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Meds Cannabis and Liver Disease


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Study: Cannabis May Be Protective Against Liver Disease
Thursday, 12 October 2017

Marseille, France: Cannabis may be protective against liver disease in subjects infected with both the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), according to data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Viral Hepatitis.

French investigators assessed the relationship between cannabis use and the prevalence of steatosis (fatty liver disease) in a cohort of 838 HIV-HCV co-infected subjects.

They reported, "Daily cannabis use was independently associated with a reduced prevalence of steatosis" after adjusting for potential confounders. "Daily cannabis use may be a protective factor against steatosis in HIV-HCV co-infected patients."

A 2013 study previously reported that cannabis exposure was not associated with liver disease progression in HIV/HCV co-infected patients. A 2015 study reported that HIV/HCV patients who used cannabis were less likely to suffer from insulin resistance as compared to non-users. Subjects diagnosed with HIV and/or hepatitis C frequently report using cannabis to treat disease symptoms as well as the side effects associated with conventional drug therapies, such as nausea and appetite loss.

Separate data published earlier this year in the journal PLOS One reported that subjects who consume cannabis are significantly less likely to suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as compared to those who do not.
Cannabis Might Be Your Liver’s New Best Friend

In recent years, the medicinal benefits of cannabis have been heavily promoted and researched. It has gained further momentum due to the recent studies that are being done. These studies are suggesting that marijuana might have protective benefits for the liver. Even though it is prohibited to consume alcohol and marijuana together, many people will not be deterred by the new rules, set by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The numbers of the studies came in, and it showed that drinkers who smoke weed had a significantly smaller chance of developing liver disease. This included hepatitis, cirrhosis, steatosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.

The medicinal benefits of marijuana are under constant scrutiny due to its infamous history. Many naysayers would oppose any medical study that is conducted on marijuana, but the numbers in this particular study are hard to argue against. The discharge records of nearly 320 000 patients with a history of alcohol abuse were viewed, and the results were entirely conclusive. The researchers at the National Institute of Scientific Research at the University of Quebec found that dependent marijuana users were much more protected from liver disease.

The alcohol abusers who did not smoke weed had a 90% chance of developing liver disease, whereas occasional weed smokers’ who abused alcohol had an 8% chance of developing liver disease. Dependent weed smokers’ chances of developing liver disease were further reduced to a mere 1.36%. Based on these figures, it would suggest that substantial weed use could provide a better defense against alcohol-related ailments as opposed to light pot use or no use at all.

Although this was a population-based correlation study and too early to conclude, it was consistent with another study that was published in October. This study looked at 8200 patients and looked at the liver disease that was not caused by alcohol, but diet. The study found that the diets of weed smokers were unhealthy and worse than the diets of non-smokers. However, regardless of their bad eating habits, they still showed the lowest prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and were less likely to be obese.

The researchers at Stanford University School of medicine believe that the answer lies in the link between weed use and lower fasting insulin levels. They believe this could protect the liver against non-alcoholic liver disease. Liver disease is often associated with insulin resistance which impairs glucose metabolism. Marijuana might protect the liver from dietary risks.

Study: History of Cannabis Use Associated With Lower Risk of Liver Disease
Thursday, 11 July 2019

Santander, Spain: Subjects with a history of cannabis use are less likely than abstainers to develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to longitudinal data published in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry.

A team of Spanish investigators assessed the relationship between cannabis use and liver steatosis over a three-year period. They determined that those subjects "who reported continuing cannabis use were at lower risk for developing NAFLD."

They concluded: "Our results suggest that using cannabis could have a protective effect on liver steatosis. The beneficial effect of cannabis at the level of the development of steatosis seems to be secondary to its modulation effect on weight gain and the reduced development of obesity. ... These results are in line with previous studies in the general population, in which cannabis showed significantly lower NAFLD prevalence compared to non-users."

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director. Full text of the study, "Cannabis consumption and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A three years longitudinal study in first episode non-affective psychosis patients," appears in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry.

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