The use of marijuana is growing worldwide for medicinal purposes but especially for CKD patients. People with advanced CKD and end stage renal disease benefit greatly as marijuana helps them with chronic pain and nausea among other symptoms.
Some new research, however, has found that people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who use marijuana may have a bigger decline in renal function than those who don’t use marijuana.
In the recent study, researchers from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai followed a group of hospitalized participants, about 7% of whom were marijuana smokers. The data indicated participants who smoked marijuana had a higher eGFR on average than non-smokers, while urine albumin to creatinine ratio was not significantly different between the two groups.
Smoking marijuana was furthermore not found to be a direct influence on the development of kidney disease, but those with CKD did seem to experience a decline in their kidney function commensurate with how much and how frequently they smoked marijuana.
This research seems to contradict previous studies which have been largely inconclusive regarding any connection between marijuana and kidney disease. Researchers, although unsure as to what exactly the factor responsible for the decline was, nonetheless provided a theoretical explanation. Specifically, since the study exclusively chronicled the effect of smoking marijuana, researchers hypothesized that it could be the act of smoking that takes its toll on renal function. This makes it less clear what the effect of marijuana would be on kidney function if it were to be used in other forms like edibles and vapes.
Lastly, researchers concluded with some very sound advice…renal function in marijuana users with CKD should be monitored. As it becomes more acceptable to use medical and recreational marijuana, there needs to be even more research carried out in order to find out the exact impact of marijuana on kidney disease patients.
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