Cannabis in liver disorders: a friend or a foe?

Goyal, Hemant; Rahman, M. Rubayat; Perisetti, Abhilash; Shah, Nihar; Chhabra, Rajiv  (November 2018)

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In this review, we evaluate the available evidence on cannabis and its constituents and the application of this evidence in clinical practice, focusing particularly on the liver and liver diseases. Constituents of cannabis, such as cannabidiol and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, have shown anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and hepatoprotective effects both in in vitro and clinical studies, and appear to have potential in the symptom management and treatment of various liver diseases that were previously considered difficult to manage conservatively. In addition, the manipulation of the inherent endocannabinoid response system has found favor in many clinical fields and has generated considerable research and clinical interest. Moreover, evidence with regard to the adverse effects of marijuana use in liver diseases is weak, which has led to raise a question on the prior rules, with regard to a denial of liver transplantation to marijuana users. All in all, the recent trends in research, clinical experiences, as well as the legislature, has opened up new avenues towards the widespread clinical application of cannabis and its derivatives as well as modifiers of the components of the endocannabinoid system. More research is required to fully exploit these new evidences.

Reduced Incidence and Better Liver Disease Outcomes among Chronic HCV Infected Patients Who Consume Cannabis

Adeyinka Charles AdejumoOluwole Muyiwa AdegbalaKelechi LaurettaAdejumo, and Terence Ndonyi Bukong  (September 2018)

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The effect of cannabis use on chronic liver disease (CLD) from Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection, the most common cause of CLD, has been controversial. Here, we investigated the impact of cannabis use on the prevalence of CLD among HCV infected individuals. Methods. We analyzed hospital discharge records of adults (age ≥ 18 years) with a positive HCV diagnosis. We evaluated records from 2007 to 2014 of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS). We excluded records with other causes of chronic liver diseases (alcohol, hemochromatosis, NAFLD, PBC, HBV, etc.). Of the 188,333 records, we matched cannabis users to nonusers on 1:1 ratio (4,728:4,728), using a propensity-based matching system, with a stringent algorithm. We then used conditional regression models with generalized estimating equations to measure the adjusted prevalence rate ratio (aPRR) for having liver cirrhosis (and its complications), carcinoma, mortality, discharge disposition, and the adjusted mean ratio (aMR) of total hospital cost and length of stay (LOS) [SAS 9.4]. Results. Our study revealed that cannabis users (CUs) had decreased prevalence of liver cirrhosis (aPRR: 0.81[0.72-0.91]), unfavorable discharge disposition (0.87[0.78-0.96]), and lower total health care cost ($39,642[36,220-43,387] versus $45,566[$42,244-$49,150]), compared to noncannabis users (NCUs). However, there was no difference among CUs and NCUs on the incidence of liver carcinoma (0.79[0.55-1.13]), in-hospital mortality (0.84[0.60-1.17]), and LOS (5.58[5.10-6.09] versus 5.66[5.25-6.01]). Among CUs, dependent cannabis use was associated with lower prevalence of liver cirrhosis, compared to nondependent use (0.62[0.41-0.93]). Conclusions. Our findings suggest that cannabis use is associated with decreased incidence of liver cirrhosis, but no change in mortality nor LOS among HCV patients. These novel observations warrant further molecular mechanistic studies.

Marijuana is not associated with progression of hepatic fibrosis in liver disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Farooqui, Muhammad T.; Khan, Muhammad Ali; Cholankeril, George; Khan, Zubair; Mohammed Abdul, Mubeen K.; Li, Andrew A.; Shah, Neha; Wu, Lin; Haq, Khwaja; Solanki, Shantanu; Kim, Donghee; Ahmed, Aijaz  (September 2018)

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We searched several databases from inception through 10 November 2017 to identify studies evaluating the role of marijuana in chronic liver disease. Our main outcome of interest was prevalence/progression of hepatic fibrosis. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and hazards ratios (HRs) were pooled and analyzed using random-effects model. Marijuana use did not increase the prevalence or progression of hepatic fibrosis in HCV and HCV–HIV-coinfected patients. On the contrary, we noted a reduction in the prevalence of NAFLD in marijuana users. Future studies are needed to further understand the therapeutic impact of cannabidiol-based formulations in the management of NAFLD.

Long-Term Heavy Recreational Cannabis Use and Serum Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Levels are not Associated with an Impaired Liver Function in Cannabis Dependents

Udo Bonnet, Ali Canbay, Michael Specka & Norbert Scherbaum  (July 2018)

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To shed more light on the influence of chronic cannabis use on liver function, we performed a post-hoc analysis of routine lab data of 42 inpatient treatment-seeking (9 female, median: 27 years old) pure cannabis dependents. These results argue against a relevant harmful impact of chronic cannabis inhalation on the liver function of relatively healthy humans (apart from nicotine dependence). Specifically, the liver function tests were not significantly influenced by THC and THC-COOH levels, both objective markers for the amount and duration of prior cannabis use.