Cannabis and liver diseases

September 4, 2018
culture
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Can cannabis help liver disease? Cannabis is being recognised as an important medicine for a long list of diseases. Moreover, in recent years, it has been seen as a potential treatment for conditions of the liver. This includes cirrhosis and fatty liver disease. There have been studies exploring how cannabis might help the liver function more effectively, even when damaged. Liver disease impacts millions of lives around the globe. Here’s what you need to know about cannabis and liver disease.

 

 

Cannabis and liver diseases:



Cannabis and Hepatitis

Studies have already shown that cannabis can be a great boon to those with viral hepatitis. It appears to help in several ways. Firstly, cannabis helps alleviate the symptoms hepatitis patients suffer from. On top of that, cannabis can assist with the chronic pain associated with viral hepatitis. Cannabinoids also help relieve inflammation of the liver caused by the disease.

Cannabis can also help hepatitis sufferers tolerating ongoing treatment. Many patients also undergo chemo. This causes severe nausea. Furthermore, some patients discontinue radiation treatment because of the side effects. Cannabis’ well-known anti-emetic qualities are good for helping such patients bear these treatments.



Cannabis and fatty liver disease (FLD)

Fatty liver disease is usually caused by alcohol abuse. However, it is also a growing health concern for those who have poor diets and are sedentary. FLD is spreading in countries where obesity is reaching epidemic proportions.

Livers that contain more than 5-10% of fat can actually damage the organ. This level of fat in the liver can cause fibrosis, liver cancer, and cirrhosis. Currently, losing weight is the best treatment for those who suffer with the condition. There is no approved medication that works. As it turns out, cannabis might be the just the thing.

A study conducted by the University of Massachusetts Medical School has examined the impact of cannabis use on liver health. The researchers studied the medical records of 5.8 million patients from 3,000 hospitals.. Interestingly, the researchers found a direct correlation to the use of cannabis and lower risk of fatty liver disease. The link was the strongest with heavy cannabis users. Occasional users had about a 15% lower risk of developing the condition. Regular users had a whopping 52% lower risk.

However, this is not the first study to examine the impact of cannabis on fatty liver disease. As a matter of fact, a 2010 study found that cannabinoids play an important role in actually treating FLD. In fact, stimulation of both CB1 and CB2 receptors appears to help in breaking down fat, specifically in the liver.



Cannabis and cirrhosis

Cirrhosis occurs when the liver produces too much scar tissue from long-term damage.A healthy liver will regenerate healthy cells. An unhealthy liver that has developed into cirrhosis will regenerate scar tissue. This scar tissue replaces the healthy cells. As a result, the liver isn’t able to function properly.

The longer this cycle continues, the more vicious it becomes. When cirrhosis progresses, the scar tissue begins to outnumber the healthy tissue. This makes it increasingly harder for the liver to perform even basic functions.Cirrhosis can lead to a number of debilitating side effects including fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, itching, and even yellowing of the skin.

However, research indicates cannabis could help. In fact, it may even treat the root cause of the condition. It turns out, cirrhotic human livers also feature more CB2 receptors than healthy livers. A study conducted in 2005 at the Hebrew University Medical School found that endocannabinoids were vital in regulating the immune and nervous systems. However, they also found that endocannabinoids were critical in the proper function of the nervous system as a whole - including the proper functioning of the liver. And a 2011 study published in the journal Cell Death and Disease found that CBD is helpful in causing malignant cells found in liver fibrosis to commit cell death.

And if you think cirrhosis isn’t bad enough for you to stop consuming alcohol, here’s our argument against it,



Last Toke:

It is apparent that cannabis can help treat nearly anything that inflames the organ. Around 1 million patient of liver cirrhosis are newly diagnosed in India every year. According to the WHO, liver diseases are the 10th most common cause of death in India. Furthermore, there is no cure for cirrhosis, except for a liver transplant that is. And finding a compatible liver is a not easy, especially when you’re in a hurry. Access to alternative treatment like cannabis can be extremely beneficial, if not life changing, for cirrhosis and other liver disease patient.

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