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. This gradual loss of kidney function stops the filtering of waste from the body, which is often fatal. Without filtering fluids in your blood or urine, a buildup can occur and kidney function is crippled. It may be hard to detect early on, but symptoms can include nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, sleep disturbances, urinary problems, and chest pains.

Kidney disease can affect everyone and is usually the result of an underlying problem. Regardless, life with kidney disease can be extremely stressful, painful, tiring and worrying. It can prevent those who have it from doing things that they use to do easily. It may also be difficult to achieve a lifestyle that is needed to beat kidney disease, such as quitting smoking, dieting and exercising.

Opioids are commonly prescribed to those who suffer the pain of kidney failure, but the dangers of using these pharmaceutical drugs could cause even more harm due to their toxicity and addicting properties.  

How can the kidneys benefit from CBD?

Several tissues in the body have CB1 and CB2 receptors (including the kidneys) that are activated by the many cannabinoids. 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. However, it’s important to note the possible health risks that come along with smoking cannabis, as smoke can directly affect blood pressure and the filtering of the kidneys. CBD doesn’t require smoking and voids the psychoactive properties in cannabis. The kidney has a presence of endocannabinoids, known as N-arachidonoyl ethanolamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol which have been 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. By helping blood flow and blood pressure, the structure of kidneys has been shown to improve under specific administrations of CBD. 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. For now, we can talk about how CBD can help with the many other difficulties kidney disease brings.

What else can CBD help with?

Kidney disease can have the following symptoms: fatigue, nausea, confusion, fear, anxiety, pain, insomnia, depression, muscle weakness, hypertension and much more.

First, we must consider what CBD is known to treat.


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

We recently talked about how CBD can help regulate blood pressure in the kidneys under specific maintenance, but CBD can also help in other parts of the body that have these CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD does not have to be smoked, thus avoiding those complications.

Life Change

People with kidney disease have to be prepared to make drastic life changes in order to better their health. This can include dieting, quitting smoking, and changing an entire routine. Exercise and dieting may be something new, but quitting smoking for those who have hypertension have to make a change. Hypertension only wears down the kidneys even further and causes damage to them, as a result, this creates waste buildup. Quitting smoking can prove to be extremely difficult, and appear to be impossible. Even though nicotine patches and other options may help, as 70% of smokers what to quit but only 3% were successful. CBD has been shown to reduce all types of cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and mood swings. Smoking cues may also fail, which can be huge for smokers trying to quit. The nicotine habit is very hard to beat, but studies show that the use of CBD has helped stop the cravings of it.


We all face problems with this from time to time, but people with kidney failure have to endure pain and hormonal changes that prevent one from sleeping effectively and for long enough hours. Luckily, specific dosages of CBD have been proven to help irregular sleeping habits and insomnia. Because of its ability to reduce anxiety, some sleeping difficulties may be resolved. In smaller doses, CBD stimulates alertness and reduces daytime sleepiness, which is important for daytime performance and for the strength and consistency of the sleep-wake cycle.


It’s also important to note that CBD is in no way proven to replace your prescribed medications. Ask your doctor if CBD is a good option to transition to. Unfortunately, the pain can sometimes be only managed by prescribed medications that are much stronger. However, having said that, opioids should not be the first option to turn to due to their addictive properties. CBD has also been shown to reduce pain and is the relying property for those who use medical cannabis. Again because of the cannabinoid receptors we have.


Please consult your doctor if you think you may have kidney disease. Also, understand that their prescriptions should be valued more than that of CBD research for now. However, CBD is a promising place to start in the medical field. As time moves on, more research will be done on the effects of CBD on blood pressure and diabetes. However, a large part of the battle is dealing with emotional problems. Also, consider how CBD will not directly affect other medications and can help tremendously in certain aspects of life.


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 Impact 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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