Can cannabinoids treat hepatitis C virus? – Get Marihuana Store Brampton Canada

Herb Approach

The hepatitis C virus or HCV is a virus that attacks the cells of the liver and causes acute and chronic inflammation of this vital organ. About 15-45% of patients eliminate the virus spontaneously within half a year of the infection without any medication. The rest will develop a chronic infection with HCV and, after 20 years of infection, the risk of liver cirrhosis can be 15-30%.

In general, this disease affects more than 70 million people around the world. HCV is a virus transmitted by blood. The most common forms of infection can occur when sharing injection equipment with drug users, transfusion of blood and blood products not selected and inadequate sterilization of medical equipment.

The hepatitis C virus can also be transmitted from an infected mother to her baby, but it is less common. The virus is not transmitted, however, through breast milk, hugging, kissing or sharing beverages and food.

Are there treatments for the hepatitis C virus?

The World Health Organization recommends medications with direct-acting antivirals, such as the combination of sofosbuvir, daclatasvir and sofosbuvir / ledipasvir.

There are 6 genotypes of the hepatitis C virus and they react differently to the treatment. Currently, antiviral treatments can cure more than 95% of patients with hepatitis C infection, usually within 12 weeks, but access to diagnosis and medicine remains limited. Meanwhile, ribavirin and pegylated interferon continue to have a very restricted role in certain situationsone. Unfortunately, the most common side effects are nausea, anorexia, insomnia, fatigue, headache, depressive symptoms and weight loss.

Are there alternative treatments?

In 2008, it was the Department of Medicine at the University of Ottawa that stressed that the use of oral cannabinoid drugs could help HCV patients treated with interferon and ribavirin by allowing people to stabilize weight loss a month after the start . Anorexia and nausea were managed effectively, which could lead to decreased weight loss.

Cannabinoids work by activating two main receptors, the cannabinoid receptor CB1 and CB2. CB1 is widely distributed in the central and peripheral nervous system (the basal ganglia, the cerebellum, and the hippocampus). This location contributes to the observed benefit[1].

In 2006, a study conducted by the Department of Medicine at the University of California previously demonstrated that moderate cannabis use reduced treatment interruption of interferon / ribavirin combination therapy through improvements in the management of symptoms. In addition, cannabis increased the sustained virological response (SVR) in patients with HCV. Both marijuana and ribavirin are metabolized by the same family of proteins, the cytochrome P450 system. However, these were not evaluated.[2]

In 2014, a study conducted by the University of Sydney showed that lipid metabolism is closely related to the replication of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and that the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) mediates the state of equilibrium of the lipids in the liver. In patients with chronic hepatitis C virus, the CB1 receptor is overexpressed. Interestingly, in this preclinical study, the blockade of CB1 by an antagonist inhibited the replication of HCV, the viral protein, the infectivity of the virus and the production of new virus particles. In addition, this effect stimulated genes that promoted the oxidation of lipids and reduced the expression of pro-lipogenic genes. This may be due to the activation of AMPK and may represent a completely new class of drug with activity against HCV, but more clinical research is required[3].

In 2017, a new study by Dr. Lowe of the Maryland School of Medicine revealed that Cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of viral hepatitis has important properties that could be effective against the hepatitis C virus. The researchers combined CBD with HCV under laboratory conditions and were able to demonstrate that the CBD inhibited the reproduction of HCV in 86.4%. Sofosbuvir and interferon were used as positive controls (to compare the same effectiveness). CBD activates the CB2 receptor and induces apoptosis (a form of programmed cell death) in splenocytes and thymocytes that inhibit the proliferation of T cells and macrophages that are responsible for inducing the release of proinflammatory proteins or attacking liver cells.

"It is known that CB2 receptor activation modulates immune responses to viral infection and suppresses inflammation." In addition, one of the consequences of untreated viral hepatitis is hepatic fibrosis, which is the formation of scar tissue in reaction to a liver injury by the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSC). It has been shown that CBD induces apoptosis in activated HSC. Based on these results, CBD has potential as a combination therapy with antiviral drugs currently existing. However, more clinical studies are needed[4].

Contradictions between the different studies

Despite the positive results shown in previous studies, there are also studies that show the negative effects of cannabinoid use in the treatment of hepatitis C.

In fact, a 2008 study showed that daily cannabis use is a risk factor for the severity of steatosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C. CB1 receptors are widely distributed not only in the central and peripheral nervous system, but also in the organs that control energy balance, such as the liver. Steatosis is a process that describes the abnormal retention of fat in liver cells by activating CB1 receptors. In addition, viral replication in liver cells produces some undefined proteins that interact with these fats, worsening the condition. The results suggest that a high consumption of cannabis interrupts the conventional treatment against HCV[5].

In contrast, in 2014, researchers at the University of Ottawa demonstrated that the use of cannabis did not promote steatosis, inflammation or fibrosis in hepatitis C infection. It is not known why the results differ, but the amount of alcohol consumption and the body mass index may have contributed. The results also showed that sustained virological response rates did not increase in marijuana users[6]. This also contradicts the finding of previous studies. However, marijuana again seems to increase appetite and relieve side effects during treatment, particularly in patients with ribavirin and interferon.

In summary, due to these contradictions, the researchers request additional studies to try to determine the effectiveness of cannabinoid use for medication against the hepatitis C virus.

Did you like this post? Make an assessment. This post has been made based on existing research until the date of publication of the article. Due to the increase of studies around medical cannabis, the information exposed may vary over time and we will inform in subsequent writings.

[1] Costiniuk, C. T., Mills, E. & Cooper, C. L. Evaluation of oral cannabinoid-containing medications for the management of interferon and ribavirin-induced anorexia, nausea and weight loss in patients treated for chronic hepatitis C virus. Dog. J. Gastroenterol. 22, 376-380 (2008).

[2] Sylvestre, D.L., Clements, B.J., & Malibu, Y. (2006). Cannabis use improved retention and virological outcomes in patients treated for hepatitis C. European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 18 (10), 1057-1063.doi: 10.1097 / 01.meg.0000216934.22114

[3] Shahidi, M., Tay, E. S.E., Read, S.A., Ramezani-Moghadam, M., Chayama, K., George, J., & Douglas, M.W. (2014). Endocannabinoid CB1 antagonists inhibit hepatitis C virus production, providing a novel class of antiviral host-targeting agents. Journal of General Virology, 95 (Pt_11), 2468-2479. doi: 10.1099 / vir.0.067231-0

[4] Lowe HIC, Toyang NJ, McLaughlin W. Potential of cannabidiol for the treatment of viral hepatitis. Pharmacognosy Res (2017) 9: 116-8. doi: 10.4103 / 0974-8490.199780

[5] Hézode, C., Zafrani, E. S., Roudot-Thoraval, F., Costentin, C., Hessami, A., Bouvier-Alias, M., … Mallat, A. (2008). Daily Cannabis Use: A Novel Risk Factor of Steatosis Severity in Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C. Gastroenterology, 134 (2), 432-439.doi: 10.1053 / j.gastro.2007.11.039

[6] Liu T, Howell GT, Turner L, et al. Marijuana use in hepatitis C infection does not affect liver biopsy histology or treatment outcomes. Can J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014; 28: 381-384.


Can cannabinoids treat hepatitis C virus?


Can cannabinoids treat hepatitis C virus?


Is medicinal cannabis useful for treating hepatitis C virus? Several studies affirm the therapeutic potential of CBD for this condition while others do not recommend it.


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