Research Shows THC in Cannabis Helps Hepatitis Patients Finish Their Treatment

Hepatitis is a serious and widespread health issue, with the World Health Organization estimating that over 250 million people globally suffer from hepatitis B and C as of 2024. Despite the availability of treatment options, many patients struggle to complete their entire course of therapy. 

There are several reasons why patients may struggle to complete their treatment – nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. If you are facing this challenge, there’s good news: cannabis might be a helpful companion in your treatment journey. Many hepatitis patients buy weed online as an adjunct therapy, which leads to better outcomes.

Key Takeaways

  • Patients undergoing hepatitis treatment experience nausea, weight loss, and vomiting.
  • In a study, 86% of cannabis patients with hepatitis finish their treatment course.
  • Patients using interferon as a treatment regimen have discovered that cannabis reduces the likelihood of experiencing weight loss.

Hepatitis Overview

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver with various underlying causes, like viral infections, alcohol consumption, certain health conditions, and some medications. The specific treatment approach for hepatitis depends on the type of hepatitis and the root cause.

Treatment Protocol for Hepatitis

  • Hepatitis A: Acute hepatitis A does not require specific treatment beyond rest, hydration, and nutrition management. Medications may help manage symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Hepatitis B: Acute hepatitis B has no specific treatment but is subject to monitoring. Doctors address chronic hepatitis B with antiviral drugs like entecavir or tenofovir, often prescribing them for long-term use. Patients need regular medical evaluations to monitor their response to the treatment.
  • Hepatitis C: Acute and chronic hepatitis C require antiviral drug combinations. Further testing may help determine the optimal treatment approach. Patients suffering from advanced liver disease from chronic hepatitis C may require a liver transplant.
  • Hepatitis D: Pegylated interferon alpha is a standard treatment but can have severe side effects. It is not advantageous for those with cirrhosis, psychiatric conditions, or autoimmune diseases.
  • Hepatitis E: No specific medical therapies are available. Supportive care with rest, hydration, and nutrition is advisable. Pregnant women with hepatitis E require close monitoring and care. 

THC and Its Medical Uses

THC, short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant.

Researchers are looking into the potential applications of THC for a variety of medical conditions:

  • Muscle stiffness and spasms linked with multiple sclerosis (MS) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Chronic or neuropathic pain
  • Epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • Tremors related to Parkinson’s disease
  • Nausea
  • Glaucoma
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Agitation in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression 

THC and Hepatitis Treatment

Hepatitis Treatment Non-Adherence 

A significant challenge in the management of hepatitis is the issue of non-adherence to prescribed treatments. Hepatitis requires long-term medication regimens and lifestyle modifications, which can be difficult for some patients to maintain over time.

One of the primary drivers of non-adherence among hepatitis patients is the side effects associated with conventional therapies. Medications used to treat viral hepatitis, such as interferon-based therapies or direct-acting antivirals, can cause side effects like fatigue, flu-like symptoms, depression, and gastrointestinal distress. It can significantly affect a patient’s quality of life and lead them to discontinue or skip treatments.

Studies

Increase Adherence to Treatment

In a study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology in November 2006, researchers investigated the impact of weed use on treatment outcomes for Hepatitis C (HCV) patients. The study followed 71 recovering substance users who were undergoing standard HCV treatment, with 22 (31%) of them using cannabis and 49 (69%) not using cannabis.

The results of the study were quite interesting:

CriteriaCannabis UsersNon-Cannabis Users
Discontinue of Treatment5% (1 participant)33% (16 participants)
End-of-treatment Response (HVC levels undetectable)64%47%
Sustained virological response (HCV levels undetectable even after treatment)54%18%
Adherence to Treatment86%59%

Reduce Nausea, Vomiting, and Weight Loss

The study subjects are all patients who began interferon-ribavirin therapy at The Ottawa Hospital Viral Hepatitis Clinic between August 2003 and January 2007.

Of 191 patients, 25 (13%) initiated oral cannabinoid (OC) medication use. The characteristics of OC recipients were similar to non-recipients, except for a history of marijuana smoking. The most common reasons for starting OC were anorexia (72%) and nausea (32%). 

Result:

  • 64% reported subjective symptom improvement.
  • The median weight loss before cannabis initiation was 4.5 kg. One month after OC initiation, weight loss stabilized (median additional loss of 0.5 kg). 
  • Interferon dose reductions did not differ between OC recipients (8%) and non-recipients (5%). 
  • A higher proportion of OC recipients completed the full course of HCV therapy and achieved a sustained virological response.

How THC Helps Hepatitis Patients

  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: Hepatitis often causes severe liver inflammation, which damages tissue and impairs function. Preclinical studies suggest that THC may reduce inflammation by binding to the endocannabinoid system and other receptors.
  • Appetite Stimulation: Loss of appetite is common for hepatitis patients, which contributes to malnutrition and weakness. THC can help hepatitis patients regain their appetite and maintain a healthier nutritional intake by activating the CB1 receptor. Current evidence suggests that regular cannabis use can promote weight gain. 
  • Nausea and Vomiting Control: Hepatitis patients, especially those undergoing interferon therapy, experience severe nausea and vomiting. THC has proven antiemetic (anti-nausea and vomiting) properties by binding to CB1 receptors in the dorsal vagal complex. It reduces the release of serotonin at the synapse of 5-HT3 receptors, thereby preventing vomiting.

Weed Strains for Hepatitis Patients

FlowersJealousyGolden HazeJack Herer (Popcorn)
FlavoursDiesel, EarthyLemon, MangoPine, Spice
Strain TypesHybrid (Balanced)HybridSativa
ContentTHC: 24CBD: 0.2THC: 25CBD: 0.2THC: 21CBD: 0.28
EffectsEuphoric HungryFocused HappySleepyHungryCreativeUpliftedFocused

Conclusion

Patients struggle to adhere to their hepatitis treatment regimens due to the side effects they encounter. THC may benefit these patients by alleviating nausea, vomiting, inflammation (pain), and weight loss. Studies have shown that cannabis can improve patient’s quality of life by helping them maintain their treatment regimen until they recover.

Frequently Asked Questions

What products are suitable for hepatitis patients?

Any THC-containing products can benefit hepatitis patients. Options include flower, edibles, capsules, and concentrates, with concentrates having the highest THC content. If you’re familiar with cannabis, you can buy concentrates. If not, choose edibles or flowers.

What dosages best alleviate inflammation, nausea, and vomiting?

The dosage of cannabis varies from person to person. Start with an amount you feel comfortable with. If you’re new to it, begin with low doses and increase as you become familiar with its effects.

How long do I have to use cannabis?

If you’re considering using cannabis alongside hepatitis treatment, you can incorporate it throughout your treatment regimen. You may choose to continue using it post-treatment, but be cautious, as prolonged use could lead to an increase in THC tolerance.