HCV, or the Hepatitis C Virus, is extremely widespread. It causes severe and chronic liver issues. For more and more people visiting cannabis dispensaries in Santa Monica, weed is helping to manage the symptoms of the virus and the side effects of treating it. So bad are prescribed drugs that many patients cannot endure them, causing major complications and problems in achieving successful therapy.
Understanding Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a dangerous viral infection. The Hepatitis C virus specifically attacks the liver, finding its way there via infected blood. Transmission occurs commonly from sharing drug needles, but it also spreads via tattoo needles, blood transfusions, and even birth. Here an infected mother might pass it to their baby. It is possible to contract HCV through sexual contact, but this is notably rare.
Once infected, it could take months, years, possibly decades for symptoms to appear. When they do, they typically lead to extensive medical testing and a firm diagnosis coupled with severe liver complications. According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, a group reforming marijuana laws, cannabis effectively eases most symptoms associated with the virus.
Furthermore, much evidence exists already to show marijuana relieving all the side effects of prescribed treatments. Cannabis therapy is already popular, as evidenced by the queue outside any Santa Monica dispensary. However, despite this, research has had limitations not long ago, still do federally, and scientific studies have been slow to emerge.
Effect of Marijuana on Hepatitis C
On its own, cannabis does not treat an infection of Hepatitis C. It does not treat the associated complications that cause cirrhosis and liver disease either. Instead, marijuana is especially effective at treating the side effects that come with medications prescribed to treat it.
Regardless of whether you smoke, eat, drink, absorb, or vaporize your weed, it can help you survive the infection better. Quite a few studies credit cannabis with helping patients complete their treatment protocols. They show cannabis relieving the side effects of antiviral drugs and making the body tolerable of them. It helps people finish their course and experience improved outcomes.
However, research has mixed results. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there is an existing prevalence of marijuana use already in patients typically infected with HCV. This study also indicated that including cannabis in an overall treatment plan does not necessarily help folks adhere to it better than their non-using counterparts.
The study also showed marijuana having no influence on liver biopsies or on the end goal of antiviral treatment. However, it did not show it having any harmful effect either, finding no evidence that cannabis does any further damage to the liver, contrary to what prior study suggested. Despite this, much evidence already exists in hundreds of studies showing the benefit of cannabis on its symptoms.
Combining Cannabis with Medication
Cannabis is still illegal in some states. It is certainly illegal at the federal level. This still hampers research, but advances in the field are occurring daily, not only in discovery, but also in finding new therapeutic possibilities, improving existing medications, and making treatments shorter and more bearable. This is where marijuana plays an important role, heightening efficacy and making treatment easier.
When it comes to the Hepatitis C virus, antivirals are your first line of defense. There really is no other way around it. Traditional therapy involves completing drug courses as long as 72 weeks. The drugs themselves cause flu-like symptoms, as well as neutropenia, or anemia. New antiviral drug combinations might shorten the treatment course to 12 weeks, lessening the worst of the side effects in the process.
Nausea is the most common and intense side effect associated with antiviral medications. Doctors usually prescribe antiemetic, or anti-nausea, drugs, such as Phenergan, Zofran, Compazine, Torecan, and Trilafon, all of which are also available as suppositories for those too nauseous for pills. However, cannabis is a famous antiemetic, and for nauseous patients, it is smokable.
Additionally, there are other ways to manage your nausea too, in conjunction with cannabis therapy. Many people keep a food journal to help them track which foods might trigger nausea and ensure they maintain a healthy diet. It also becomes easier to keep food down when you eat small amounts of it more often, instead of too much at once.
Cannabis Risk for Hepatitis C
As with the vast majority of pharmaceutical drugs, cannabis comes with some risks. Cannabinoids affect the efficacy of some medications, making it crucial to discuss cannabis therapy with your doctor and adjust doses accordingly. When treating vicious viral infections like Hepatitis C, efficacy is especially paramount. It might also cause dizziness, increase bleeding, influence blood sugar, and lower blood pressure if used irresponsibly in combination with traditional medicines.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a study conducted in 2013 investigated if cannabis use might worsen liver symptoms in patients diagnosed with HCV. It analyzed nearly 700 participants who averaged seven joints a day between them. Results found no link at all between marijuana use and liver fibrosis. In fact, even adding another 10 joints a week increased cirrhosis risk only barely.
Then, another study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine back in 2006 supported the claim that HCV patients adhere more strictly to treatment protocols when using cannabis. They just finish their treatment course more easily. In concluding, the research team found any “potential benefits of a higher likelihood of treatment success appear to outweigh any possible risks.” More study is underway.
Cannabis Dispensaries in Santa Monica
The symptoms of Hepatitis C certainly qualify you for medical cannabis in California. Just chat with your doctor before making such a decision. Studies are scarce when it comes to using cannabis to treat HCV and its treatment side effects specifically, but the information that does exist proves it incredibly useful in some, if not all, cases. Plan treatment with your doctor before you visit Cannabis dispensaries Santa Monica.