New Study Says Alcoholics Who Smoke Pot Daily Have Lower Risk Of Liver Disease
Alcohol is one of the most fatal substances known to man. This isn’t a secret, as dozens of scientific studies back this up. For many, alcohol is legal yet accounts for 88,000 lives annually across all demographics in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control also says that excessive alcohol use shortens lives by an average of 30 years.
The short-term health risks associated with excessive alcohol use includes injuries from driving and crashing cars, violence (homicide, domestic abuse, sexual assault, suicide), alcohol poisoning, engaging in risky sexual behaviors that can increase the risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, stillbirth and miscarriage among pregnant women. On the other hand, long-term health risks associated with excessive alcohol use that continues over time can contribute to chronic diseases. The most common cause of liver disease or cirrhosis from chronic inflammation is excessive alcohol use. It can also lead to high blood pressure, stroke, different cancers, mental health problems, social problems, and so much more.
According to the International Business Times: “Two large surveys carried out in 2001-02 and 2012-13 have found that harmful levels of drinking are increasing among almost all demographics in the US. The number of people who had consumed alcohol in the past 12 months went up 11.2% in the time between surveys. High-risk drinking went up by almost 30%. This means that at present about 29.6 million Americans are putting their health at risk due to their drinking habits.” The study’s authors concluded by saying, “Increases in alcohol use, high-risk drinking, and DSM-IV alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the US population and among subgroups, especially women, older adults, racial/ethnic minorities, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged, constitute a public health crisis. Taken together, these findings portend increases in many chronic comorbidities in which alcohol use has a substantial role.”
Yet, cannabis is still illegal at the federal level while buying alcohol is easier than stealing candy from a baby. And cannabis has none of these health risks AT ALL.
Previous reports prove the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in treating liver disease and cirrhosis. One of these is a study conducted in 2005 at the Hebrew University Medical School showed that endocannabinoids help regulate the immune and nervous system, which play a role in reducing the risk of inflammation. The researchers also found that endocannabinoids play a vital role in ensuring the proper functioning of the neurological system, which is needed by people suffering from fibrosis, cirrhosis, and other liver conditions. “Endocannabinoids appear to be involved in several aspects of acute and chronic liver disease,” says the report.
Now, new data tells us that using cannabis regularly can actually prevent liver disease.
Researchers from the North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts analyzed the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis in protecting the liver from disease. The study, which looked at 319,000 patients who either have a past or current history of alcohol abuse, yielded significant findings. The patients were divided into three groups: non-cannabis users, non-dependent cannabis users, and dependent cannabis users. Researchers also studied the impact of cannabis on the four phases of liver disease which are alcoholic fatty liver disease (AS), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (AH), cirrhosis (AC), and liver cancer (HCC).
The researchers found that those in the cannabis users group showed “significantly lower odds” of acquiring all four phases of liver disease. What’s interesting is that those in the “dependent cannabis users” category had the lowest chances out of all groups of developing liver disease. This means that the more a patient uses cannabis, the more significantly reduced their chances are of developing liver disease due to alcohol abuse. The study concludes that cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects are substantial enough to prevent liver damage from excessive drinking.
However, the researchers say that this isn’t an excuse to start smoking cannabis daily or to mix alcohol and cannabis use. What’s important about this study is that it could pave the way for more cannabis-based treatments to save more lives for people at risk of developing liver disease due to alcohol abuse.
It can be said that the alcohol abuse epidemic is a silent one, one that is woven so intricately into the fabric of our culture because of its widespread acceptance. Yet alcohol (abuse) is a killer, but one that cannabis can be beneficial for.