Can can cannabinoids treat kidney disease?
Because cannabidiol CBD has so many properties and benefits, many people are now wondering if cannabinoids can treat kidney disease. However, federal regulators have long classified cannabis as a dangerous narcotic.
The reality is that this plant has medicinal value for patients with chronic kidney disease. In fact, cannabis was first used as a folk medicine in China in 1900 BC. Even the Egyptians used it to treat glaucoma, inflammation and enemas, and a drink made from cannabis. In India for example, a milk called bhang was used as an anesthetic around 1000 BC.
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Kidney diseases and cannabis
Kidney disease is known to be one of the leading causes of death in the world, affecting 800 million people. Doctors often prescribe opioids to help patients manage pain, but cannabis may be a safer alternative. That is, both THC and CBD can help with certain kidney conditions, according to ongoing research.
Despite the hard work our kidneys do for us, cleaning our blood, removing toxins and waste products, we rarely think about them. Most people don’t know it, but kidney disease is caused by genetic problems, accidents, certain medications, and other factors that prevent the kidneys from working properly.
Chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury are two common kidney complications. However, infections, cysts, stones, and cancer are also common. Dialysis or a kidney transplant is often necessary when these organs fail completely.
Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. As a result, the kidneys and their function are the main focus of much medical research.
Cannabis may be a safer alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids for relieving the pain of chronic kidney disease, according to research. In addition, a better understanding of the effects of cannabinoids on the renal system could lead to the development of new drugs that treat the symptoms of kidney disease with fewer side effects.
You may reach a point where the kidney regenerates and begins to function properly again.
How are the kidneys and urinary system related?
The kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra are the main components of the urinary system. This system helps the body reduce waste, regulates blood volume and blood pressure, controls electrolytes and metabolites, and controls blood acidity.
The blood circulation in the kidneys is very strong and inside the kidneys are many small structures called nephrons that filter our blood at a rate of one-half cup per minute. As a result of this healthy filtration, urine is produced and passes into the bladder for temporary storage.
Only a small proportion of filtered blood is excreted as urine. In turn, the purified water, along with other useful substances, is returned to the bloodstream. The kidneys then filter toxins from our blood and maintain a healthy balance of water and minerals such as sodium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium in the body.
Finally, the kidneys produce hormones that regulate blood pressure, aid in the development of red blood cells, and contribute to vitamin D absorption. Moreover, the nephrons are the main target of most kidney diseases. Acute kidney injury, for example, is characterized by a sudden loss of kidney function that occurs within a few days.
In the case of acidosis, excess potassium, uremia and potentially dangerous effects on other organs are all complications of this disease. Most worrisome is that after severe kidney injury, the mortality rate remains high.
In chronic kidney disease, swelling of the legs, vomiting, loss of appetite, and even mental confusion are common symptoms.
Can can cannabinoids be used to treat kidney disease?
CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors are found in a variety of tissues and organs, including the kidneys. The endocannabinoid system controls cellular signaling pathways that are critical for maintaining energy homeostasis.
Based on the type of kidney disease, dose, and other factors, experimental studies suggest that cannabinoids can have both beneficial and harmful effects on the kidneys.
The role of the endocannabinoid system in the development of kidney conditions, or the healing process, is not yet fully understood. In chronic kidney disease, however, imbalanced endocannabinoid production seems to play an important role. Incidentally, such an imbalance is somewhat similar to what happens in obesity and type II diabetes.
It is worth mentioning that in a research published in The American Journal of Medicine, the levels of abumin in urine, which is a marker of kidney disease, were tested. The results revealed no association between current or past cannabis use and impaired kidney function.
While this may be promising, it is important to note the results of another study from the Icahn Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. The study suggests that in patients with chronic kidney disease, kidney functions decline faster compared to those who do not use cannabis.
THCV is a minor cannabinoid that is present in high concentrations in rare strains of cannabis. It can slightly block the CB1 receptor, while activating the CB2 receptor.
This may be helpful for people with kidney disease. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that the kidney works in complicated ways. That is, when THCV and CBD are mixed, they can interfere with each other and limit their health benefits.
Therefore, more research is needed to determine whether cannabinoids can safely treat kidney disease.
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