The adverse effects of alcohol abuse on health are becoming more apparent. Regularly exceed the recommended daily limits of a drink for women and two drinks for men is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and many types of cancer, including liver cancer.
Recently, researchers have sought to understand the effects of the liver on the regular use of alcohol and cannabis.
Although substance abuse may not be a good idea, recent research has shown that regular use of alcohol and cannabis has an unexpected impact on health.
A 2018 study analyzed approximately 320,000 people with a history of alcohol abuse and cannabis use to determine the potential effects of using both drugs on liver health. What they discovered was surprising.
Dr. Terence Bukong of the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine and INRS-Armand-Frappier Research Center told Healthline: "The main goal of our study was to evaluate the effect of cannabis use and the development of alcoholic liver disease."
"Because no clinical study has evaluated the impact of cannabis use and the development of alcoholic liver disease in humans, we thought the area was important to research that required urgent research," he added.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol consumption is responsible for about 88,000 deaths a year.
Can CBD help reduce alcohol dependency to prevent liver disease?
A 2017 study, analyzed the clinical population of people with depression and alcohol use disorder (AUD) to find that marijuana has no beneficial effect and can worsen their depression.
The study concluded that, at least in people with depression, marijuana is not an effective treatment.
Cannabis was shown not to be an effective treatment for AUD, as demonstrated in this research. It found that people treated for AUD, who also use marijuana, relapsed before those who did not use it.
This doesn't accurately correlate CBD to AUD, but there is ongoing research for CBD and alcohol dependency.
What is Liver Disease?
The liver is a football-sized organ located just below the ribs on the right side of your stomach. The liver is essential for the digestion of food and the removal of toxic substances from the body.
Liver disease can be hereditary or caused by various liver damaging factors, such as viruses and alcohol use. Obesity is also associated with liver damage.
What Causes Liver Disease?
The liver can be infected by a virus, causing inflammation while reducing liver function. Viruses responsible for liver damage may spread through contaminated blood, sperm, contaminated food or water, or from close contact with an infected person.
Immune system abnormality
Diseases where your immune system attacks parts of your body (autoimmune) can affect the liver. Examples of autoimmune liver disease are Autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis
Abnormal genes inherited from one's parents may lead to the accumulation of several substances in the liver, resulting in liver damage. Hereditary liver diseases include hemochromatosis, Hyperoxaluria and oxalosis, Wilson's disease and Antitrypsin alpha-1 deficiency
Cancer and other growth
Examples include Liver cancer, Gallbladder cancer, and Liver adenoma.
Other common causes of liver disease include Chronic alcohol abuse and Fat accumulation in the liver (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease)
Current Treatment Options
Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you have persistent signs or symptoms that affect you. Seek medical attention immediately if you feel abdominal pain so severe that you cannot stand upright. Your doctor can tell you which is the best treatment option for the disease.
Treatment for liver disease will depend on your diagnosis. Most liver problems can be treated with lifestyle changes, such as stopping alcohol consumption or losing weight, usually as part of a medical program. Other liver problems can be treated with medication but may require surgery.
Treatment for liver disease that causes or has caused liver failure may require a liver transplant.
Alternative drugs have not been proven to cure liver disease. Some studies, including treatment with Chinese herbal remedies for the elimination of hepatitis B virus, have shown benefits. But more research is needed to prove these benefits.
Also, some herbal supplements used in alternative medicine can damage your liver. More than 1000 drugs and herbal products have been linked to liver damage, including Skullcap, Ma-huang, Mistletoe, Jin bu Huan, Germander, Valerian, Kava, Chaparral, Comfrey, and Pennyroyal oil.
It is important to discuss potential risks with your doctor before taking any medications or alternative treatment.
The anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis have been well documented. Previous research has previously shown that cannabinoid receptors in the liver are a potential target for new methods of treating liver disease.
Activation of these receptors by cannabis reduces early inflammation in Alcoholic liver disease (ALD), which slows the progression of the disease.
How CBD Can Treat Liver Disease Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of liver disease include:
- Skin and yellowish eyes (jaundice)
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Itchy skin
- Dark-colored urine
- Pale colored stool, bloody or glued stool
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- The tendency to bruise easily
Many experts have suggested using CBD as a therapeutic aid in severe liver disease. After several studies, experts state that CBD can help treat liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, and fibrosis. Indeed, CB2 receptors play a crucial role in improving the functions of the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system consists of internally produced cannabinoids and their receptors within the body.
CB2 produces anti fibrogenic effects that alleviate most symptoms of liver disease. It also reduces the buildup of fibrogenic cells. Also, CBD protects the liver while preventing the development of common liver problems. For example, it reduces liver inflammation while helping to reduce tumors and liver cancer. Studies have also shown that CBD can help address the excess fat buildup in the liver of cirrhotic patients. Studies also show that CBD slows the progression of liver fibrosis.
Although there is increasing evidence that cannabis and its products can treat or prevent a wide range of health problems, it is essential to remember that cannabis is considered a drug and, like any other drug, may be harmful if misused.