Cannabis for Kidney Patients? The Side Effects of Self-Medicating


You’re doing your best to manage renal disease. You’re taking medication. You’re limiting fluids. And you’re paying attention to what you eat to control the amount of sodium, potassium, and phosphorus in your diet.

But you still experience symptoms like nausea, lack of appetite, and chronic pain. And you’re looking for relief. Research shows cannabis, recreational marijuana, or medicinal marijuana can help treat these symptoms. 

But if you have renal disease, cannabis may have negative side effects on patients with renal disease, says Dr. Joshua L. Rein, a researcher at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

In a recent study, Rein and his team found that patients with renal disease who use cannabis experience a more rapid decline in kidney function than those who don’t. Interestingly, the researchers also found that cannabis use did not have an impact on kidney health in people without renal disease.

It’s a reminder that you should talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about supplements, medications, or alternative treatments when you have renal disease. Some things like cannabis may worsen your condition, even though it might appear to be helpful.

If you want to protect your health and remaining kidney function when you have renal disease, follow your doctor’s treatment plan. And if you think you want to add supplements or alternative treatments to manage your condition, ask your doctor first.

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