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Is Cannabis Bad For Your Liver? Separating Myths From Facts

Is cannabis bad for your liver? Cannabis, often referred to as marijuana, has been a topic of debate and research for decades. While its potential health benefits have gained recognition, concerns about its effects on various organs, including the liver, have also emerged.

Author:Black Crystal
Reviewer:Scarlet Sunset
Oct 27, 202324.1K Shares330.3K Views
Is cannabis bad for your liver? Cannabis, often referred to as marijuana, has been a topic of debate and research for decades.
While its potential health benefits have gained recognition, concerns about its effects on various organs, including the liver, have also emerged.
In this article, we'll delve into the science behind cannabis and its relationship with the liver to answer the question: Is cannabis bad for your liver?

Is Cannabis Bad For Your Liver?

After the release of its second seasoMany individuals use marijuana for a wide variety of reasons. Many individuals take it to unwind, while others seek its pain-killing properties. Others use it because they think it enhances their imagination. There is, however, considerable concern that marijuana use is harmful to the liver.
The cannabis plant is the source of marijuana, a psychoactive narcotic. THC, a psychoactive chemical found in marijuana, is responsible for the high and calm it may induce. However, marijuana use is not without its risks.
Chronic marijuana users are more likely to develop liver problems. In fact, marijuana usage is a major contributor to liver disease among American young people. Using marijuana also increases the chance of getting liver cancer and may exacerbate preexisting liver conditions.
Possible negative reactions to marijuana usage include drowsiness, lightheadedness, and sickness. It has also been linked to psychosis and paranoia in very isolated situations. Consult your physician before smoking marijuana if you have liver illness.
In spite of these concerns, some hold that medical marijuana might help those with liver illness. Many people who support the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes believe it helps alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with liver disease.
The use of marijuana for the treatment of liver problems is not supported by any available data at this time. However, CBD, a chemical contained in marijuana, shows promise in treating specific kinds of liver illnesses, according to a few studies.
Although preliminary findings suggest medical marijuana may be useful for this purpose, further study is required to determine the true upsides and downsides of this practice.
The scientific community has reached the conclusion that cannabis usage may harm liver function, but the judgment is still out on whether marijuana can be utilized to assist treat liver diseases. Therefore, it is essential to check with your physician to ensure the safety of medical cannabis usage before trying any cannabis-based products on your own.
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Graphic of liver is being observed with magnifying glass.
Graphic of liver is being observed with magnifying glass.

What Does Research Say About Cannabis Effects On Liver?

Studies on cannabis and pot are still in their infancy, but first findings are nuanced. There is no conclusive evidence that either cannabis or smoking marijuana has negative effects on the liver. Some symptoms, however, might be detrimental to the liver.
A research with 42 individuals indicated that even those with high blood levels of THC indicators had no ill effects on liver function. After long-term cannabis use, the liver function of those participants who had THC-OH indicators improved.
Scientists are getting set to examine people who have Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD), a condition brought on by excessive alcohol intake. It has been theorized that cannabidiol (CBD) may reduce the risk of oxidative stress and improper accumulation of fat in the abdomen region.
Although promising outcomes have been shown in cellulitis studies conducted on mice, more definitive data is required before it can be applied to the human liver.
Consuming cannabis or smoking marijuana has been demonstrated in several studies to have an effect on the liver. Animal studies on chronic Hepatitis C virus infection have indicated that cannabinoids in cannabis aggravate liver diseases. Cannabis use, however, has been linked to a reduction in anti-viral immunity in Hepatitis C-infected persons.
According to research published in 2018, people with Hepatitis C who smoked cannabis regularly had a reduced risk of developing Cirrhosis (liver scarring), which in turn reduced the need for expensive medical interventions.
Research on cannabis and marijuana continues to provide new and varied discoveries. It's fascinating to see how cannabis affects the liver of both humans and animals. Cannabidiol's intricate relationship with the liver requires more study.

Cannabis And The Liver

The relationship between cannabis and the liver is complex and multifaceted. To address the question of whether cannabis is bad for your liver, we'll break it down into several key points:
  • Acute vs. Chronic Use -Acute cannabis use, such as smoking a joint or consuming an edible, may temporarily increase liver enzymes. However, these elevations are typically mild and transient. Chronic, heavy cannabis use may have a more pronounced effect on liver enzymes over time.
  • Cannabinoid Receptors -The liver contains cannabinoid receptors, indicating that it interacts with cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Some studies suggest that cannabinoids may affect liver function, but the specific mechanisms are not yet fully understood.
  • Potential Benefits -Surprisingly, research has also highlighted potential benefits of cannabinoids for liver health. CBD, in particular, has shown promise in mitigating liver damage in animal studies, such as those involving liver fibrosis.
  • Drug Interactions -Cannabis can interact with other medications processed by the liver's enzymes. This interaction can affect the metabolism of these drugs and may lead to unintended consequences. It's crucial to inform healthcare providers about cannabis use when discussing medications.
  • Individual Variations -Liver responses to cannabis can vary significantly from person to person. Some individuals may be more sensitive to its effects on liver enzymes, while others may not experience any noticeable changes.

How Does Cannabis Interact With The Liver?

The liver performs detoxification and produces digestive and protein-synthesizing enzymes in the human body. There is an endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the liver that has a role in digestion through cannabinoid receptors. However, no studies have shown cannabis or pot to have very harmful effects on the livers of healthy humans.
However, the situation is quite different for those who are dealing with liver disorders. For humans with alcoholic liver disease, an increase in cannabinoid receptors has been shown to alleviate liver discomfort and, perhaps, decrease inflammation. More research is being done to determine whether or not ECS can be used to successfully treat liver illnesses like fibrosis.

How Much CBD Is Too Much?

Medical professionals have not established dosage recommendations for CBD in over-the-counter medications. Your healthcare practitioner will determine the best Epidiolex dosage for you based on your weight.
Many different CBD dosages have been explored in well controlled experiments. Daily dosages might be anything from 150 milligrams to one kg. Higher dosages often increase the likelihood of unpleasant side effects (such as diarrhea or drowsiness).
On its alone, CBD is unlikely to cause serious adverse effects. However, they are possible when CBD is used with THC or other drugs like opioids or benzodiazepines. It's not known whether or not CBD itself is to blame for the toxicity shown here.
In order to get the intended effect, experts advise beginning with a low dosage of CBD and gradually increasing it over time. If you notice any unwanted affects, talk to your doctor about reducing your dosage.
Before combining CBD with any other drugs, it's advisable to get the OK from your doctor. Your healthcare professional may do a medication interaction screening to ensure your safety. If you're going to take CBD, it's advisable to stay away from booze, too.

Side Effects Of Cannabis On Liver

The hazards of cannabis usage in those with preexisting liver diseases have also been documented by researchers.
Cannabis users with hepatitis C were shown to have more severe liver scarring and faster disease development than non-users. Yet another research contradicted these findings by reporting reduced scarring and total healthcare expenses among hepatitis C patients compared to non-users.
Furthermore, because to its liver-active nature, CBD might have unfavorable interactions with other drugs. CBD blocks the breakdown of medicines in the body, extending their effects and making dosages of treatments like warfarin, heart medications, and immune-modulating therapies more effective.
Because cannabis is a multifaceted medication, certain of the plant's constituents may be helpful to the liver while others may be harmful, depending on the individual. If you want to know how cannabis may affect your liver in light of your specific health condition, it's best to talk to a doctor about it.

Are Edibles Safe For The Liver?

Edibles are a popular method of consuming cannabis, known for their delayed but potent effects. When it comes to liver safety, edibles may be considered a relatively safer option compared to smoking or vaping. This safety aspect primarily arises from the way edibles are metabolized in the body.
When you consume an edible, such as a cannabis-infused brownie or gummy, the active compounds, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), undergo a different metabolic process compared to inhaled cannabis.
Inhaled cannabis is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs, often bypassing the digestive system and the liver during the initial phase of metabolism. In contrast, when you ingest an edible, it is processed through your digestive system.
The liver's involvement in metabolizing edibles occurs during the second phase of digestion. It's in the liver where THC undergoes transformation into its active metabolites, which can produce the characteristic psychoactive effects associated with cannabis use. This two-phase metabolism can result in a delayed onset of effects, typically taking anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to fully kick in.
Compared to the potential risks of smoking or vaping, such as lung irritation, edibles are generally considered a safer option for the respiratory system. However, it's essential to be aware that edibles are not entirely without risks, particularly concerning liver health.
Excessive or frequent consumption of high-THC edibles can lead to elevated liver enzyme levels, indicating potential liver stress. Moreover, individual responses to edibles can vary, so what is safe for one person may not be the same for another.

Effects Of Edibles On The Liver

The effects of cannabis edibles on the liver have been a subject of interest in cannabis research. While more studies are needed for a comprehensive understanding, several key points have emerged:
  • Metabolic Process -Edibles undergo a different metabolic process compared to inhaled cannabis. They are initially metabolized in the digestive system before interacting with the liver. This can result in a delayed onset of effects.
  • Liver Enzymes -In some cases, frequent or high-dose consumption of THC-containing edibles can lead to elevated liver enzyme levels. These elevated levels may indicate potential liver stress, particularly with products that have high THC concentrations.
  • Individual Variability -People's responses to edibles can vary widely. Some individuals may experience liver-related effects, such as elevated liver enzymes, while others may not exhibit the same responses.
  • Pre-existing Conditions -Individuals with pre-existing liver conditions, such as fatty liver disease or hepatitis, should be cautious when using edibles. Cannabis, including THC, can interact with liver function and may potentially worsen existing conditions.

FAQs - Is Cannabis Bad For Your Liver?

Can Cannabis Improve Liver Health?

While there is some preliminary research suggesting that certain components of cannabis, such as CBD, may have potential benefits for liver health, more extensive studies are needed to confirm these effects. It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before using cannabis for any specific medical condition, including liver-related concerns.

What Are The Potential Risks Of Cannabis For The Liver?

The potential risks of cannabis use for liver health may include elevated liver enzymes, especially with THC consumption. However, these risks can vary among individuals and depend on factors like dosage, frequency of use, and overall health.

Are There Any Liver-friendly Forms Of Cannabis Consumption?

Edibles and tinctures, which bypass the liver during digestion, may be considered liver-friendlier ways to consume cannabis compared to smoking or vaping. However, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most suitable form of cannabis consumption based on individual health and needs.

Can Cannabis Worsen Existing Liver Conditions?

For individuals with pre-existing liver conditions, such as fatty liver disease or hepatitis, cannabis use may potentially worsen their condition, especially if it leads to increased liver enzyme levels. Consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable to assess the risks and benefits.

What Precautions Should Individuals With Liver Concerns Take When Using Cannabis?

Individuals with liver concerns should exercise caution when using cannabis and consult with healthcare professionals. Monitoring liver function through regular check-ups and discussing cannabis use with a medical provider can help manage potential risks and ensure safe consumption.

Final Thoughts

Is cannabis bad for your liver? The answer isn't a simple "yes" or "no." It depends on various factors, including the frequency and amount of cannabis use, individual differences, and the specific compounds consumed. While acute use may cause mild and temporary liver enzyme elevations, chronic and heavy use may pose greater risks.
It's essential to approach cannabis use with awareness and moderation, especially if you have underlying liver conditions or are taking medications that interact with cannabinoids. Additionally, ongoing research is needed to fully understand the intricate relationship between cannabis and liver health.
As with any health-related decision, consulting a healthcare professional is advisable, as they can provide personalized guidance based on your unique circumstances. Ultimately, responsible and informed cannabis use remains key to minimizing potential risks and maximizing its potential benefits.
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Black Crystal

Black Crystal

Black Crystal is a captivating writer who finds inspiration in the quiet corners of the street and the mysterious depths beneath bridges. With a penchant for the night, she crafts enchanting tales that explore the uncharted realms of the human experience. Embracing the darkness as her muse, Black Crystal's evocative prose and haunting imagery transport readers into a world where secrets whisper and dreams take shape. Her writing defies categorization, inviting readers to uncover the magic hidden within the shadows and embrace the enigmatic beauty of her nocturnal narratives. Step into her realm, where the written word dances with ethereal grace, and immerse yourself in the captivating stories she weaves.
Scarlet Sunset

Scarlet Sunset

Scarlet Sunset is a captivating and confident transgender individual who radiates sensuality and embraces her unique beauty. With a radiant smile and a touch of red lipstick, she captivates hearts by the poolside as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow on her unforgettable presence. Despite societal norms and expectations, Scarlet celebrates her body, proudly defying conventional standards of beauty. Her curves tell a story of self-acceptance and empowerment, challenging stereotypes and inspiring others to embrace their own bodies without reservation.
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