Study: Pot Use Linked with Lower Risk of Liver Disease
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Study: Pot Use Linked with Lower Risk of Liver Disease

The researchers found that “current marijuana use is inversely associated with steatosis,” or a condition caused by too much fat in the liver. This was the conclusion of a new study published late last month in PLOS One. After examining “nationally representative samples” of Americans, researchers found that “current marijuana usage is inversely related to steatosis,” a condition caused by too much fat in liver. The pathophysiology of marijuana use is unclear and requires further study. The researchers concluded that marijuana use did not cause liver fibrosis – regardless of whether it was used in the past or present. The study’s authors explained that the target population was adults from the NHANES database who had reliable vibration controlled transient-elastography (VCTE). The median values of the controlled-attenuation-parameter (CAP) and liver rigidity measurement (LSM), respectively, were used to assess liver steatosis or fibrosis. After adjusting relevant confounders, the researchers used a logistic regression to assess the association between cannabis use and liver steatosis or fibrosis. They found that compared to never marijuana users, both past and current users showed a lower prevalence (P = 0.184 & P = 0.048 respectively) of liver steatosis. In the alcohol intake adjusted model, current marijuana usage was an independent predictor for a low prevalence liver steatosis among people who did not drink heavily. The association between marijuana and liver fibrosis in univariate or multivariate regression was not significant. There is no specific medication for fatty liver. Doctors focus on managing factors that contribute towards the condition. They also recommend making lifestyle changes that can significantly improve your health,” the Cleveland Clinic says.Despite the intriguing findings of the study, the Chinese researchers urged caution.”Nevertheless, the present study has several limitations. This was an observational research; causal inferences cannot be made and correlations are to be interpreted as associations. Second, marijuana usage was based on a self-reporting. The skewness in the distribution of marijuana use could be subject to misclassification. This would limit the power of secondary analysis with days of cannabis use,” they wrote. “Such inaccurate reporting may introduce bias towards the null hypotheses for the results. Third, physical activity or diet was not included in analyses. We could not exclude biliary and primary liver diseases, such as Wilson’s Disease, and the use of steatogenic medications due to the limitations of the NHANES data. We could not determine the type of marijuana or the dose-response relationship between marijuana use and liver steatosis. Further longitudinal studies are needed to confirm these findings. Investigations into marijuana compounds and its biological effects could be promising for treating and preventing liver fatty disease.


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