Twenty-nine states all over the U.S. now acknowledges that marijuana has a lot of benefits and has paved the way to a more marijuana open nation through cannabis legalization. There is a laundry list of the beneficial and therapeutic ways medical cannabis can to treat nausea, pain, and more. But apparently, medical marijuana is beneficial for alcoholics as well, according to a recent study.
In fact, chronic medical cannabis use could impede the liver damages in alcoholics as its side effect, a new analysis of discharge records from 2014 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project – Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) found.
It is well-documented and studied that marijuana consumption has anti-inflammatory properties. It accounts for why it is effective in alleviating pain in the body. It’s also why medical marijuana is used to cure nerve inflammation, one of the primary roots of many neurological diseases like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
The peer-reviewed study published by the researchers with the North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts analyzed the discharge data of 320,000 adult patients with alcohol abuse histories. They wanted to study if weed’s potent anti-inflammatory capabilities could also treat and protect the liver from the damage done by alcohol.
Researchers divided the participants in the study into non-dependent cannabis users, dependent cannabis users, and non-cannabis users. They analyzed how medical marijuana use relates to the four distinct phases of liver conditions- alcoholic fatty liver disease (AS), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (AH), cirrhosis (AC), and liver cancer (HCC).
They found that 10 percent of the inpatients classified as alcoholics and are also marijuana users showed a lower rate of liver disease of any kind after they compared the records.
Alcoholics who are habitual cannabis users also exhibited an even lower prevalence of disease in the liver than those who consume medical marijuana occasionally. These findings strongly suggest that cannabis use can indeed help prevent liver damage from alcohol abuse.
“Our study revealed that among alcohol users, individuals who additionally use cannabis (dependent and non-dependent cannabis use) showed significantly lower odds of developing alcoholic steatosis (AS), steatohepatitis (AH), cirrhosis (AC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC),” one of the authors of the study reported. “Further, dependent users had significantly lower odds than non-dependent users for developing liver disease.”
The outcome-based study doesn’t describe in detail how or why cannabinoids act in a way that significantly lowers the chances of liver damage in the human body. But using mice as test subjects, they came up with a hypothesis that the anti-inflammatory properties of marijuana are good for alcoholics’ liver as it reduces the inflammation and the long-term damage associated with heavy drinking.
The experiment was done by dosing CBD on lab mice before they injected ethanol. The experiment showed significant proof and indication that the compound acted as a shield that coated the liver from alcohol-generated oxidative stress-induced steatosis and inflammation.
This breakthrough must not be abused because it does not change the fact that alcohol is still very harmful to the body. According to the results of the comparative risk assessment of alcohol against cannabis using the margin of exposure approach, the latter is around 114 times less deadly than alcohol and was determined to pose a low risk of death.
According to the paper published online in the US National Library of Medicine, at the individual level, alcohol presents the highest risk of death, suggesting that the risk of too much alcohol consumption has likely been underestimated in the past. It was closely followed by nicotine, cocaine, and heroin.
Harmful substances are introduced into the body every time a person drinks alcohol. These substances are then filtered by the liver in the bloodstream, but this process damages the cells in the liver. Frequent drinkers have it worse as their continued exposure to alcohol inflames the liver. As a response, scar tissues will gradually replace the dead cells in the organ.
The more an individual drink, the more significant the damage becomes. Too much alcohol drinking can cause chronic and severe inflammation of the liver and can later lead to fatal cirrhosis.
Medical marijuana, on the other hand, was found to be substantially less dangerous and deadly. Sitting at the other end of the spectrum, the article agrees with previous studies that had consistently classified it as the safest recreational drug. This begs the question of why marijuana is still considered illegal while alcoholic substances are not.
Adeyinka Charles Adejumo, the head of the team of the researchers that determined marijuana is good for alcoholics, they want to be clear that the aim of the study is not to encourage those who abuse their alcohol consumption to take up cannabis.
Furthermore, Adejumo warns against the mixing alcohol and cannabis as it could be more toxic than the just base alcohol.
The scientist who did the research instead views the publication as opening the opportunity to more cannabis-based treatments and they are hopeful that this could be used to develop into a medicine that would prevent liver disease especially for heavy drinkers.