The goal of this study was to investigate Cannabidiol (CBD) hepatotoxicity in 8-week-old male B6C3F1 mice. Animals were gavaged with either 0, 246, 738, or 2460 mg/kg of CBD (acute toxicity, 24 h) or with daily doses of 0, 61.5, 184.5, or 615 mg/kg for 10 days (sub-acute toxicity). These doses were the allometrically scaled mouse equivalent doses (MED) of the maximum recommended human maintenance dose of CBD in EPIDIOLEX® (20 mg/kg). In the acute study, significant increases in liver-to-body weight (LBW) ratios, plasma ALT, AST, and total bilirubin were observed for the 2460 mg/kg dose. In the sub-acute study, 75% of mice gavaged with 615 mg/kg developed a moribund condition between days three and four. As in the acute phase, 615 mg/kg CBD increased LBW ratios, ALT, AST, and total bilirubin. Hepatotoxicity gene expression arrays revealed that CBD differentially regulated more than 50 genes, many of which were linked to oxidative stress responses, lipid metabolism pathways and drug metabolizing enzymes. In conclusion, CBD exhibited clear signs of hepatotoxicity, possibly of a cholestatic nature. The involvement of numerous pathways associated with lipid and xenobiotic metabolism raises serious concerns about potential drug interactions as well as the safety of CBD.
Keywords: cannabidiol; hepatotoxicity; liver injury; natural products; phytochemical.