Benefits of Medical Cannabis for Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that causes swelling of the liver. This virus affects up to 2.7 million people in the United States alone. However, studies have proven that cannabis, because of its anti-inflammatory property, has shown some potentials in helping to manage symptoms associated with Hepatitis virus.
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a viral disease that is caused by the hepatitis virus and often results in inflammation of the liver. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a virus that is being transmitted via the blood and it’s mostly transmitted via unsafe injection practices. It can also be contracted by having an unprotected sex with an infected individual.
HCV can cause both chronic and acute infections. The acute form of the infection is typically asymptomatic and usually not life-threatening. Even without any treatment, about 15 – 45% of people with an acute HCV infection will rid themselves of the virus within a period of 6 months. The 55 to 85% remaining will have their virus evolve into a chronic HCV infection. And within 20 years, 15 to 30% of the people will develop liver cirrhosis. You should also know that HCV can as well develop into liver cancer.
As proposed by the World Health Organization, due to the asymptomatic nature of HCV infection, a very few people are diagnosed during the acute phase. However, most infected individuals may experience some symptoms like fatigue, fever, nausea, low appetite, dark urine, abdominal pain, vomiting joint pain, gray-colored and jaundice. For the group of individuals that continues to be asymptomatic, they will either cure themselves of the virus or have it developed into chronic HCV.
Once an individual is diagnosed with Hepatitis C, the treatment goal is to have it cured with direct antiviral agents.
Hepatitis C Treatment
Hepatitis C treatment can include the use of interferon medications, but sometimes, there could be negative side effects following their use. Therefore, most treatment now focuses on the use of antiviral drugs that acts directly on the illness while having less negative side effects. However, even though prescribed medications can be great in helping the body recover, a combination of established treatment and medical cannabis can be very effective in relieving symptoms of Hepatitis C.
Medical Cannabis and Hepatitis C
#1: Cannabis suppresses inflammation and pain
Research has it that cannabis has the potential to offer therapeutic benefits to HCV patients as well as other liver diseases. The major cannabinoids, including THC found in cannabis bind with the CB1 and CB2 receptors which are cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system found within the body. The activation of the CB2 receptor has shown some beneficial and anti-inflammatory effects on hepatic inflammation, liver injury, fatty liver, regeneration, and fibrosis. And a recent review showed that the cannabinoid in cannabis is effective in taming chronic liver diseases.
#2: Cannabis controls the progression of the virus
Previous studies have also shown that cannabis to be effective in controlling the progression of fibrosis, cirrhosis and other liver diseases. Together with that, studies have also gone forth to express that the potential treatment benefits locked up in cannabis for treating Hepatitis C far outweigh the possible risks that have earlier been suggested about it.
#3: Cannabis is effective for managing nausea
Standard treatments for hepatitis C, including interferon can often bring about nausea, which also does have a negative effect on the patient’s appetite. The Indica strain of the cannabis has been considered as a go-to treatment that is effective in helping to relax stomach muscles and thus reduce nausea and help keep food down.
#4: Cannabis helps patients to stick with treatment
Probably because of the symptom relief being offered by cannabis, the use of cannabis has been found to significantly affect whether patients living with hepatitis C were able to stick with their treatment prescription.
#5: Cannabis helps improve fatigue
The sativa strain of marijuana can help with symptoms of fatigue caused as a result of the effect of fighting hepatitis C. it acts as a stimulant enhancing mood, boost physical stamina and improve mental focus.
#6: Cannabis can help control swelling of the legs
The immune system can send signals to tissue which can thus result in the swelling of the legs as a response. But medical cannabis can function as a suppressor to tissue affected by HCV. The swelling effect caused by the immune system’s signals can be subdued by the Indica strains of marijuana, thus reversing it. Other immune system dysfunction like lupus can also be affected by the positive effects of medical cannabis.
#7: Cannabis can help control weight loss
Hepatitis can interrupt the food processing ability of the liver and thus hampers digestion. With the help of some properties inherent in cannabis, a patient’s appetite can be improved, enhancing the desire to eat and receive more nutrients which help the body maintain a proper weight.
Getting the right dosage for medical marijuana for hepatitis C sometimes involve trial and error. However, with time and the right information from your doctor, you will surely find the best combination that works for you. Therefore, it is recommended you start off slowly with a minimal amount of cannabis.
The use of medical cannabis to treat HCV is progressing with many more proves emerging by the day. If you feel it could be a useful addition to your treatment plan, then you should get a medical cannabis doctor to help you out today.