Liver Function and Hemp CBD Oil

I firmly believe the topic of Liver function needs more attention than just a short comment I’ve thrown in here and there.  The Cytochrome P450 enzymes of the liver are part of a critical system that metabolizes many potentially toxic compounds, including many medications.  While the CBD isolate has the spotlight on creating some problems, let’s dive into how hemp might impact your liver.

CBD makes headlines daily.  Some are created to create a scare.  Some are created to create a profit. And some are created with validity.  As a consumer, these waters can be unknown and terrifying if you don’t know who to listen to or what to follow.

I’ve got several articles that go deep into understanding our endocannabinoid system (ECS), different sources of cannabinoids, and how these all tie together to create balance and homeostasis within your body.  If you don’t understand these basics yet, I suggest a quick crash course.

Now, let’s clearly define the difference between what we here at Restore Health 101 mean by “CBD oil” and how it’s different than full spectrum hemp oil.

CBD oil to us implies that it contains only Cannabidiol (CBD).  CBD is just one CANNABINOID that is found in cannabis plants (which includes hemp and marijuana).

Full spectrum HEMP oil refers to the entire plant being used in the production of a product, like ours.  We do not extract one isolated cannabinoid from the plant, we use the oil from the entire hemp stalk.  In fact, it’s actually illegal to sell CBD isolate as a supplement because GW Pharmaceuticals has a patent on CBD for use as a drug.

Many of the articles, studies and research that is done and yielding many of those “scary headlines” is research associated with the pharmaceutical form of the CBD isolate.  So we’re already comparing oranges and grapefruits.

The next thing you must consider with the reports and headlines, is HOW MUCH is being taken or administered to yield the said “side effect”?  This also makes a BIG difference.  Low dose full spectrum hemp oil is NOT the same as a high dose synthetic CBD isolate and therefore yields completely different “side effects”.

Now, let’s be real … there is science behind the precautions we may need to take when consuming CBD and CBD-containing products like full spectrum hemp oil.

Warnings of CBD interacting with certain OTC drugs, prescription medications and dietary supplements are out there.  If your doctor has found you have a dysfunctioning Cytochrome P450 system or any of your medications come with a “grapefruit warning”, you need to be more aware.

Cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzymes are a specialized group of enzymes found in the liver that play a role in the production and metabolism of hormones and how your body metabolizes many substances, including xenobiotics, caffeine, alcohol, and medications.  They are influenced by MANY different factors ranging from genetics to dietary choices.

When these enzymes are blocked or inhibited, they don’t metabolize stuff at the same rate.  This means that those substances become more “bioavailable” … they may stay in your circulatory system longer than expected having a prolonged effect.

In the case of caffeine, this would mean that your morning cup of coffee might last more than a few hours.  With drugs or supplements, their effects may be “amplified” because more is left in your system.  Or you risk of overdosing on medications can increase because they aren’t metabolized as quickly as expected.

Naturally, this can be an area of concern … and rightfully.

But let’s also put some of this into perspective before a panic attack sets in and you discourage everyone you know from using hemp oil!!

Let’s first focus on some food sources that impact these enzymes.

Grapefruit juice inhibits the activity of CYP450 enzymes and can therefore increase the bioavailability of many medications by sometimes 200% … this is where the “grapefruit warning” comes from.  Grapefruits are potent little fruits that can be quite harsh on these liver enzymes.

Other examples:

Spices like curcumin (found in turmeric), piperine, and capsaicin have been shown to inhibit CYP450 enzyme activity.

Berberine and Hydrastine found in Goldenseal also inhibits activity.

Tobacco smoking induces one particular CYP450 enzyme and can impact metabolism of certain medications (clozapine, olanzapine, and fluvoxamine)

Watercress is known to be an inhibitor and also effects certain drug metabolism.

St. John’s Wort induces some enzymes and inhibits others.

Apiaceous vegetables (carrots, parsnips, celery, parsley, etc) decreased CYP450 activity.  However, brassica vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, etc)  actually INCREASE CYP450 activity!

Never thought this much about your liver function?  It gets better!  And here’s the headline we’ve been waiting for …

CBD appears to inhibit CYP450 enzyme activity, too.

CBD is metabolized by the same enzymes that certain medications and hormones are metabolized by.  When CBD is “sitting” in the receptor, other substances can’t take that “seat”.

It is believed that CBD can inhibit the CYP450 system’s ability to metabolize certain drugs. This results in higher levels of certain drugs and substances remaining in your system for a longer period of time.  This could lead to unwanted side effects and increases the risk of overdose.

Take blood pressure medication for instance …

Both the medication and the hemp “CBD” oil have the potential to lower your blood pressure.  If you are taking medications first and you add the hemp in, the effects of the blood pressure meds will be “amplified” and your blood pressure may become too low.  So it is definitely important to be aware, to be monitored, and to make changes when necessary.

Solutions?  You can either stay on the chemical medications and reduce your CBD … OR you can keep taking the natural plant cannabinoid source and reduce or eliminate the man-made pharmaceutical and your liver will thank you!

And then you come across articles like this …

“The often described favorable safety profile of CBD in humans was confirmed and extended by the reviewed research” according to “An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies”

So research and studies are finding conflicting information.  Remember, we want to compare oranges to oranges.  What’s the dose? What’s the source?  Is the CBD a synthetically made drug? Or derived from marijuana? Or a hemp plant that is full of toxins and now concentrated into a “nutritional supplement”?

The truth is methylation problems and detox difficulties are extremely common.  Medications do not help this and in all actuality tax the liver even more.  If we can source more “bio-friendly” and natural ways to restore health and begin to eliminate the “need” for risky pharmaceutical intervention, life as we know it gets genuinely better.

If we had it all figured out and America was on its way to solving the health care crisis, don’t you think with the continued advancements in medicine and technology and the increased spending into health care that we would be seeing an improvement in our health as a society?  Unfortunately, the statistics paint a terribly different picture.   Go ahead … do your own Google search …

So … I’m going to throw out my two cents on all of this:

I believe if you are already on a “grapefruit warning” or on a number of different medications, you need to be aware and need to be monitored for changes when adding ANYTHING into your drug or supplement regime.  It’s likely you will be able to decrease and hopefully eliminate unnecessary medications from your life as you restore the natural state of your body and its ability to fully express itself the way God intended!

I believe a high-quality full spectrum hemp oil product (that is free of the many toxins typically found in most other products) to likely be a safer option for people to try for a variety of health problems and conditions.

I believe starting at a low dose and gradually increasing if and when necessary is generally going to be safe for the vast majority of people.

I believe we ALL need to be paying attention to what symptoms our body is screaming about and have the mindset that symptoms are not problems that need drugs but are messages from our body that something is wrong inside.  Seek to restore the imbalance and all things, including liver function, will health themselves.  Look for the nutrients that are causing dysfunction.  Drugs aren’t nutrients and our bodies have to work harder to restore balance and overcome the effects they cause.

I believe that medications can be important tools used in modern medicine, but never will and were never designed to create long term, true HEALTH.

I believe if you are taking medications, it is extra important for you to be even more aware of what is happening in your body and to find an educated practitioner that has more resources for restoring health and enhancing your lifestyle that goes far beyond simply writing a prescription for the latest drug.

I believe we practitioners need to be humbled into understanding that we don’t understand the complexity of life and how our bodies express life.  God is far too intelligent beyond our capabilities of understanding.  But we can and must continue to have a growth mindset when it comes to restoring health.