The human liver plays a significant role in the body. This organ is similar to a recycling plant. It assists in pumping out wastes from the body, sifting blood in the stomach, and determining safe nutrients and chemicals. Typically, when you take chemical compounds, including pharmaceutical drugs or cannabis products, it's the work of the liver to sort out anything good or bad. There has been a heated debate on whether cannabis gummies can affect the liver or not. Generally, there's no definitive answer to this question. There are many research projects undergoing to determine the exact answers without any contradiction. Some clinical studies show that there's less effect on liver function even when there's high cannabis use. On the other hand, other studies show that there's an increased risk of damaging the liver when there's high consumption of cannabis products. This indicates that the subject of liver function and cannabis use is very complex. However, there are both potential benefits and risks to taking cannabis edibles.
What are cannabis edibles?
These are food products containing cannabis compounds such as cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). There are many types of cannabis edibles which include drinks, confectionery, supplements, and baked goods such as cookies and brownies. Recently, cannabis gummies have been introduced and are gaining much popularity. Their popularity has been increasing due to the fact that their CBD and THC amounts can be altered to suit one's needs.
Are cannabis gummies bad for your liver?
The primary roles of the human liver include protein synthesis, detoxification, and boosting the production of enzymes required for digestion. The interaction between cannabis and the liver can be beneficial and risky in many ways. Studies show that an increase in cannabidiol receptors in one's liver can help reduce pain and inflammation, especially when one has an alcoholic liver disease or fibrosis. On the other hand, studies show that cannabis edibles, including gummies, can potentially cause abnormal production of liver enzymes as well as hepatic dysfunction.
How cannabis gummies may benefit liver health
CBD gummies have some positive effects on the human liver, as explained below:
a. Reduce the risk of liver cancer
Studies show that the CBD component in cannabis gummies can help prevent and kill cancer cells. Apart from preventing cancer proliferation, CBD can also assist in dealing with liver cancer in various other ways. First, it aids in providing anti-metastatic actions, which helps prevent the formation of tumor masses in one's liver. Secondly, CBD assists in preventing blood vessels that help the tumor growth process from forming. Lastly, CBD triggers apoptosis (programmed death of cancer cells).
b. Protects the liver from hepatic ischemia
Hepatic ischemia is a type of injury that mainly occurs after liver transplantation and surgeries. This injury is mainly associated with extreme inflammations that lead to many deaths. In most cases, when there's oxidative stress, the condition even becomes very worse. Research shows that cannabis gummies have both antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. This means that their CBD component can reduce inflammatory responses and prevent oxidative damage, which can be disastrous. CBD is also helpful in killing malignant cells found in the human liver.
c. Proper endocannabinoid system (ECS) functioning
Humans have the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which has enzymes and CB1 and CB2 receptors. The main role of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate homeostatic control processes, i.e., ensuring a proper balance of body organs and systems. Liver inflammation, dysfunction, or damage increases the production of endocannabinoids. When the endocannabinoid system becomes overactive, there's a higher risk of developing fatty liver disease. CBD helps modulate CB1 and CB2 receptors. When CBD component in cannabis gummies assists in ensuring the ECS functions properly and reduces the risk of fatty liver disease by reducing inflammation and possible damage.
d. Prevents hepatic encephalopathy
This condition causes psychological changes as a result of liver failure or damage. Some of the symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy are movement problems, altered personality, and confusion. When one has severe symptoms, the condition can possibly result in a coma. The condition is mainly caused by inflammation. Cannabis gummies can help restore both cognitive performance and neurological functions. Additionally, it also plays a significant role in normalizing liver enzymes and reducing ammonia levels in the blood.
e. Inhibits viral hepatitis C replication
Viral hepatitis is among the leading infectious diseases which cause a lot of body inflammation. Recently statistics show that it's among the leading causes of death across the world. This infectious disease can also result in liver cirrhosis and cancer if not treated. The CBD component in cannabis gummies has therapeutic effects on this infectious disease. Studies show that it can help inhibit hepatitis C replication by at least 90%. It also kills all infected cells that contain this virus, thus alleviating autoimmune hepatitis symptoms.
f. Prevents alcohol-induced liver injury
Heavy drinking can cause liver damage, thus resulting in liver fibrosis. CBD gummies have anti-fibrosis properties. It assists in getting rid of collagen-secreting cells that cause fibrosis.
Potential risks of cannabis gummies to the liver
1. May cause liver damage
Cannabis gummies may potentially lead to liver damage. Studies show that taking high amounts of CBD continuously can lead to increased enzyme levels. This has been linked to liver damage, especially in people suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
2. Drug interactions
The CBD content in cannabis gummies can interact with drugs. This is a common scenario, especially among people taking medications for treating epilepsy. When there's such an interaction, there are high chances that there'll be extreme side effects or the drugs will be less effective.
In conclusion, these are the potential risks of cannabis gummies to the liver. Before you take cannabis gummies, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional for further guidance. In most cases, there are no official dosage recommendations for taking cannabis gummies, although trials are underway to determine the right amount. The amount of CBD to take will vary from one individual to another depending on age, symptom severity, metabolism, weight, and history of taking CBD-infused products.