Apr 25, 2016 5:30 PM

Is Marijuana a Remedy for Viral Hepatitis?

There are many different medical uses for marijuana. The plant is used as a part of treatment in various spheres of medicine. Recently, the scientists have started to research the influence of cannabis on viral hepatitis. Numerous studies prove that marijuana can be a very potent helper in the treatment of this potentially deadly liver inflammation. But how does it work? Are all patients allowed to use cannabis even without consulting their doctor?

To understand the benefits that cannabis can bring us in the process of viral hepatitis treatment, we have to understand the condition better.

What is viral hepatitis?

Basically, it is a chronic inflammation of our liver that can be caused by some variant of the hepatitis virus. The disease is very dangerous. If left untreated, it can cause very painful liver damage over the years and even be fatal. Hepatitis has five forms: A, B, C, D, E. The B and C variants are the most dangerous ones and lead to thousands of deaths every year. The typical consequences of this chronic disease are cancer and liver cirrhosis.

There are safe vaccines for most types of this condition. However, hepatitis C has no such option. Unfortunately, it happens to be the most widespread form of the disease. It can be transmitted via blood and sexual contact.

Its symptoms are very painful and unpleasant. The list includes some flu-like symptoms that can mislead the doctors and result in a wrong diagnosis. More serious symptoms include jaundice, internal bleeding, muscle aches, feeling dazed, and even coma.

Some forms of hepatitis are not treated, like Hep A. Chronic forms of the disease require the use of a series of antivirals and a synthetic version of the immune protein—Interferon. This is the first step in treating hepatitis that may include the combination of other strong medications as well.

Unfortunately, this disease cannot be dealt with immediately as the average antiviral course takes about 12 weeks. If you do not treat it fast, the condition may progress further and even lead to the need for liver transplantation.

How can cannabis help?

Can viral hepatitis treatment be one of medical marijuana uses?

One of the studies shows that the patients who use marijuana tend to be more consistent in their antiviral treatment as well. The case is that Interferon intensifies those flu-like symptoms of the disease. So, no wonder that people are looking for some relief. Many of them find it in the use of cannabis as it is a good remedy for nausea, pain, fatigue, poor appetite, and cramps. Cannabis is also well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

So, weed helps people alleviate some symptoms of the disease and bear the Interferon treatment better. In combination with the conventional methods, the plant can help in treating the illness greatly. A study conducted in 2003 proves that cannabinoids can reduce the damage-causing inflammation. A more recent study worked on the role of our endocannabinoid system in mediating various liver problems. The inflammation-fighting properties of cannabis can have great potential for patients who are at risk of liver scarring.

Basically, cannabis can greatly improve the everyday life of those patients who are medicated with antivirals. It is especially good for people with hepatitis C who have to be strictly adherent to their course. In no case make the decision to include cannabis into your treatment program by yourself—you have to consult a doctor first.

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