Effects of CBD on Kidney Disease

In a 2015 study, kidney disease was the ninth leading cause of death in the US. An estimated 31 million people have chronic kidney disease (CDK). Although it’s more common in women, men with CDK are 50% more likely to develop kidney failure. Kidney disease is the result of another disease directly affecting the kidneys. The leading causes of kidney disease are diabetes, in which 44% of all new cases lead to kidney failure. The other leading cause is high blood pressure, which new cases have 28.4% kidney failure rates. Kidneys serve to filter waste from the body, and a gradual loss of this function can be fatal. It can result in a buildup of unwanted chemicals, and can cause irreversible damage to more than just the kidneys. Symptoms can include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, sleep disturbances, and urinary problems.

Everyone is vulnerable to kidney disease, and is usually the result of an underlying problem. Regardless, living with kidney disease can prove to be difficult. Stress, emotional deterioration, and pain all create a complicated issue. Easy tasks will become difficult, and it may also be difficult to achieve the lifestyle that is needed to beat kidney disease, such as quitting smoking, dieting and exercising.

Due to opioids danger of toxicity and addicting properties, some look to separate options first.

Kidneys benefiting from CBD?

A plethora of animals have what is known as the endocannabinoid system. This is part of our immune system designed to metabolize and process many cannabinoids. Research is finding that many tissues in our body contain what is known as CB1 and CB2 receptors. These act as signaling agents to interact with the endocannabinoid system that will monitor and essentially stabilize certain aspects of the body. By stimulating these receptors with the natural cannabinoids with equal distribution, the kidneys could achieve multiple health benefits, if timed well with the stages of kidney disease. This is not to say that smoking CBD will have the same desired effects. Smoking will increase blood pressure, which can further damage kidneys. CBD doesn’t require smoking, it even voids the psychoactive properties in cannabis.

The kidney has a presence of endocannabinoids, known as N-arachidonoyl ethanolamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol which are seen in the makeup of cellular processing, showing that there is a designed process for metabolizing endocannabinoids in the kidneys. The reason the timing of CBD administration matters is due to the stages of kidney disease. Depending on the stage, CB1 and CB2 receptors can change in numbers and can fall behind in metabolizing endocannabinoids. Studies have shown that blood pressure can reach renal homeostasis in both humans and rats. This change in blood flow and pressure has been shown to improve the structures of the kidneys. Certain blood regulations in the renal glands have been shown to improve under the influence of CBD with diabetic rats by restoring protein expression and other molecular forms. Under certain conditions, CBD has very promising research for the growth and treatment of kidney disease. High blood pressure and diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease, and a growing field of CBD research will rightfully recognize it as a valid option.

What else about CBD?

Kidney Disease can cause, directly or indirectly, a plethora of ailments such as this non-exhaustive list: fatigue, nausea, confusion, fear, anxiety, pain, insomnia, depression, muscle weakness, and hypertension. Of this list, studies have shown CBD might be able to alleviate some of these ailments.


CBD is an anxiolytic, and effectively calms people in times of stress and depression. It binds to the CB receptors in the brain to control paranoia, PTSD, and panic disorders by regulating parts of the brain that influence these emotions. The stress brought on by having kidney disease is apparent among all victims, as it can be extremely tiring worrying about health and family. Emotionally, this is a very difficult thing to conquer when many other problems are arising. Pain medications simply don’t help with these anxieties brought on by kidney disease. To have a clear mind can truly help in treating kidney disease.

Blood Pressure

It may be counterintuitive for some, but CBD does not have to be smoked. Obviously, that would cause more problems than solve them. Blood pressure can influence the health of the kidneys, but there’s evidence that shows how CBD can work with the CB1/CB2 receptors to maintain blood pressure.

Life Change

As difficult as the physical attributions are that come with kidney disease, so too is the drastic life changes that come after. In order to improve their health, they can expect to diet, quit smoking, and overall routine changes. For those with hypertension, quitting smoking may be harder for some. This high blood pressure only wears down the kidneys quicker. CBD has evidence that supports the fact it can inhibit many types of cravings, mood swings, and withdrawal symptoms.


Sleeping problems are a common problem for millions, but people with kidney disease (and failure) have to endure hormonal changes, chronic pain, and this can easily prevent healthy sleep. Luckily, higher doses of CBD have been proven to help irregular sleeping habits which evolve into insomnia. Because of its anxiolytic properties, sleeping issues can be resolved. In smaller doses, CBD can stimulate alertness and reduces daytime sleepiness, which is important for daytime performance as well as sleep cycles.


Prescription drugs given to you by your doctor should not be taken lightly, and in this moment of time, should not be fully replaced by CBD unless told otherwise by a physician. Many are willing to try something else before trying opioids for pain due to obvious reasons. There is scientific evidence showing CBD as a possible relief for pain, as it can reduce inflammation, scarring, and more. This is especially important for those using medical cannabis, as the aforementioned cannabinoid receptors can reduce pain.

At the same time, researchers are finding that CBD, when taken in combination with certain pain medications, can alter dosages, which is less impactful on the liver.


If you are concerned you may have kidney disease, consult your doctor for further information. If you are interested in trying CBD for medical purposes, understand that it does interact with other medications. Ask your doctor if taking CBD is the right move for you. Research is still being done on the relationship between CBD and kidney disease, as well as its influence on other medications. Blood pressure, diabetes, and emotional distress also have their promising research with CBD, which you can read here.


Park, Frank, et al. “Cannabinoids and the Kidney: Effects in Health and Disease.” NCBI, NCBI, 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5792153/.

Fund, American Kidney. “2015 Kidney Disease Statistics.” AKF, 1 May 2015,

Pan, H, et al. “Cannabidiol Attenuates Cisplatin-Induced Nephrotoxicity by Decreasing Oxidative/Nitrosative Stress, Inflammation, and Cell Death.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19074681.

Australia, Kidney Health. “The Imapct of Kidney Disease and What Gov. Should Be Doing About It.” National Consumer Council Kidney Health Australia, KHA, 2010,

Blessing, Esther M, et al. “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders.” NCBI, 4 Sept. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/.

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