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Does CBD Cause Liver Damage?

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Excuse the cliché, but unless you live under a rock, there is almost no avoiding CBD lately. The stuff is everywhere — from gas stations pedaling vapes to kiosks in the mall pushing CBD-infused lotions, it’s almost impossible to ignore how popular the cannabidiol industry has gotten recently. This is largely in part to last year’s passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the production of hemp and therefore, the production of CBD as well.

But despite the seemingly overnight increase in popularity of CBD, much still remains unknown about the phytocannabinoid and most importantly, its long-term effects. In the short-term, CBD has been heralded as a miracle catch-all treatment for most physical (and even sometimes emotional or mental) ailments. But despite the benefits of CBD, a recent study found a correlation between CBD hepatoxicity and liver damage in mice. It begs the question — does CBD cause liver damage and if so, do its benefits outweigh its potential negative side effects?

What Is CBD?

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CBD is the moniker for cannabidiol, a phytocannabinoid discovered in 1940. Cannabidiol is derived from the cannabis plant, making up about 40 percent of the cannabis plant’s extract. So, why is a plant so popular?

CBD is one of the many compounds that make up the cannabis plant — aka marijuana — but this compound cannot get you high. Tetrahydrocannabinol — or THC — is the chemical compound in cannabis that causes psychoactive effects. Despite its inability to cause a high, CBD has still been making headlines for its potential healing properties as more and more people turn to it to help treat symptoms of anxiety, pain, movement disorders, and cognitive function. It also comes in many forms — oil, tincture, cream, vape, edible, and pill.