The liver plays a key role in the body’s metabolism and detoxification processes. As a result, it’s important to understand the effects of cannabis on your liver.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates many of the body’s functions, including those related to the liver. Research suggests that some of the cannabinoids found in cannabis — like THC and CBD — may have hepatoprotective properties against several types of liver diseases.
Increased Risk of Liver Fibrosis
Cannabis is often used to treat conditions such as hepatitis C and HIV, but it may also cause liver fibrosis in those who already have a liver disease. Doctors have not yet found a way to treat or prevent the progression of fibrosis in these people.
Liver fibrosis is a chronic condition that affects the tissue of the liver, leading to scarring. This fibrosis is most common in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NAFLD and NASH are usually caused by eating an unhealthy diet or having high levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood.
The endocannabinoid system is believed to play a role in the development of liver cirrhosis and fibrosis. It is a complex system that includes CB1 and CB2 receptors in the liver. The distribution and activity of these receptors are thought to contribute to the inflammatory process that leads to liver disease, fibrosis, and cirrhosis.
Researchers have found that people with chronic hepatitis C who use cannabis have an increased risk of developing liver fibrosis. This risk is higher in people who smoke cannabis regularly.
This is because the cannabinoids in cannabis act on the endocannabinoid system and can lead to a higher rate of inflammation. In addition, these cannabinoids can trigger the growth of hepatic myofibroblasts and stellate cells, which are responsible for causing fibrosis.
However, people with hepatitis C who take CBD have a lower risk of developing liver fibrosis. Taking CBD can help to improve the immune response to viruses that cause hepatitis and reduce the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the liver. This can also increase the body’s ability to heal itself.
Increased Risk of Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a serious disease that can be life-threatening for people who have it. The virus causes inflammation in your liver, which can lead to scarring and cirrhosis. In some cases, it can cause death, especially in patients with hepatitis B or HIV.
Hepatitis C infections are usually spread through blood exposure, such as sharing needles and syringes. However, some people can get hepatitis C even without using drugs. These people include healthcare workers, such as nurses and laboratory technicians, who are in close contact with blood and body fluids.
Researchers have found that regular use of cannabis may lead to an increased risk of hepatitis C infection. In addition to its pain-killing and mood-elevating effects, cannabis can suppress immune defenses. This can result in an increase in bacterial pneumonia in some people who are already infected with hepatitis C, or who have other medical conditions that weaken their immune system.
Another study suggests that regular cannabis use can reduce the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients who are HIV-positive. It’s not clear why this happens, but researchers hope that further studies will shed light on the connection between marijuana use and hepatitis C.
The relationship between cannabis and hepatitis C can be complicated by the fact that the disease has multiple stages. It first starts as an incubation period, which can last anywhere from two weeks to six months. This incubation period allows the virus to replicate itself and get to the point where it can be detected by your body’s immune system.
In addition to the incubation stage, hepatitis C can lead to liver fibrosis, which is a gradual breakdown of your liver tissue. Fibrosis can make you feel tired, experience bloating and other symptoms. It can also increase your risk of other diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.
Increased Risk of Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that can cause an acute or chronic (long-term) illness. Usually, people with an acute infection recover on their own without treatment, but chronic hepatitis B can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and death.
The hepatitis B virus is spread from person to person through blood, semen or other body fluids that come into contact with an infected individual. Transmission can occur through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes or other drug-injection equipment; or from a mother to a baby during delivery.
Infants infected at birth have a 9 in 10 chance of developing a long-term (chronic) infection that may be silent and have no symptoms. Symptoms can start up to 90 days after exposure and last anywhere from eight weeks to five months after that.
Many people who are exposed to the hepatitis B virus will get a vaccine. The vaccine can prevent or delay the development of hepatitis B and is safe and effective for most people.
However, the risk of hepatitis B is still higher in certain groups. For example, people who are born in countries where the disease is more common have a greater chance of getting it. In addition, hepatitis B is more common among people who have sex with someone who is not using sex condoms or is not using a condom during pregnancy.
Daily cannabis use is strongly associated with moderate to severe fibrosis in HCV-infected individuals and should be avoided by those with chronic HCV infection. Patients should also avoid smoking cannabis if they are HIV-positive. In the current state of knowledge, more studies are needed to determine the impact of cannabis on patients with HIV and HCV co-infection and those on anti-retroviral therapy.
Increased Risk of Alcohol-Induced Liver Damage
Alcohol-induced liver disease affects more people than most people realize, and it can lead to severe health problems. Drinking too much can cause fatty deposits to form in the liver and inflammation. Eventually, the liver begins to break down and develop scar tissue called cirrhosis. It may take many years to progress to cirrhosis, but it can be fatal if not caught early on.
The risk of developing liver disease due to alcohol depends on many factors, including your age, body weight and genetics. It also depends on your lifestyle and how often you drink. Binge drinking is also a factor, as drinking four or more drinks in one sitting can damage the liver.
Heavy drinking can also increase your risk of developing hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a chronic liver infection that can spread to the rest of the body, causing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
There are certain things you can do to prevent alcohol-related liver disease. The first thing is to stay away from drinking alcohol. Your doctor can help you to decide how much alcohol you should consume, and if you need to cut back or stop completely.
The second thing you can do is to try to reduce your risk of developing liver disease by taking supplements that contain Vitamin D and zinc. Vitamin D promotes healthy liver function, while zinc helps fight infections and reduces the risk of hepatitis C.
Some people may be more at risk of developing alcohol-related liver disease than others, especially women. They tend to absorb more alcohol from each drink than men, and they also have a higher level of fat in their livers. They may also have certain hereditary disorders that make it harder to process alcohol, such as hemochromatosis.
Increased Risk of Hepatic Encephalopathy
Hepatic encephalopathy is one of the major complications of liver failure or cirrhosis. When the liver is severely damaged, toxins can build up in the bloodstream and affect brain function. This condition may happen suddenly in people with acute liver failure or cirrhosis but is more common in chronic liver disease.
Hepatic encephalpathy is caused by high levels of ammonia in the bloodstream. Ammonia is made by bacteria in the intestines and normally the liver metabolizes it. However, when the liver is severely damaged, the ammonia builds up in the bloodstream and interferes with brain function.
Symptoms include changes in behavior and mental state, a musty smell of the breath, and drowsiness. Involuntary muscle jerking or flapping of the arms or hands is also common.
The condition may worsen as the liver continues to deteriorate and may eventually lead to coma, which is usually fatal. It can be hard to detect, but it is important to seek medical care if you have any of these symptoms.
To diagnose hepatic encephalopathy, your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform tests to check for signs of liver failure. Liver function tests can check for increased levels of enzymes in your blood and imaging tests can help identify abnormalities in your brain.
Cannabis use has been linked to a variety of effects on the liver. It can cause alterations in the amount of fatty acids and cholesterol in the liver, which is linked to hepatic fibrosis and other liver disorders. It can also affect the endocannabinoid system, which may have a direct impact on the liver’s function.
Although there are few studies on the effect of cannabis on the liver, it is an important subject to study. As the legalization of recreational and medicinal cannabis becomes more widespread, it is important to understand how this substance may affect the liver and overall health.