The effects of cannabis on the liver are still under investigation, but a lot of research has shown that it can be beneficial for some people with certain types of liver disease.
For instance, some people with alcoholic liver disease can benefit from the increased cannabinoid receptors in their liver through an endocannabinoid system (ECS). This can help reduce pain and inflammation and provide relief for some individuals with this condition.
The liver is an important organ that helps the body maintain various functions, including regulating blood clotting, producing and processing proteins and enzymes, detoxifying the blood, flushing out bilirubin and storing sugar and nutrients. It also plays a key role in metabolism and immunity.
Cirrhosis is a severe condition that causes scar tissue to build up and replace the normal liver cells. This happens because of chronic hepatitis C, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), alcoholic liver disease, and other conditions.
Doctors diagnose cirrhosis by asking you about your medical history, performing a physical exam, and testing your liver. They may use a scoring system to help them determine the stage of cirrhosis you have and what treatment options are available.
Symptoms of cirrhosis are not always apparent until the condition is very advanced. Some early symptoms are a change in skin color or yellow eyes, itchy or painful skin and weight loss. Others include fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.
When the liver can’t remove toxins from the blood, it can cause a problem called hepatic encephalopathy (HE). This is a serious condition that can lead to confusion and other mental problems.
There are many different medications that can help with HE, including drugs to reduce toxins in the blood and antibiotics to treat infections. You’ll need to see a doctor regularly for your HE to be treated effectively.
Your doctor will also evaluate the amount of scarring on your liver and how it is affecting your body. They may order tests to look at your bilirubin levels, kidney function and blood clotting. They will also check for other diseases that can affect your liver.
If your cirrhosis is severe, your doctor might recommend surgery to treat it. This might involve a procedure called transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS), which uses a tube to bypass the blood flow into the liver by directing it back towards the heart.
While many people are skeptical about the effects of cannabis on the liver, there is a growing number of scientific studies that indicate that marijuana can help with certain types of liver diseases. In addition to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and hepatoprotective properties, cannabis can also enhance the immune system in some cases.
Alcoholic Liver Disease
When cannabis is used with the right dose and in the correct manner, it can improve liver health and even prevent some serious problems. It can also reduce inflammation and enhance the immune system.
Liver damage can occur in a variety of ways, including through heavy drinking and smoking. But the most common way that the liver is damaged is through alcohol-induced cirrhosis. This condition can lead to many serious health issues and can even cause death.
The exact causes of alcoholic liver disease are unclear, but genetic vulnerability may play a role. In addition, age, gender and body composition can contribute to the risk of alcoholic liver disease.
There is a significant increase in the risk of alcoholic liver disease for men who ingest > 40 g, particularly > 80 g, of alcohol per day (eg, about 2 to 8 cans of beer, about 3 to 6 glasses of wine or 3 to 6 shots of hard liquor) for > 10 years. But only a minority of chronic heavy drinkers develop severe hepatitis or cirrhosis.
Patients with alcoholic liver disease often have symptoms such as fatigue, fever, hepatomegaly (tenderness in the right upper quadrant), and jaundice. In addition, ALT (aspartate aminotransferase) and GGTP (gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase) levels are increased in the liver, and prothrombin time and international normalized ratio (INR) values are usually raised.
Symptoms typically begin to develop within weeks or months of chronic heavy drinking. They can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, tiredness, fatigue, fever, hepatomegaly, and jaundice.
If left untreated, alcoholic liver disease can progress to hepatocellular carcinoma. In some cases, it can lead to hepatitis B and hepatitis C infection. This can be fatal because these infections can irritate the liver and cause more damage.
If a patient has been diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease, he or she must stop drinking. Ideally, they should abstain from alcohol for the rest of their lives. If not, the condition can progress to cirrhosis and eventually become irreversible. For this reason, a team approach is important, including behavioral and psychosocial interventions such as motivational enhancement therapy.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease that can either manifest as a mild illness for a few weeks or become a lifelong condition that requires treatment and may even result in death. Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus, which is transmitted from one person to another through blood exposure. Hepatitis C can also affect health care providers and others who come in contact with contaminated blood during their work.
In hepatitis C, the immune system attacks the liver, which leads to inflammation and liver damage. Symptoms of hepatitis C include fever, fatigue, nausea, and jaundice. Medications such as interferon and ribavirin can help alleviate these symptoms but are not always a cure.
Studies have shown that hepatitis C patients who use medical cannabis have lower levels of steatosis and fibrosis. However, there is still much research that needs to be done to determine the effects of cannabis on liver diseases such as hepatitis C and cirrhosis.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an important role in the liver and is responsible for detoxification and digestion. This system can be manipulated using cannabinoid receptors and metabolites. These agonists can inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines, reduce cholesterol accumulation in the liver, and decrease hepatic steatosis and fibrosis.
Some studies have found that patients with chronic hepatitis C who use medical cannabis had lower rates of fibrosis and less progression of the disease than those who did not. These findings suggest that medical cannabis can be an effective way to treat hepatitis C and that it should be used under the supervision of a qualified physician.
Researchers have also discovered that hepatitis C patients who used cannabis for a long time had less liver scarring than those who did not. This could potentially lead to a decrease in the costs of healthcare and improve the overall quality of life for these patients.
There are no known negative effects of regular cannabis use on the liver, but there is evidence that a higher dose of cannabis could increase fibrosis and cirrhosis in HCV-infected patients. Despite this, cannabis is an effective therapeutic agent for the management of hepatitis C and has been shown to improve adherence to antiviral treatments.
Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease is a condition that causes excess fat to build up in the liver. It’s one of the most common liver diseases in the United States, and it affects about 25 percent of people.
If you have fatty liver disease, your doctor will probably diagnose it by checking blood tests that show elevated liver enzymes. You might also have a liver biopsy. This procedure involves inserting a needle into your liver and removing a tiny piece of tissue for testing.
You can develop fatty liver disease for many reasons. Some of the most common are being overweight or obese, or if you have diabetes. Having high cholesterol levels or other health conditions, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, is another risk factor for developing fatty liver disease.
In some cases, fatty liver disease progresses to cirrhosis, which is a severe and painful form of liver damage. Symptoms of cirrhosis include fatigue, vomiting, weight loss, pain in your abdomen or back, and swelling. In severe cases, a person may need a liver transplant.
The effects of cannabis on the liver are mainly due to its ability to activate the CB1 receptor, which can increase inflammation and damage liver cells. This means that chronic use of cannabis, especially containing THC, can increase the likelihood of developing hepatic fibrosis and inflammation.
It can also reduce a person’s ability to make certain important liver enzymes, including CYP450, which helps regulate fecal and urinary excretions. Other liver enzymes are important for detoxifying the body and immune function.
If you have a pre-existing liver problem, it’s best to avoid marijuana or any other cannabis product until you speak with your doctor. You should never smoke weed or eat THC edibles while taking medications that your liver can’t process properly, like opioids or alcohol.
There are some people who believe that marijuana can help treat some types of liver problems. For example, some studies have shown that CBD can alleviate the symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy and help reduce the inflammation and damage that can occur in this condition.
However, more research is needed to determine if using cannabis can actually help people with a liver problem. Some researchers have suggested that if a person has hepatitis C or other liver diseases, they should not use cannabis.