doctor.



Liver Damage and CBD Oil

June 4, 2019 by Natalie Shae

The FDA has approved a CBD-based drug named Epidiolex®. The drug was researched and made by Greenwich Biosciences, and the company’s vice-president of U.S. professional relations, Alice Mead, has stated to the FDA that CBD is “potentially” a liver toxin. She said this during the FDA’s first public hearing on CBD oil on May 31, 2019.

What is CBD oil?

Cannabidiol oil is extracted from the hemp plant, which is in the same family as marijuana. Unlike THC in marijuana, CBD does not cause a “high” or chemical dependence. CBD that is extracted from the hemp plant is legal, but individual states have laws to regulate it.

Because CBD oil is not considered a drug, it can be a common additive in many products. This includes e-cigarettes (vape oil), lotions and various herbal supplements. It has also been shown to relieve symptoms of different disorders like epilepsy, anxiety and multiple sclerosis.


How does it impact the liver?

The few studies performed on how CBD affects the liver are not clear.

In one study, 10% of the subjects developed high liver enzymes—they had to stop using CBD for this reason. Other research suggests that CBD can improve liver function.

As determined by the studies done on Epidiolex®, CBD is metabolized by the liver. People with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are encouraged to limit over-the-counter (OTC) medications to avoid stressing the liver.

How much CBD is too much?

To further complicate the question, products with CBD oil may not give the exact amount listed on the package. Depending on the brand, the consumer may be using much more or less than they think. This is especially true of OTC supplements and e-cigarettes.

Now that CBD oil is appearing in different products, anyone with liver damage needs to be alert to this. A doctor or specialist should be consulted before adding it to the diet.


Showing 12 reactions

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  • Paul Rosen
    commented 2020-12-03 11:19:14 -0700
    Accuracy is important.

    The CBD oil referenced contains CBD isolate, sesame oil, sugar, alcohol and strawberry flavoring. The strawberry flavoring has been shown to be toxic.

    This lab version has a completely different chemical makeup than natural full spectrum cannabis oil and has almost no resemblance after stripping out all of the other trace cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and several other therapeutic phyto chemicals that are essential for medical benefit.

    How silly. How absolutely silly.

    Big pharma tried this many years ago with THC and failed miserably with Marinol and Drabinol, both synthetic THC with none of the other cannabinoids terpenes, etc.

    Horrible side effects, very narrow dosing window and basically not very effective otherwise you’d be hearing about it all over and you don’t because it’s a terrible drug that although fully legal is hardly ever used because doctors report that patients prefer the real thing and get better results.

    Full spectrum cannabis oil with all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other therapeutic phyto chemicals has not been shown to cause liver damage and in fact has shown exactly the opposite showing great benefit to liver function.

    A simple internet search will show the research that cannabis is beneficial for the liver.
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  • Leanne Ralston
    commented 2020-06-09 08:13:32 -0600
    I have fatty liver and started to take low doses of hemp oil capsules, 3 per day lower than the suggested doses of 2 three times a day (6). Within a couple of days I became really sick with terrible pain on my right side and couldn’t tell if it was doing me harm or help so lowered the dose to just one capsule a day. It started to feel like I had broken ribs. I immediately ceased taking the hemp capsules and am concerned I may have further damaged my liver by listening to others. I would strongly suggest not to use any form of hemp oil if you have fatty liver.
  • Karen Maher
    commented 2020-06-07 19:57:24 -0600
    What about CBD gummieß
  • Karen Maher
    followed this page 2020-06-07 19:57:18 -0600
  • Bradley Higgins
    commented 2020-03-16 13:43:29 -0600
    They did prove this to be true over 1200 mg in a 24 hr period. Isolates carry a negatively charged ion that acts as a free radical in the bloodstream. It still amazes me that they try to debunk the truth. I love CBD and all that but the isolates are like isolates of cocaine. both carry negatively charged ions.

    I will be waiting for the information to be changed to actually have real facts that have links to real medical juries and not a hippie’s opinion of there feelings on the subject.
  • @LiverSaver tweeted this page. 2019-09-29 20:06:36 -0600
    Liver damage and CBD oil FDA testimony the CBD is "potentially" a liver toxin
  • Wayne Eskridge
    commented 2019-09-15 09:25:30 -0600
    Hi Nicole, a lot of people want THC to be harmless, and to be fair, it is much less addictive that nicotine as one example. For reference her is a comment from NIH

    “Is marijuana addictive?
    Marijuana use can lead to the development of problem use, known as a marijuana use disorder, which takes the form of addiction in severe cases. Recent data suggest that 30 percent of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder.”

    There is a grey area between dependence and addiction that popular culture largely ignores but people with liver disease should always be cautious.
  • Nicole
    commented 2019-09-13 22:17:48 -0600
    Although I think erring on the side of caution is great, perhaps you shouldn’t relay false information to get that point across- you stated that UNLIKE THC, CBD oil does not cause chemical dependance… But neither does THC/marijuana. You can develop a mental addiction, just like with food, pop, picking your skin, chapstick, etc, but not a chemical one.
  • @LiverSaver tweeted this page. 2019-06-07 12:14:27 -0600
    Liver damage and CBD oil Greenwich Biosciences vice-president of U.S. professional relations, Alice Mead, stated to the FDA that CBD is “potentially” a liver toxin during the FDA’s public hearing on CBD oil on May 31, 2019.

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