CBD and kidney stones — is it possible to cure nephrolithiasis with CBD products? How does medical marijuana affect human health with kidney stones? Kidney stones can be incredibly painful and accompanied by nausea. Learn more here about how medical marijuana is used to treat kidney stones.
Does CBD Treat Kidney Stones? Myth or Reality?
Written by Alex Patsfield on 05/31/2021.
Data Last Updated: 09/09/2022.
Kidney stones affect men and women of any age. It occurs due to the formation of large particles in the organ, which can consist of sand, salt, and calcium deposits. Ignoring this problem may lead to getting such issues as infections of the urinary system, chronic inflammatory, kidney disease , and some other things. In this article, we’ll look at all aspects of the disease and find out if CBD can treat kidney stones or these are just rumors.
The main information about kidney stones
The main causes of the disease are considered to be violations of the water-salt balance and the biochemical composition of the blood. Moreover, some kidney stones can exist in the body for a long time without increasing, while others can grow and reach more than 3 inches in diameter in just a few months. This can cause serious complications. According to their chemical composition, there are several types of stones found in the kidneys. Let’s take a look at the most common ones:
- Oxalate stones. They consist of calcium oxalic acid salts. They have a dense structure, black-gray color, and a prickly uneven surface.
- Cystine stones. The composition contains sulfur compounds of the amino acid cystine. These stones have smooth surfaces, rounded shapes and yellowish-white colors.
- Phosphate stones. Concrements, consisting of calcium salts of phosphoric acid. They are soft, crumbly, with a smooth or slightly rough surface.
- Uric stones. Presented by crystals of uric acid salts. Their structure is dense, the color is from light yellow to red, the surface is smooth or small-dotted.
The following signs report the presence of kidney stones:
- Urinary hesitancy
- Nausea or vomiting
- Cloudy urine
- Kidney pain
- Increased temperature and blood pressure
How are kidney stones usually treated?
The classic treatment of nephrolithiasis in all cases is aimed at removing kidney stones, eliminating infection, and preventing re-formation. With small kidney stones (up to 3 mm), a diet is prescribed and it is recommended to drink plenty of water. Additionally, a urologist can recommend using some drugs. Specialists resort to a standard surgical operation when relapses occur, and there is no other way out, especially if the disease is complicated.
To cure nephrolithiasis and get rid of pain, you can contact a neurologist, urologist, or therapist. We don’t recommend waiting for the situation to worsen. If you have advanced disease, the best option would be to visit a specialist.
CBD as treatment of kidney stones
At the moment, there are no reliable studies on the benefits of CBD in the treatment of kidney stones. However, other studies prove the benefits of CBD in general. For example, this research confirms the benefits of CBD in the fight against pain. Since kidney stones are quite painful and unpleasant, an organic and safe CBD oil or tincture would be a great supplement to the main treatment.
But why exactly can CBD relieve pain? What makes it so special? Well, due to its composition, cannabidiol can lower pain thresholds and delay the release of anti-inflammatory molecules. CBD can reduce inflammation by decreasing the immune system’s production of cytokines and inhibiting some of the receptors responsible for pain perception.
Some people also assume that marijuana is a diuretic and that’s why it can help with some kidney diseases. But in reality diuretic effects of cannabinoids are not proven. This study made in 2021 has found out that marijuana doesn’t contain such properties and may not be called a diuretic.
Therefore, CBD oil should only be used to relieve the symptoms that occur with kidney stones. CBD has analgesic, antispasmodic, and muscle-relaxing properties. Moreover, CBD oil can suppress side effects such as headache and nausea, which often occur with kidney stones. Thus, when using CBD, patients feel much better when they are struggling with the disease. It can be used at the same time as other medicines.
Does CBD cause kidney stones?
There are some assumptions on the Internet that cannabis may cause damage to the kidneys that will lead to further diseases. But no reliable studies are proving such statements. On the contrary, some researchers state the opposite. For example, Dr. Murray Mittleman, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard University’s School of Public Health says:
“Our research provides some reassuring evidence suggesting that there is no detrimental effect of infrequent, relatively light use of marijuana on kidney function among healthy adults under age 60,”
Ways of using medical weed
There are a lot of ways to use medical marijuana . You can choose from such options as CBD oils, tinctures, creams, sprays and balms, edible CBD products, and smokable weed. All of them have their pros and cons but deserve your attention. Also, we would like to remind you to choose the product carefully — try reading customer reviews and trusted sites’ articles before purchasing.
Does smoking weed affect kidneys?
As we already said, there are not enough studies to say exactly about weed’s effects on kidneys. That’s why we do not recommend excessive weed smoking if you have such health issues. Yes, there are theories that cannabis has therapeutic potential for symptom management in cases with kidney stones but until there are no facts you should carefully approach this way of cannabis intake.
Does CBD oil help with kidney stones?
CBD oil is an amazing medicinal substance extracted from hemp crops that have no psychoactive effects and has many beneficial properties. CBD oil has shown good analgesic effects and has tremendous potential for treating anxiety disorders, as highlighted in a 2015 report published in the scientific journal Neurotherapeutics.
But does CBD oil help with kidney stones after all? The short answer — no one knows yet. There are not enough studies. Maybe hemp oil helps to treat even kidney failure (renal disease) or polycystic kidney disease, who knows for sure? At the same time, we know exactly that CBD oil can help you with pain relief as well as mitigating inflammation. As you may know, a person can experience severe pain when a kidney stone comes out of his body. Having such an experience regularly is not the best thing at all. But with this problem CBD oil can cope — it is a super tool for pain relief.
How to use CBD oil?
CBD oil is most commonly used internally. Since it is a relatively new supplement, the exact dosage has not been precisely established. Although longer studies are needed, there is no such thing as “overdose of CBD”. So it is safe to intake even large doses.
But if you’re a beginner, you might find 12 mg of CBD a day, which is a good starting dose to help you get used to the product. You can increase this dosage slowly until you find the best amount that fits you perfectly. As with most herbal supplements, a small dose 3-4 times a day is usually more therapeutic than a single large dose.
While CBD oil itself is very safe, it can interact with medications. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about side effects on kidneys or are unsure about using hemp oil.
Get a consultation from Dr.Weedy
If you want to receive professional help and recommendations, then you can leave a request and contact the specialists of Dr. Weedy. We’ll help you decide on a good CBD product, and we can also provide a medical marijuana recommendation letter that will allow you to buy cannabis in the state you live in.
Medical Marijuana and Kidney Stones: Can Patients Benefit?
Kidney stones (also known as renal calculi or urolithiasis) are masses of minerals and salt that form in your kidneys. They can also sometimes originate in the ureters, bladder, and urethra, reports Healthline (18).
Many patients suffering from kidney stones have reported that medical cannabis use eases their pain and nausea. A 2017 study from the American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology details exactly how medical cannabis can ease kidney diseases, including stones. “The two different types of receptors (CB1 and CB2) that are activated by the pharmacologically active ingredients of cannabis are found in numerous tissues, including the kidneys,” according to the medical journal.
Furthermore, “experimental studies suggest that stimulation of these receptors using pharmacologic agents or their naturally occurring ligands could have both deleterious and beneficial effects on the kidneys, depending on receptor distribution, type of renal insult, or the timing of the activation during acute or chronic states of kidney injury (13).”
Interestingly, a Korean clinical research study on a terpene-combination drug called “RowatinexⓇ” has shown effectiveness at expulsing more kidney stone remnants 4 weeks after shock wave lithotripsy than traditional tamsulosin and analgesic (22). A meta-analysis has supported this as well. This drug is a combination of terpenes including pinene, camphene, borneol, anethole, fenchone and cineol—many of these are found in medical cannabis. However, like cannabinoids and terpenes, Rowatinex also does not currently have FDA approval and requires further studies (23).
Medical marijuana—or medical cannabis—has anecdotally helped many patients suffering from debilitating symptoms and side effects of decreased kidney function. What does research tell us about the role the endocannabinoid system plays in renal function?
The ECS and the Kidneys
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is made up of specialized, fat-based neurotransmitters, which are activated by cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant—such as Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — when they come into contact with the two different types of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) (1). Cannabinoids may also act on other receptors in our body beyond CB1 and CB2 to cause effects. These receptors are found in numerous tissues throughout the body, including the kidneys (13).
The role of the ECS in renal pathology—which deals with diagnosis and characterization of medical diseases of the kidneys—is an emerging area of research. It has been studied primarily in the context of CB receptors. The current research suggests that targeting the ECS may be of diagnostic and therapeutic value (4).
Endocannabinoids, such as anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), are responsible for a variety of processes in our bodies (17). These processes include regulating sleep and pain perception, as well as modulating our immune system to slow down inflammation .
According to a review of recent findings related to CB receptors in the kidneys, “Emerging studies using isolated cells, rodent models, and human studies have identified a critical role for the endocannabinoid system in renal function and disease. Thus, therapeutics that modulate the activity of CB1 and CB2 in renal disease could become clinically relevant (5).”
Further research is needed in this area to reduce the adverse effects of cannabis while advancing its potential beneficial impacts on renal function in various types of kidney diseases (13 ).
Can Cannabinoids Treat Kidney Stones?
Symptoms of kidney stones can include severe pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills and blood in your urine. For three of these related symptoms—pain, nausea, and vomiting—there is significant research that suggests medical cannabis can help.
Some medical cannabis users report using the plant to treat the pain, nausea, and vomiting caused by kidney stones. Some patients prefer to use medical cannabis in the place of opioid medications prescribed for the severe pain associated with kidney stones (3 ).
A 2008 report out of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics explored if cannabidiol could treat toxicity in the kidneys experienced by patients on cisplatin chemotherapy. The researchers found that cannabidiol was associated with reduction in inflammation, reduced cell death in the kidneys, and improved renal function in mice. It was also associated with marked improvement of compromised renal function in mice. The authors conclude that, “our results suggest that the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid CBD may be of significant therapeutic benefits against the renal complications of cisplatin chemotherapy by attenuating oxidative/nitrosative stress and cell death (12).”
Medical Cannabis and Chronic Pain Management: Replacing Opioids
Chronic pain prevalence in patients that deal with kidney stones and other renal diseases is well-documented. It is often managed through prescription opioids or acetaminophen prescribed by the patient’s doctor.
Both the short term and chronic use of prescription opioids has been associated with increased morbidity and mortality, which presents a clear need for alternative methods for pain relief (21). Access to medical cannabis has been connected with a decrease in opioid prescriptions as well as dose reductions (15) . Acetaminophen, or Tylenol, is a decent alternative to opioids, however, it is easily quite toxic and lethal at doses over 4 grams daily.
The National Academies concluded that substantial evidence exists for the use of cannabis and cannabinoids to treat chronic pain while causing no fatal overdoses (24). Findings suggest that medical cannabis users managing chronic pain with cannabis—as an adjunct of or in place of opioids—may “reduce the personal and social harms associated with addiction, particularly in relation to the growing problematic use of pharmaceutical opiates (7) .”
Historically, cannabis has been recommended for a wide range of ailments including as a spasmolytic— a drug that relieves spasm of smooth muscle— for cases of renal colic, which is a type of pain you get when urinary stones block part of your urinary tract. Renal colic is more often caused by larger kidney stones (20).
Historical documentation of medical cannabis applications also tells us that it was used to facilitate the excretion of small kidney stones in patients (19) . Terpenes like camphene, borneol, and cimeole found in Rowatinex and cannabis also have antispasmodic effects in rodent smooth muscle models. Although cannabis and terpenes could have a therapeutic role in chronic pain management, further clinical trial investigation is needed (22).
Medical Cannabis and Nausea
Considerable evidence demonstrates that manipulation of the ECS regulates nausea and vomiting in humans and animals. Preclinical and clinical research indicates that cannabinioids, including THC and CBD, may be effective clinically for treating both nausea and vomiting (14).
Some studies that have investigated cannabinoids such as THCA have found that this cannabinoid has heightened potential for treating nausea and vomiting. According to one mouse study, THCA proved to be “a more potent alternative to THC in the treatment of nausea and vomiting (25).” More clinical research is needed in this area to fully explore the different cannabinoids and their medical value.
Medical Cannabis and Inflammation
Cannabinoids are potent anti-inflammatory agents, even more potent than Vitamin C or E ( 26 ). In CKD and other kidney diseases, inflammation occurs within kidney tissue and other organs. Pericarditis, a prevalent symptom of CKD and dialysis, is abnormal heart inflammation , and general inflammation is one of the most common conditions targeted with medical cannabis. One of the most popular reports demonstrating that CBD is good for inflammation was published in a 2009 edition of Future Medicinal Chemistry.
“Cannabinoid receptors include CB1, which is predominantly expressed in the brain, and CB2, which is primarily found on the cells of the immune system,” according to the study. “The fact that both CB1 and CB2 receptors have been found on immune cells suggests that cannabinoids play an important role in the regulation of the immune system.” Since inflammation is the body’s response to harm and injury, it would make sense that medical cannabis helps with symptom management of CKD and dialysis (27).
Interestingly, recent studies have shown a mixed protective/deletrious role of cannabinoid receptors in the kidney in response to inflammation and tissue injury (4). Ironically, CB1 receptor activation could make kidney inflammation worse while CB2 receptor activation on immune cells reduces inflammation. It may be best to selectively use a CB1 antagonist and CB2 agonist for kidney-related inflammation according to reviewed studies. Follow up systematic reviews on CBD as an anti inflammatory and antioxidant continue to be published with new findings such as the fact that CBD is a more potent antioxidant than Vitamin C or E (2).
Causes, Symptoms & Treatment of Kidney Stones
When crystal-forming agents, including calcium, oxalate, and uric acid are not diluted enough in the urine, kidney stones develop, reports the Mayo Clinic (8).
There are four types of kidney stones: calcium, struvite, uric acid, and cystine. As noted, passing kidney stones brings on severe pain, especially in the side and in the back (below the ribs). Common symptoms of kidney stones include pain that radiates to the lower abdomen and groin, a burning sensation while urinating, fever and chills, nausea , and vomiting. Monitor kidney health by staying well-hydrated and being aware of these warning signs.
Larger kidney stones in particular are known for being incredibly painful, with symptoms that may include pain, bleeding, inflammation, or infection. However, these symptoms may not usually develop until the stone has started to move through the urinary tract (9). According to research done by PubMed, “Stone formation is highly prevalent, with rates of up to 14.8% and increasing, and a recurrence rate of up to 50% within the first 5 years of the initial stone episode. Medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) and metabolic syndrome are considered risk factors for stone formation, which, in turn, can lead to hypertension, chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (6).”
There are other possible causes of kidney stones including dehydration, lack or excess of exercise, obesity, weight loss surgery, or consuming foods high in sodium and sugar (e.g. high fructose corn syrup). Infections and family history of renal disease could be significant for some people (11).
Treatment for kidney stones varies greatly. Smaller kidney stones may be treated by drinking water and taking pain relievers, while more surgery is sometimes needed to remove larger kidney stones. Other treatments for kidney stones may include diuretic medications like tamsulosin, tunnel surgery, and lithotripsy, which uses sound waves to break up calcium masses, all of which are “tailored according to the type of stone,” reports Healthline (18 ) . Infections from kidney stones can be serious and may require IV antibiotics or even hospitalization.
Note: Veriheal does not intend to give this as professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose, or prescribe treatment based on the information provided on this page. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.