Yo what’s good, it’s ya boy Dan. So check it, there’s some limited research on weed and liver disease out there, and the results are all over the place. Like, some studies from back in the day say that weed’s bad for your liver, but newer research shows that it could actually help manage symptoms and treat certain liver diseases. So if you’re a heavy smoker worried about how your Mary Jane habit might affect your liver, or you’re dealing with liver disease and thinking about trying weed as a treatment option, keep reading to learn more.
Let’s start with the basics – the liver is a crucial organ that does a whole bunch of important stuff in your body. It helps detoxify your system, produces bile, and metabolizes chemicals like drugs, medications, and booze. It also plays a key role in digestion and making plasma proteins in your blood. But if you don’t take care of yourself – like if you drink too much – it can really mess up your liver’s structure and function.
So how does weed affect your liver specifically? Well first you gotta understand the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It’s this complex network of cells that helps regulate all kinds of things in your body, from sleep to mood to appetite to inflammation. Even people who don’t smoke weed have active ECS components.
Your body naturally makes endocannabinoids, which are like these little molecules that help control various physiological processes in your liver. But phytocannabinoids – like CBD and THC – which are found in weed, can also interact with the ECS to influence its activity.
One review found that affecting the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the ECS has different effects on cirrhosis – a disease where your liver gets all scarred up. Activating CB1 makes scarring worse, while activating CB2 helps counteract it. Deleting CB1 improves scarring and fat buildup, while deleting CB2 increases fat buildup and inflammation. But just FYI, this research was done in test tubes or on rodents.
Okay, now let’s get into the potential benefits of weed for liver disease. Some studies suggest that CBD and THC could help with fibrosis – which is when scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. Severe fibrosis leads to cirrhosis. A 2018 article in the journal Medicines looked at how the ECS has powerful anti-fibrogenic properties that could potentially be used to treat cirrhosis at a histologic level. The article also noted that THC can suppress hepatic myofibroblast cells, which are abundant in damaged livers, and slowing their proliferation could help slow down the progression of serious liver disease.
Here are some other ways that weed could help improve symptoms related to liver disease:
– Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A 2007 study found that people who smoke weed are less likely to develop NAFLD (which is linked to obesity and diabetes).
– Alcoholic Liver Disease: A 2018 study showed that weed users had a lower chance of developing liver disease than non-users.
– Hepatic Encephalopathy: A 2011 study found that CBD can improve mental functioning and reduce inflammation among patients with hepatic encephalopathy (a type of brain impairment related to cirrhosis).
But listen, even though there’s some evidence out there suggesting that weed could help with liver disease, there’s no clinical data or proof showing that it can actually cure any form of liver disease. You can’t reverse tissue damage just by smoking weed. Also, some studies have shown that weed could actually make certain liver diseases, like hepatitis, worse.
Dr. Hardeep Singh, a gastroenterologist from St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, pointed out that different people react differently to cannabinoids and that this could affect how weed affects your liver health. So if you’re considering using weed for a liver-related condition, make sure to talk to your doctor first.
To sum it up, there’s conflicting research out there on how weed affects your liver, and more clinical data is needed to really understand the broad-scale effects of using weed on liver function. But some studies do suggest that weed could help manage symptoms and even treat certain liver diseases. Just make sure you talk to your doc before trying it out. Peace, y’all!