Connection between cannabis and liver fibrosis among those that have chronic hepatitis C

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Researches have found a connection between cannabis and liver fibrosis among those that have chronic hepatitis C. The study was published in the January issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Norah Terrault, M.D., and colleagues, studied 204 patients with chronic HCV from 2001 through 2004. Of the participants, the median age was 46.8, most were male (69.1%), and the major cause of infection with HCV was drug use with needles (70.1% of the cases). The practical message that the study conveys is that physicians should counsel those with HCV to abstain from use of marijuana. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:

Participants were mostly male (69.1%) and their median age was 46.8. The source of the HCV infection was presumed to be injection drug use in 70.1% of cases.

The primary outcome of the study was fibrosis score, assessed by biopsy, and the main predictor that the researchers evaluated was use of cannabis.

They found that 13.7% of the participants used the drug daily during the 12 months before entering the study, 45.1% used it occasionally, and 41.2% never used it. For the risk analyses, cannabis use was broken into daily and non-daily use.

They also found that 27.5% of volunteers had a fibrosis stage of F0, 55.4% had mild fibrosis (stages F1 or F2), and 17.2% had moderate to severe fibrosis (stages F3 through F6).

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