Use of Cannabis for Kidney Disease – What Do the Nephrologists Say?

Cannabis for Kidney Disease

Astonishingly, 37 million people are going through prevalent conditions of chronic kidney disease, and many of them never get proper treatment. Nearly half of the people do not even know that they’re doing through chronic kidney disease due to a lack of awareness. [1] 

Chronic Kidney disease, generally abbreviated as CKD, refers to a prevalent condition of progressively deteriorating kidney function. Many symptoms accompany the condition, and several modes of treatment are in use to help the patients, including Conventional Medications and Dialysis. 

There are certain typical symptoms of chronic kidney diseases, and cannabis extracts may prove to be helpful in managing them without any substantial impacts and side effects. 

Chronic Kidney Disease: Defined and Explained

CKD or chronic kidney disease is a renal condition that involves progressive deterioration of kidney function, gradually leading to kidney dysfunction. It might affect one kidney only. It’s hard to get it diagnosed and treated in time as the first few stages of chronic kidney disease do not display any symptoms. They start appearing as soon as the patient hits stage 3. Most patients get to know about their condition when it’s already too late to reverse the renal damage. 

Signs and Symptoms: 

Signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease are quiet enough to tell how much pain it might get for the patients. Several medical discomforts are directly linked with this disease which causes an overall declined health condition. You may face problems in several areas of the body Mechanism. 

The symptoms and their extent may vary from individual to individual. Consider visiting a physician for a check-up in case you go through the following signs and symptoms. Here’s a comprehensive list of all the symptoms you may experience while going through the said medical conditions. 

  1. Patients with Chronic kidney diseases typically face hypertension. Their blood pressure tends to get high often. 
  2. Anemia is another common symptom. You may seem pale
  3.  You may also notice your feet or hands swollen, especially at night.
  4. Even without much exertion, you feel exhausted. Fatigue is an indicative sign. 
  5. Having Bloody or dark urine. It doesn’t happen to every patient, but it’s a key symptom in some cases. 
  6. In severe conditions, the patient finds it hard to stay alert. 
  7. Severe nausea and lack of appetite hinder your way of consuming sufficient calories, which might as well end up in drastic weight loss. 

Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease

Specialists divide chronic kidney disease into 5 different stages based on several factors, including the glomerular filtration rate, which displays the efficiency of kidney function. GFR tells how good or bad your kidney is working to filter your blood. GFR generally varies according to individual factors such as body mass, height, age, and gender. 

  1. Stage I 

Stage I generally doesn’t involve any adverse effects on the function of the kidney. However, there’s some damage to the kidney, which is determined by the presence of trace amounts of protein in the urine of the patients. 

  1. Stage II

This stage is quite similar to stage I as there’s no substantial disruption in the normal kidney function. Kidneys work quite well; however, there are physical signs of damage. The kidney can be easily protected at this stage.

  1. Stage III

Well, generally, there are no apparent signs at this stage either. However, a few cases involve symptoms like backache, anemia, swelling, or hypertension. 

  1. Stage IV

At this stage, kidneys are moderately or severely damaged, and the patients are likely to experience symptoms such as back pain, swelling in hands and feet, and bone disease.

  1. Stage V

This stage is the worst one, characterized by kidney failure in most cases. It’s generally accompanied by several discomforting symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, swelling, pain, and difficulty breathing and sleeping. 

How is Chronic Kidney Disease caused?

Kidneys accomplish quite a complex process of filtration of the blood to produce urine and excrete out all the waste substances from the body. Even the slightest disruption in the said process may lead to severe medical discomfort in your body. Generally, kidney problems arise in three cases:

  1. Disrupted blood flow towards your kidneys
  2. Improper functioning of the kidneys due to renal damage
  3. The interrupted outflow of the urine. 

These cases come out as an effect of medical conditions like hypertension. Diabetic patients are also prone to developing kidney problems as excessive amounts of sugar accumulation aren’t good for kidney function. 

Some other prime causes of chronic kidney disease are: [2] 

  1. Obstructed urine flow

Your kidneys may experience pressure as a result of obstructed urine flow. 

  1. Kidney artery stenosis

This condition leads to a blocked renal artery, which may damage the kidney and undermine kidney function. 

  1. Heavy metal poisoning

When lead or any other heavy metals enter your bloodstream, they pose serious threats to your kidney function. 

  1.  Fetal development issues

In case of improper development of renal structure, the individual may face issues later. 

  1. Medications

Heavy medications like NSAIDs and Opioids may also cause kidney damage. 

What are the risk factors for Chronic Kidney Disease? 

In the case of chronic kidney disease, causes and risk factors can be interchangeably discussed as most of the causes generally act as risk factors as well. Just like hypertension and diabetes may cause CKD, they act as potential risk factors and make the patients vulnerable to developing chronic kidney disease. 

Here’s a list of a few common risk factors of chronic kidney disease:

  1. Family history plays a prime role as a risk factor. Having the genes of diseases make you several times more vulnerable to developing a disease. If one or both of your parents had kidney disease, you’re prone to develop the condition.
  2. As your age advances, the degeneration process tends to get faster, and thus you are highly exposed to medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Such conditions lead to the development of chronic kidney disease. 
  3. Some other common risk factors include obesity, heart diseases, and ethnicity. [3] 

Cannabis for Kidney Disease: Does it help the Patients? 

Cannabis can substantially affect the patients’ body mechanisms to enhance the ability to cope with the symptoms of chronic kidney disease. Experts believe that CBD and THC present in the Cannabis plant has a high potential to induce alterations in the body to regulate the systematic pattern of body phenomena. [4] 

Analyzing the very relationship between chronic kidney disease and cannabis, we observe the following ways in which cannabis and its component cannabinoids tend to help the patients. Following is a brief detail of the synchronous harmony between symptoms of chronic kidney disease and cannabis:

  1. Substantial Reduction Of Inflammation

Certain forms of chronic kidney disease are characterized by a typical condition of inflammation. Experts have a lot to say about the anti-inflammatory potentials of cannabis extracts. Studies reveal that CBD is the powerhouse of anti-inflammatory properties. It can help the patients get over inflammation in various body parts. Also, it helps improve the immune system’s mechanisms, which are responsible for inflammation as a response to various triggers.

Experts are still looking for evidence on the working of cannabis extracts for specific conditions related to renal inflammation. However, strong evidence supporting the interaction of cannabinoids with the endocannabinoid system clearly implies that it may prove to be helpful in reducing inflammation. 

  1. Pain Management

It’s hard to manage pain when it comes to symptoms of chronic kidney disease, and it just doesn’t end up here. The treatment used for patients suffering from chronic kidney disease is called dialysis, which is another painful treatment. Studies show that CBD and other cannabinoids of the cannabis extracts are capable of showing substantial improvements in the body’s mechanisms of pain management. 

It directly interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system to reduce pain signals. Conventionally Opioids and NSAIDs are used as common painkillers in case of chronic pain. However, these painkillers might cause certain side effects, such as liver damage and permanent dependency. 

  1. Enhances Appetite

Patients going through chronic kidney disease can relate to the loss of appetite as the symptoms of the disease and conventional medications lead to nausea and loss of appetite. Sometimes, the extent of pain caused by the condition causes nausea, making it hard to consume enough calories. This may lead to drastic weight loss. Cannabis extract is found to have strong antiemetic potential that makes it fit for being used to facilitate the patients.

Studies on Cannabis and Kidney Disease

A closer analysis of the potential abilities of cannabis extracts shows that its elements may reduce the risk factors for developing chronic disease. 

  • Expert nephrologists are on their toes to observe the potential effects of using cannabis and its various components for improving the condition of chronic kidney disease patients. Well, cannabis isn’t extensively prescribed for the said disease, as we need more evidence in this regard.[5] 
  • A recent study brings forth several exciting facts regarding the healing potentials of cannabinoids and terpenes to facilitate the management of the major symptoms of chronic kidney disease. [6] 

Final Thoughts:

The aforementioned facts unleashed several aspects of the use of cannabis for kidney disease. The research supports the use of cannabis extracts for different symptoms accompanied by chronic kidney disease. 


Legal Disclaimer : Medical Cannabis Doctors does not provide medical services or medical advice. This information is for awareness purposes only and is NOT medical advice. Do not self diagnose or prescribe any forms of treatments based on this information or the information on this site. Always consult with a licensed physician in your state for any medical advice, treatments, prescriptions and medical services.

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