CBD Cheat-sheet: Cannabis and Liver Disease

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Cannabidiol or CBD extracted from cannabis has been shown to improve the symptoms of numerous conditions such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, migraines, cancers, heart disease, among others. Researchers are conducting more studies into how cannabidiol can improve liver damage, consequently the lives of patients.

Understanding How CBD Works: The Endocannabinoid System

Cannabidiol from cannabis is an example of cannabinoids that bind to receptors throughout the body. On binding to the receptors, they influence physiological processes such as immune system responses, memory, appetite, and pain modulation. The receptors that receive cannabinoids fall into two categories, CB1, and CB2 receptors, which together form the endocannabinoid (EC) system.

For a healthy person (not suffering from liver injuries or disease) researchers have determined that their EC system is not active. However, once the liver is damaged, the endocannabinoid system is activated. The number of inflammatory responses increases, accompanied by reduced effectiveness in regulating cell damage.

Thus, researchers understand that to reduce the progression of liver disease, we must first decrease the inflammatory response of the EC system. Fortunately, therapeutic CBD has been shown to encourage favourable responses of the EC system.

Effect of CBD on CB1 and CB2 Receptors

CBD works in an incredibly simple manner. It blocks off or switches CB1 receptors activated by liver damage or disease. That slows down the signaling of the inflammation process in the liver. It further leads to reduced oxidative stress that causes the death of liver cells.

After the switching off or reduction of the activity of CB1 receptors the response of CB2 receptors increases resulting in therapeutic benefits for patients. Activation of CB2 receptors by cannabidiol, through studies, has shown to promote anti-inflammatory effects crucial in slowing down cell damage and liver injury.

The therapeutic potential of cannabidiol, the major non-psychotropic Cannabis constituent, was investigated in rats exposed to ischemia/reperfusion liver injury.  Cannabidiol significantly attenuated the deterioration in the measured biochemical parameters mediated by ischemia/reperfusion. Histopathological examination showed that cannabidiol ameliorated ischemia/reperfusion-induced liver damage.

Study Supporting CBD Use to Treat Liver Diseases

In a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, researchers induce hepatic failure in mice using thioacetamide. They were subsequently treated with non-psychoactive cannabidiol extracted from cannabis. After 12 days, researchers observed that in mice treated with CBD liver function improved, as well as healthy brain functioning, which has been impaired by the induced condition. For more about the study, follow this link:

Although the studies conducted involve animals, the same effect may be experienced in human beings because cells tend to be similar.

Can CBD Improve Liver Cirrhosis

Though not, substantially proven there are high chances that the CBD could help liver cirrhosis patients. The development of liver cirrhosis tends to be more complicated than liver fibrosis or non-alcoholic cirrhosis.


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