Marijuana use is associated with decreased incidence of liver cirrhosis in those with the Hepatitis C Virus, according to a new study published by the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
For the study researchers “analyzed hospital discharge records of adults (age ≥ 18 years) with a positive HCV diagnosis”, evaluating “records from 2007 to 2014 of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS)” while excluding “records with other causes of chronic liver diseases (alcohol, hemochromatosis, NAFLD, PBC, HBV, etc.).”
Of the 188,333 records, researchers “matched cannabis users to nonusers on 1:1 ratio, using a propensity-based matching system, with a stringent algorithm.” They then “used conditional regression models with generalized estimating equations to measure the adjusted prevalence rate ratio (aPRR) for having liver cirrhosis (and its complications), carcinoma, mortality, discharge disposition, and the adjusted mean ratio (aMR) of total hospital cost and length of stay (LOS) [SAS 9.4].”
The study “revealed that cannabis users (CUs) had decreased prevalence of liver cirrhosis, unfavorable discharge disposition, and lower total health care cost ($39,642[36,220-43,387] versus $45,566[$42,244-$49,150]), compared to noncannabis users (NCUs).
Researchers conclude by stating that “Our findings suggest that cannabis use is associated with decreased incidence of liver cirrhosis, but no change in mortality nor LOS among HCV patients. These novel observations warrant further molecular mechanistic studies.”