While the research on cannabis and weed is still in progress, the emerging studies connected with the cannabis and human liver show more complex results. To understand if cannabis affects the human body or does smoking weed affect your liver, thorough investigation and research are needed. Experts say that there’s no single answer to the question that shows positive results or negates the possible effects completely. But researchers have proven some symptoms that hinder liver function. Here are some studies related to weed smoking and liver functions in detail.
A study was performed on 42 participants to note the effects of cannabis on liver function for a specific time duration. According to the research, the liver function does not show any negative signs or any deterioration even among the people with high levels of THC markers present in their blood. In addition, they found that the people with THC-OH markers blood tendency showed a better liver function after they were put on chronic cannabis.
However, the liver size of these participants with high THC–OH makers level in the blood shows a significantly small size of the liver but it did not show any sign of disability or abnormal side effects in the liver function. Thus, they sensed that there were no side effects on the liver health of the healthy individuals even when they were under the chronic weed effect.
Researchers are now in preparation for investigating those who have Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD). It’s a disease that is caused by a long alcoholic consumption. In this condition, an antioxidant called Cannabidiol (CBD) is supposed to be effective in preventing oxidative stress and abnormal or unusual abdominal retention of liver fat.
Researchers found positive results when experimenting on mice with Cellulitis. However, application to the human liver is still necessary for some accurate findings.
On the contrary, many studies are there that show how the liver interacts with cannabis intake or smoking weed. These researches show that chronic hepatitis C virus can be worse when cannabis is taken. Also, research performed on animals has shown that animal effects with Hepatitis C virus show worsen conditions of the liver such as steatosis and fibrosis on cannabis. However, cannabis consumption may suppress anti-viral immunity in humans with Hepatitis C as the studies stated. However, the findings are not accepted universally. Because separate studies found positive effects of cannabis on the human liver.
Another study released in 2018 revealed that patients with Hepatitis C who used cannabis for a significant duration showed a lower tendency of building Cirrhosis (liver scarring) which lowers the cost of healthcare overall.
This means that every study and research shows different opinions according to the findings of researchers. It is interesting to see how cannabis interacts with the human liver and how it changes its significance with animals. However, detailed studies are also there that show cannabis’s influence on the human liver mechanism. This is because drug mechanism enzymes in the liver are the main source in the liver that interact with cannabis. When these enzymes interact with cannabis or any other drug in the liver, they become less or more potent.
How does cannabis interact with the liver?
In the human body, the liver is responsible for detoxifying and developing enzymes that help in digestion and synthesizing proteins. The cannabinoids present in the liver also take part in digestion through an endocannabinoid system (ECS) as receptors. Although there’s no such research that shows extreme negative effects of cannabis or weed on a healthy human liver function.
However, there’s a completely different story when it comes to people having liver diseases. For example, an increase in cannabinoid receptors in an affected human liver from alcoholic disease can provide relief from liver pain and may reduce inflammation. Studies are further evaluating the role of ECS in treating liver diseases like fibrosis.
Benefits of Cannabis for liver health
It may sound unusual, but there are benefits of cannabis more than its negative effects. Also, many researches are still in progress as many studies unveil that cannabis can be used as an active treatment for many liver conditions.
Another eye-opening study performed on the humans with a history of alcohol misuse when there are significant negative effects of alcohol on their liver increasing chances and symptoms of liver fibrosis. Those who used cannabis have significantly produced positive results even on the alcohol-abused liver. In the same study, they found that the most effective results were seen in the liver that consumed cannabis the most.
Side effects and potential risks of cannabis on liver
Researchers also have evidence of side effects of cannabis on the human liver with pre-existing liver diseases to some extent. Researches also show the negative impact of CDB in the liver when it interacts with other medication due to how it works inside the liver.
CBD is often found to prevent enzymes from working efficiently in breaking down medicines in the body. Eventually, it takes longer for the blood to transfuse the effects of the medicine in the body. Thus, drugs used to mold the immune, heart medications, and medicines like warfarin become more potent and last longer compared to desired doses. But if it means that cannabis can be used as a treatment for such liver diseases? The studies are still in progress.
The potential of cannabis-related treatments
According to Dr. Bukong from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and INRS – Institut Armand-Frappier- Research Centre; “My research group is currently working to discover which cannabinoids or cannabinoid formulations will provide the best therapeutic benefits for specific liver diseases.”
The anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis are already being used to treat multiple liver pain, arthritis, colitis (colon inflammation), and multiple sclerosis.
“Our findings revealed that cannabis users were less likely to develop alcoholic liver disease, and cannabis-dependent individuals were the least likely individuals to develop alcoholic liver disease.”
Is cannabis a cure for all liver problems?
Dr. Singh a gastroenterologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California warned about how cannabis can affect hepatitis affected liver. A human liver with the Hepatitis C virus can show significantly worsen conditions when put on cannabis.
He specifically mentioned;
“Patients with hepatitis C who used cannabis had way more liver scarring than those who didn’t and more progression of their liver disease.” Something in the cannabis could actually be increasing fatty liver disease and fibrosis.”
In addition, he enlightened the changing behaviors of the liver according to a person’s sensitivity such as whether consuming cannabis benefits the person or not. “You can’t just tell the public marijuana is good for your liver, because there may also be people whose liver is harmed by it.”
He also said that research proving the positive effects of cannabis can result in a short period of time but they are not the permanent solution for a liver affected with hepatitis. Also, if a healthy person consumes marijuana or any other type of weed for a longer period, there are possibilities that they can develop liver issues.
Therefore, treatments from cannabis can be made in short terms but for long-term results, the medical theories should be followed, “a short course of a steroid drug called prednisolone, for about eight weeks, which can help combat the effects of alcohol on the liver.”
The bottom line
Research has proven that the use of marijuana and weed significantly reduced the risk of liver diseases, especially liver cancer, and prevented liver damage. In addition, there is evidence that shows the positive effects of cannabis on people with high alcohol consumption. However, these researches also show that consuming cannabis along with alcohol can induce depression and anxiety in people which leads to disorders not only in the liver but other organs of the body as well such as the kidney and heart.
Because the evidence grows in a positive way that cannabis-derived products have the tendency to treat health issues in a more specific way, it is important to understand that much cannabis-like marijuana is illegal in many states. Cannabis is not medicine but a drug that may have potential side effects if misused.