CBD might help with fatty liver by reducing inflammation and acting as an antioxidant, but some evidence suggests it could raise liver enzymes.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a nonpsychoactive compound in cannabis known for its therapeutic effects like reducing inflammation and anxiety.

Research suggests that CBD is generally well-tolerated and may offer protective effects for the liver. However, high doses may interact with certain medications and potentially affect liver enzymes. Here’s what we know so far.

Research suggests that CBD might help reduce fatty liver in both alcohol-related and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

A study involving over 5.9 million individuals found that both dependent and non-dependent cannabis users had significantly lower rates of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) — 52% and 15% lower, respectively — compared to non-users, with CBD suggested as a potential contributing factor.

The protective effects remained, even when considering factors like obesity and diabetes.

The study proposes that CBD, which acts on anti-inflammatory CB-2 receptors, may offer defenses against NAFLD, but further research is needed for a better understanding of these effects.

CBD may also offer benefits for alcohol-related fatty liver disease. A study involving mice looked at whether CBD can protect the liver from damage caused by a combination of excessive alcohol consumption and a high fat, high cholesterol diet. The findings show that CBD helps prevent fat accumulation and oxidative stress in the liver.

CBD achieves this by reducing inflammation and blocking specific pathways related to liver damage.

Here are some potential ways in which CBD may influence factors related to liver fat accumulation:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties: CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects may indirectly reduce liver fat accumulation, particularly in conditions like fatty liver disease, where inflammation plays a role.
  • Metabolic regulation: CBD holds the potential to influence metabolic processes such as insulin, glucose, and lipid regulation, all of which are connected to the development of fatty liver.
  • Oxidative stress reduction: Studies show that CBD can help combat oxidative stress in cells, a factor associated with liver diseases.
  • Microbiome composition: Research suggests that CBD may reduce some harmful bacteria and increase beneficial bacteria, which might have an effect on fatty liver disease.

CBD is generally considered safe. However, certain individuals should use caution or avoid using CBD. This includes pregnant or breastfeeding people, as the effects of CBD on fetal development and infants aren’t well-established.

Other potential side effects include:

Elevated liver enzymes

Some research suggests a link between higher doses of CBD and an increased likelihood of liver enzyme elevation and drug-induced liver injury.

Elevated liver enzymes, including alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), indicate liver stress or damage, as these enzymes are released into the bloodstream when the liver is inflamed or impaired.

However, it’s important to note that observing a link doesn’t definitively establish that CBD directly causes liver damage.

Drug interactions

CBD can interact with drugs processed by the liver’s cytochrome P450 enzyme system, affecting their metabolism and potentially resulting in adverse effects.

Some examples of drugs that may be affected include:

  • anticoagulants (blood thinners)
  • antiseizure medications
  • immunosuppressants
  • antiarrhythmics (treat abnormal heart rhythms)
  • antidepressants
  • antipsychotics

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, known for its potential therapeutic benefits. Some studies suggest CBD might benefit liver health due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. However, there are concerns about potential side effects, including elevated liver enzymes and drug interactions.

If you have a liver condition and are thinking about using CBD, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor first. They can make sure it’s safe for you and keep an eye on any potential issues.