MMJ for Polycystic Kidney Disease

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is an inherited disease in which clusters of cysts develop in the kidneys. The disease can lead to chronic kidney disease, which can further lead to reduced kidney function and kidney failure. In general, the cysts develop within the kidneys, but they can also develop in the liver and elsewhere in the body. The most common type of PKD is autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), but another form of PKD is classified as autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD). Symptoms of PKD include high blood pressure, back or side pain, headaches, bloody urine, increased abdomen size, frequent urination, kidney stones, urinary tract or kidney infections, and kidney failure. Additionally, brain aneurysms, heart valve abnormalities, colon problems, and chronic pain can develop. Cannabis can reduce kidney damage and manage symptoms like pain and high blood pressure.

There is not a lot of clinical research surrounding cannabis for PKD, but preclinical studies suggest cannabis could be therapeutic for kidney disease. In an animal study, CBD reduced oxidative stress, inflammation and cell death in the kidney, and improved renal function, suggesting CBD might actually prevent kidney disease. Another study found CBD's activation of CB2 receptors minimized inflammation and oxidative stress, protecting the kidney from damage. Cannabis, specifically the cannabinoid CBD, could prevent kidney damage by lowering blood pressure. In both animal and human studies, cannabis caused the blood vessels to vasodilate which improved blood flow. 

This information has been adapted from Medical Marijuana Inc. and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.