Hemp Effects On Liver
Posted on December 2nd, 2020
As of late, hemp-based CBD has been all the rage. An entire industry and enthusiastic consumer base appeared in the last couple of years as if they came out of nowhere. How did that happen? Well, according to regular users themselves, they found the compound gives them therapeutic effects that, ultimately, help them manage some ailment or simply just relax. However, when new supplements arrive and become so popular out the gate, many have the healthy skepticism to ask: ‘ok, which are the side-effects?’. For example, which are hemp effects on liver? If you were looking to find out the answer to that, read on.
What Is Hemp?
The simple answer to that question is that hemp is a specific variety of cannabis sativa. It has been grown for several years. People have been using hemp to make clothes, rope, sails, food, among others. In the United States, hemp has had a long history, with even Thomas Jefferson, the country’s third president, growing it himself. In Asia and the Middle East, people farmed and used hemp for thousands of years, archeological evidence shows.
Even though industrial hemp and cannabis both come from cannabis sativa, they all have different compositions. Hemp contains 0.3% or less THC content, whereas cannabis has a much higher content of it. They also differ in the way people use them. Hemp might have an amount of THC than cannabis, but it also has a higher concentration of cannabidiol (CBD). And that it’s precisely why industrial hemp is at the center of the CBD industry.
The 2018 Farm Bill changed hemp from being a controlled substance to an agricultural commodity. This made hemp legal at a federal level. Thus, it was easier for the product’s farmers to get production licenses and loans to grow it. They were also able to get federal crop insurance, thus grow the crop more. In the EU, industrial hemp can be grown legally if it contains less than 0.2% THC. However, for hemp or CBD infused foods, you must apply for pre-market authorization.
What Is Cannabis?
Cannabis comes from the Cannabaceae family, which has three primary species. They include cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis. There are quite some differences between the three of them,
- Sativa: Is very tall, has long and thin leaves, has an extensive root system, and long branches with long distances between nodes.
- Indica: Small and compact, has broad leaves, dense and heavy buds, and a condensed root system.
- Ruderalis: has a conical shape, is small in size, and has fewer branches than its other two counterparts.
The cannabis plant has higher levels of THC than hemp plants. Since they contain more THC, they also contain less CBD than the hemp plants. This makes the difference more pronounced when you take CBD from hemp as compared to that from cannabis. Hemp contains more CBD, making it a more lucrative option for manufacturers and has the least legal ramifications.
What Is CBD?
CBD is an extract that comes mostly from the hemp plant’s leaves and flowers. It is usually a naturally occurring chemical that is non-psychoactive and has numerous benefits. A wealth of anecdotal evidence coming from the users themselves tells us it might be effective to deal with a variety of ailments. Chemotherapy symptoms, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, PTSD, rheumatoid arthritis, and migraines are some of the ailments users claim it helped them with. Due to THC’s negligible presence in CBD oil, you will not get high from it, unlike when taking marijuana. This makes it perfect for people looking to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without the impairment that usually accompanies it.
Are CBD And Hemp The Same Thing?
The answer to this is a bit more complicated. CBD derives from hemp, but there are some differences. As seen above, hemp is a strain of the cannabis sativa plant and has a lower THC concentration than marijuana. You can eat hemp seeds raw, add it to beverages, and even use it in baking. Hemp has more than 25,000 uses as it is a bioplastic. Like CBD, hemp will not get you high. The critical difference between the two is that CBD comes by extracting the oil from hemp and diluting it with a carrier oil.
Hemp Effects On Liver
According to a study published in 2019, extremely high doses of CBD could be damaging to the liver. The research subjects were mice, but the findings are still inconclusive. Thus, we need more information on the subject. In the study, scientists gave mice high to extremely high doses of CBD and studied its effects on them. The results of the study showed extremely high amounts of CBD might be damaging to the liver.
The study measured CBD hepatotoxicity in 8-week old mice to show its possible effects on human livers. Two ranges of doses were used. In one group, the mice received enough CBD to damage the liver in a single dose, known as acute toxicity. In the other group, they were given a lower dosage daily for ten days. The mice that got the highest acute dosage had signs of liver damage within 24 hours. This is equivalent to 200 mg of CBD in humans. Some became sick after only two doses of sub-acute dosage. The majority of them became very ill or died within four days. However, the mice that got the two lowest doses did not show any signs of toxicity at all.
Hemp Effects on Liver – Common Diseases of the Liver
The liver is a crucial organ in the body and has many vital functions. It deals with detoxification, digestion, activation of enzymes, synthesis of essential serum proteins, storage of nutrients, and bile secretion. Diseases that affect the liver are hepatic diseases, such as jaundice and viral Hepatitis. The liver can also suffer from cirrhosis, cysts, deficiency diseases, cancer, and hepatic encephalopathy.
Beneficial Hemp Effects on Liver Diseases
The human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is responsible for maintaining a homeostatic balance in the body. Hemp-based cannabidiol interacts with the ECS, boosting its performance and providing potentially positive effects. CBD has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-ischemic, and immunomodulatory properties. These may help with handling various liver conditions. The potential beneficial hemp effects on liver include:
May Have A Therapeutic Activity in Viral Hepatitis
Viral Hepatitis is one of the most severe liver infectious diseases. It manifests as an inflammation of the liver, and five viruses cause it. Hepatitis A, B, and C are responsible for many deaths globally, and it can also lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis. Hepatitis C, particularly, has no vaccine available at the moment, but you can prevent infection by avoiding unsafe tattoo parlors, sharing needles, razors, toothbrushes or any other personal items. This is the most common and dangerous kind of Hepatitis and often ends up in liver cirrhosis or cancer.
According to studies, CBD might have therapeutic potential in viral Hepatitis, especially hepatitis C. It showed a dose-dependent inhibition of the virus with very little toxicity towards the cells. CBD interacts with the CB2 receptors indirectly, seeming to induce death in splenocytes. This then inhibits T cells’ growth and proliferation that would cause an autoimmune attack on the liver cells. In short, CBD does seem to have an anti-viral activity that might help fight off the Hepatitis C virus.
May Help Protect Against Liver Fibrosis
The accumulation of extracellular matrix protein usually characterizes liver fibrosis due to chronic liver damage. Diseases like Hepatitis and alcohol addiction might also trigger liver fibrosis. Fibrosis can progress and results in liver cirrhosis and failure. CBD seems to exhibit anti-proliferative and anti-oxidant properties that prevent the growth of cancerous cells.
May Help with Hepatic Encephalopathy
Hepatic encephalopathy can happen as a result of cirrhosis and might lead to inflammation of the liver. The disease manifests as a decline in brain function due to liver damage and the cascading bodily failures emanating from it. Since CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, it also might help reduce neuroinflammation. Also, taking CBD may decrease the buildup of ammonia and restore the liver function to ensure that the enzyme levels normalize.
Hemp Effects On Liver – Should You Worry?
Unless you already suffer from liver diseases, have pre-existing liver damage, or are keen on taking extremely high doses of CBD, you should not worry. It may sound dangerous, but according to experts, there is no need for panic. In the same way, that you might have side effects when you take too much Ibuprofen or Tylenol; you would face them if you take too much CBD. In general, the therapeutic dosage of CBD ranges from 0.5mg/kg/day to 20 mg/kg per day. So, sticking to the right dose should be safe for you, as long as you discuss dosage with your doctor. And keep in mind that CBD may interfere with other medications processed through your liver. So you should discuss all your medications with your doctor before taking CBD. You can also calculate your own optimal dose via one neat method most avid CBD users employ.
Hemp Effects on Liver – The Takeaway
The liver is a vital detoxifying organ tasked with keeping the optimum functioning of the body. Both research and anecdotal evidence point to CBD having numerous benefits in dealing with autoimmune liver diseases. However, you must be careful with your CBD dosage. Ask your doctor before you try CBD, doubly so if you are already on some other medications. Also, ensure that you buy pure and high-quality CBD to ensure you are consuming the best. Buy from a company that does third-party testing and posts the results. That way, you can avoid unpleasant surprises.