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In recent years, there has been growing interest in the potential relationship between cannabis and the liver. Some studies have shown that cannabis may help to protect the liver from damage, while others have suggested that it may worsen liver disease.

But really, does smoking affect your liver?

Scientists are still studying the relationship between cannabis and the liver, so few conclusive answers exist. This article will provide an overview of the current facts and evidence on the relationship between marijuana and the liver.

Cannabis and the Liver: How the Two Connect

First, let’s examine the relationship between medical cannabis and the liver. Why is the liver so important in cannabis consumption?

Generally, the liver is a very important organ because it processes chemicals and maintains an internal chemical balance. Some of the liver’s essential functions include the following:

  • Detoxification
  • Processing nutrients
  • Producing bile, which helps with digestion
  • Producing essential proteins
  • Regulating blood sugar levels
  • Regulating metabolism

These essential liver functions make it vital for overall health, so you wouldn’t want to consume anything that impairs liver function. 

The liver has cannabinoid receptors and is primarily responsible for processing chemicals and substances that enter your body, including THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. Every time you smoke, vape, or consume cannabis by any other means, your liver metabolizes cannabinoids.

Does Smoking Affect Your Liver?

Smoking, whether through joints, pipes, or bongs, is the most popular form of cannabis consumption, so asking, “Does smoking affect your liver?” is understandable.

As you already know, smoking anything at all can be harmful to your health. However, in the case of smoking marijuana, the smoke is the problem, not the marijuana.

Smoking may be harmful, but you can still enjoy the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana via edibles, topicals, ointments, and other methods that don’t involve smoking.

What if I miss out on the benefits? You won’t. Cannabidiol (CBD) is renowned for its therapeutic qualities, and the most popular form is CBD oil, one you don’t have to smoke to enjoy the benefits.

CBD Oil Side Effects on the Liver

CBD oil has gained popularity for its potential therapeutic benefits without the psychoactive effects of its counterpart, THC. Rightfully, users have reported the beneficial effects of CBD for pain management, sleep, skincare, and anxiety.

Despite these benefits, some users worry about CBD oil side effects on the liver. So, what are the proven facts about cannabis and the liver?

There isn’t much research on the link between marijuana and the liver because most research focuses on the effects of marijuana and CBD on the whole body.

However, since we’re dealing with facts, we’ll consider only the limited studies on the liver rather than reported risks; unproven reports can be misleading.

CBD Oil Side Effects on the Liver: What Does the Science Say?

In one instance, scientists studied the effects of CBD on mice and found that high doses of CBD may cause liver injury. They also mentioned that other animal studies on dogs and monkeys showed detrimental effects on the liver.

At the same time, clinical trials on humans led to elevated liver enzymes, which can lead to liver problems.

That study is inconclusive, as other researchers have pointed out some gaps. For starters, the dosage of CBD used was astronomically high, up to 100 times greater than what is suggested for Epidiolex, the only CBD-based medication approved by the FDA.

Another significant factor that may have affected the result of the experiment was that hexane was used to extract the CBD used in the study, and it’s known to have neurotoxic effects. It’s unknown if the hexane played any role in the mice’s health.

Another area of concern regarding CBD oil side effects on the liver is drug interactions. The liver is responsible for metabolizing every drug you ingest, and if you’re on medication, they may interact with CBD in the liver to produce adverse health conditions.

Scientists have not extensively studied the issue of drug interaction, but you can minimize this risk by speaking with a qualified marijuana doctor before you consume any CBD product.

The bottom line is that CBD is generally safe, and even the science proves this right.

Scientists explicitly state that “High daily doses of cannabidiol are associated with frequent serum enzyme elevations during therapy, but has not been linked to cases of clinically apparent liver injury with jaundice. The lower doses of cannabidiol found typically in over-the-counter CBD products are generally well tolerated without evidence of liver injury.”

How Much CBD is Bad For You?

This question does not have a definite answer because our bodies process cannabinoids differently, and factors like body weight and mode of consumption may affect how your liver processes cannabinoids.

Even regular vitamin supplements can be harmful if you consume too much, so your doctor is best positioned to tell you how much CBD is safe to consume.

Generally, it’s best to start with a low dose and watch how your body handles it before increasing the quantity you consume. If you experience persistent unpleasant side effects that don’t wear off for hours, speak to a doctor immediately.

Edible Marijuana and the Liver

Edible marijuana, like gummies, cookies, and cannabutter, is another popular mode of consuming cannabis, especially among consumers who want to avoid the side effects of smoking. Of course, there’s a relationship between edible marijuana and the liver.

Remember we said the liver metabolizes all chemical compounds that enter your body? Well, that includes edible marijuana too. Fortunately, edible marijuana does not adversely affect the liver, so you can enjoy your cookies and cookies without worries.

Again, if you’re concerned about the impact of edible marijuana on your liver, you should talk to your doctor. They can help you assess your risk and decide if it is safe for you to consume edible marijuana.

The Benefits of Cannabis for Liver Health

In examining the links between marijuana and the liver, scientists found that the liver may benefit from marijuana consumption. It may sound counterintuitive, but that’s what the facts show.

In 2018, Dr. Terence Bukong of the University of Massachusetts Medical School studied about 320,000 people with a history of both misusing alcohol and using cannabis. The study aimed to discover what effects alcohol and marijuana had on liver health.

Dr. Bukong discovered that people who used alcohol and marijuana had a significantly lower risk of alcoholic liver disease (ALD), and people who consumed the most marijuana had the lowest risk.

He said: “Our findings revealed that cannabis users were less likely to develop alcoholic liver disease, and cannabis-dependent individuals were the least likely individuals to develop alcoholic liver disease.”

The effect of marijuana in reducing ALD may be linked to its anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists have already discovered that cannabinoid receptors in the liver hold promise for new ways of treating liver disease. These receptors mitigate the inflammation that occurs at the onset of ALD, thereby slowing the progression of the disease. 

Cannabis may one day become a mainstream therapy for liver disease. Dr. Bukong said, “My research group is actively working on important cannabis formulations which we hope will be important drug leads for future testing in the prevention and treatment of liver disease from inflammatory, metabolic, and even viral causes.”

Another promising link between marijuana and the liver is its potential application in cancer treatment. There is scientific evidence that stimulating the cannabinoid receptors in the liver may help prevent the development of liver cancers.

Does a Bad Liver Affect Cannabis Consumption?

A bad liver is a health risk for many substances, not just cannabis. If you have a bad liver but need to use cannabis to treat other symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about the best way to proceed.

They may recommend using edible marijuana or topical creams, which are less harmful to the liver.

It is also important to monitor your liver function closely if you use cannabis, especially if you have a pre-existing liver condition. Your doctor can order blood tests to check your liver enzymes and other markers of liver health. 

Getting the Right Cannabis Products for You With Elevate Holistics

Medical marijuana can lead to significant health benefits, but sometimes you need a little help finding what’s best for you. And that’s why we’re here.

At Elevate Holistics, we tailor everything we do to provide you with a wellness service that puts your needs first. 

We offer a comprehensive range of services to help you get started with medical cannabis, and our service is completely confidential, so your privacy is secure.

Need to get a medical marijuana card or physician certification or consult a marijuana expert? We can help you with all of that, and we have over 100,000 happy clients to attest.

Click here or the link below to schedule a call and experience the life-changing power of medical marijuana.

Get more benefits than ever with an MMJ card!

With your medical card, weed is cheaper, better, and more accessible. At Elevate, you can get your card 100% online, in less than 30 minutes.

Get Your MMJ Card Right From Home

Elevate Holistics’ process is quick, affordable, and done entirely online. It’s never been so easy.

About the author

Ally Hilbert is the Content and SEO Manager here at Elevate Holistics, working to publish and run Elevate’s blogs and landing pages, as well as conduct keyword research, competitor analysis, and more. After having brain surgery at the age of 17, Ally became fascinated with medical cannabis and its benefits, and, at 18, had her first CBD-related piece published. Today, she’s been writing about cannabis for the past six years, and simply can’t think of a better company to get to do it for. When she’s not writing or editing, Ally’s side-by-side with her pup Sadie in Seattle.
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