Extensive research into cannabis effects revealed a wide range of benefits; while the findings we have to date are limited in that there is not enough data to prove that medical use of the plant is safe, it appears that the compounds found in it can benefit health even without affecting the mind.
A new research conducted by scientists from various US universities demonstrated cannabis could have a protective effect on the liver; the effect was observed in patients suffering from alcohol abuse. This is not to say excessive consumption of alcohol can be made safe by adding another bad habit of smoking marijuana – no sir! Instead, the compounds responsible for the effect could be isolated and used as part of medications.
Alcohol abuse is associated with risks to many body systems and organs, including the liver. Chronic alcohol abuse almost inevitably leads to liver disease, abbreviated as ALD, cirrhosis, alcoholic steatosis, fibrosis, steatohepatitis, or hepatocellular carcinoma. The researchers carrying out the study noted that many alcoholics smoke cannabis, which is apparently due to marijuana legalization processes taking place in many states. It has already been reported that certain cannabis compounds could produce an anti-inflammatory effect. In this study, they revealed another benefit: it turns out something in the plant can protect the liver against the negative impact of drinking alcohol.
The researchers analyzed 319,514 cases of patients aged 18 or older, who suffered from alcohol abuse. They divided them into three groups according to cannabis exposure: those who did not consume cannabis (90.39%), those who consumed cannabis but were not addicted to it (8.26%), and those who consumed cannabis and were addicted to it (1.36%). Having compared the odds of suffering from the above mentioned liver diseases and conditions, they found that patients who were cannabis-users were less likely to develop AC, AH, AS, and HCC. Among these two groups, those who were addicted to cannabis had an even lower risk of developing these diseases. All this boils down to the conclusion that compounds found in cannabis could contribute to protection of the liver, though the mechanisms behind the effect remain unknown.
It must be noted that the effect was strongest in those patients whose alcohol consumption pattern was defined as alcohol abuse. In those who were heavier drinkers and belonged to the alcohol-dependant group, the effect was not that significant. The difference between the terms is in the type of consumption: alcohol abusers drink often, and alcohol dependants just cannot get rid of the need to drink. That being said, the more alcohol you drink, the less effective cannabis is.
Alcohol drives the liver disease by inducing inflammation, and cannabis anti-inflammatory effects have already been observed in studies and backed by scientific evidence.
Please keep in mind that the findings reported by the researchers do not enable them to claim there is causation between cannabis use and liver protection, which means smoking cannabis or consuming it any other way without asking a doctor’s permission is not recommended. Prior to trying marijuana even as a medication, not for recreational purposes, consult a doctor who will be able to tell you whether you really need such treatment and what options there are.
The reason why consuming cannabis without prescription is to be avoided is that it can lead to a variety of disorders and other problems. It is not an all-purpose remedy or a flawless medicine, as it is sometimes advertised.