Liver disease is a deadly condition that remains poorly understood compared to other more common health issues. CBD may be able to prevent some of the primary causes of liver damage other than alcohol abuse.
What is the liver?
Like the brain, heart, and lungs, the liver is completely vital to our continued survival. The liver is responsible for many important processes, including digestion, metabolism, body temperature, blood clotting, and immunity. Everything we eat is filtered by the liver before entering the rest of our body to ensure that no toxins, pollutants, or unnecessary substances enter our system. Also, the liver is responsible for metabolizing or breaking down, every substance that enters our body. whether it’s swallowed, inhaled, injected, or applied topically.
Our liver has actually evolved to regenerate itself. That’s right; even if 75% of your liver cells are dead, the remaining 25% can still regenerate itself into a fully-functioning liver to keep you up and running. So, when the liver fails to do its job many other health problems will follow.
What is a liver disease?
Liver disease is among the fatal diagnoses in the industrialized world. One of the most common forms of the liver disease is fatty liver disease, a form of steatosis. Steatosis is the abnormal retention of lipids (fat) by a cell. Because the liver is the body’s primary lipid metabolizer, steatosis of the liver is much more damaging than other forms of steatosis.
Hepatitis is another form of liver disease, sometimes caused by infection, that is characterized by an inflammation of the liver and the problems that arise from it. Hepatitis is a very broad class of liver disorders, discussed here. This article discusses the other prevalent forms of liver disease.
Cirrhosis is a more severe form of the chronic liver disease which occurs as alcoholism or hepatitis develop into more widespread liver dysfunction.
Cause(s) of liver disease
In steatosis, the cells of the liver – which turn sugar into fat – fail to expel that fat from the rest of the body. This leads to blockages within the ducts of the liver, causing even more fat to become stuck in the liver. The result is a loss of liver function and eventually death. CBD for liver inflammation may prove valuable a valuable alternative.
Even scientists don’t quite understand why fat initially accumulates in healthy livers that haven’t been exposed to continued alcohol abuse. These cases are known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
In alcoholism, the liver is overworked. In addition to all of its normal functions, it also has to break down all the excess alcohol. This causes a backup of the other toxins that the liver is supposed to be removing. It also destroys liver cells and eventually prevents normal function.
Cirrhosis refers to the late stages of the majority of liver diseases. It is characterized by the formation of scar tissue where healthy liver tissue has been damaged to the point of requiring immune system reparation. Cirrhosis the presence of scar tissue in the liver, and it can’t be reversed. However, if the root cause of the damage that lead to cirrhosis is treated, then further scarring and progression of cirrhosis can be prevented.
Diagnosis and characteristics of liver disease
There are a series of liver function tests that can determine the extent of liver incapacitation that has resulted from potential liver disease.
In addition, jaundice is a condition in which bilirubin builds up in the blood causing discoloration of the skin and eyes. Bilirubin is a product of the liver that aids in digestion. When liver damage is present, the liver doesn’t remove bilirubin as quickly as it produces it. This is a common sign of liver disease.
There are more than 100 different kinds of liver disease. Weight-loss and jaundice are the only two symptoms that are common for all forms of liver dysfunction, so they are most commonly the first signs reported that lead to a diagnosis of liver disease.
Current treatment options and best practices for liver disease
Hepatitis is by far the most manageable form of liver disease. Medications and lifestyle modifications comprise the vast majority of treatments. Steroids to limit inflammation are common, although their metabolization is increased as their effects improve liver function.
As for cirrhosis, the only treatments available delay further progression and limit complications. There is currently no method to reverse cirrhosis because it is defined as the replacement of damaged liver tissue with scar tissue that cannot perform the same functions as the original healthy tissue.
The non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by the retention of fat inside the liver. This is often caused by an unhealthy diet high in processed sugars but is not related to a high-fat diet ironically. It is also made more likely by certain genetic changes noted in individuals with the condition. Namely, changes in the ratios of certain enzymes contribute to slower fat metabolism.
When we consume sugar, our liver turns a certain amount of it into glucose which enters the bloodstream and fuels all cellular activity. The rest is turned into fat to be stored, partially in the liver but primarily in the rest of the body. Fatty liver occurs when the liver is unable to expel the fat it creates into the rest of the body.
Therefore, consuming a healthier, lower-calorie diet is highly effective at reversing fatty liver disease, as it reduces the amount of fat being produced by the liver. It is estimated that nearly one in four Americans has some degree of fatty liver disease.
Is endocannabinoid deficiency involved in liver disease?
The endocannabinoid system is a regulatory network found in almost every cell in our bodies. When these receptors are activated, they limit the activity of the cell in which they’re found. By adjusting cell activity to the perfect, evolutionarily determined level, the endocannabinoid system maintains homeostasis throughout many different systems that contribute to our health and well-being.
However, when the endocannabinoid system functions abnormally, it can lead to many problems depending on the nature of the dysfunction. One of the most common forms of endocannabinoid system dysfunction is when it appears in a tissue where it doesn’t belong. This is the case with many liver diseases.
Interestingly, one of the only physiological changes between healthy livers and fatty livers is a significant increase in endocannabinoid system expression in livers with a fatty build-up. Whether this abnormal ECS expression causes the disorder, or it’s a result of the disorder, remains to be clarified.
Does CBD improve cases of liver disease?
Recently, a study was conducted to determine the effect of CBD on mice with hepatic encephalopathy at Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem. This condition is characterized by brain damage resulting from a failure of the liver to filter certain toxins from the blood. The researchers found that cognitive functions which had been impaired in the test group of mice were partially restored with cannabidiol.
Moreover, cannabidiol restored liver function, normalizing serotonin levels, and brain function. Further research must be conducted to identify the primary causes of many liver diseases, and the successful use of CBD to treat these conditions can shed much light on the underlying mechanisms of the disease.
CBD is a partial inhibitor of cannabinoid receptors, so its benefit for conditions that are highly correlated with an abnormal increase in cannabinoid receptors is logical. By inhibiting cannabinoid receptors that shouldn’t be there in the first place, CBD can help to limit any negative effect that the pathological presence of those receptors may be causing. Lastly, CBD also impacts gene transcription, specifically of immune system mediators. Many of the therapeutic advantages of CBD are due to its recalibration of gene transcription and endocannabinoid system activity. The medical impact of these effects will have enormous implications in the coming years.