The use of cannabis is not accelerated progression of liver disease in patients with chronic hepatitis C

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In a prospective study of 690 positive for HIV and for hepatitis C virus (HCV) people, cannabis use did not accelerate progression to liver fibrosis established. The researchers evaluated the association between the average number of cigarettes smoked marijuana per week and progression to established liver fibrosis, cirrhosis or end-stage liver disease. At baseline 53% had smoked cannabis in the last 6 months, consuming an average of 7 joints per week (range 1-21); 40% smoked daily.

They found no evidence of an association between cannabis and progression to liver fibrosis established in HIV / HCV coinfection. Smoked pot every 10 additional per week increased the risk of progression to a clinical diagnosis of cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease (hazard ratio: 1.13) slightly.

However, when the exposure occurred 6-12 months before diagnosis, cannabis was no longer associated with progression to clinical disease. This suggests “that reverse causality due to self-medication could explain the above results,” the authors say. Previous smaller studies had found an association between cannabis and progression of liver fibrosis in patients with hepatitis C.