Currently ravaging the population, the Hepatitis C virus, or HCV, causes rampant and severe liver damage. This then causes extreme discomfort and a horde of serious and debilitating problems for sufferers. Even worse, treating it involves unendurable drugs, with side effects so awful most cannot survive them. As a result, many develop even more complications. Treatments get even more difficult.
What is Hepatitis C?
HCV is a liver-destroying viral infection. It attacks liver cells, gaining entry via infected blood. The virus spreads mainly among needle sharers, but cases also come from blood transfusions, tattoo needles, and even the birth process. Infected mothers spread it to newborns. Although HCV spreads through sexual contact, such transmission is actually rare. For victims, marijuana delivery now seems the only hope.
Once contracted, the symptoms of HCV can take years, even decades, to manifest. When they do appear, the result is comprehensive medical tests, severe issues with your liver, and a conclusive diagnosis. According to NORML, or the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, marijuana is effective at relieving most symptoms of this virus. Studies support this claim.
An archive of evidence already exists to prove cannabis capable of helping patients manage the side effects of prescribed antiviral drugs better too, which includes appetite issues, severe pain, nausea, and more. Weed therapy is popular already in California, but for HCV patients, it is lifesaving. Until recently, federal laws limited research. Now, however, scientists are keeping vigorously busy.
Effects of Cannabis – What the Studies Say
By itself, marijuana does not treat a Hepatitis C infection. It is not a treatment for associated cirrhosis and liver disease either. What cannabis does is it relieves the side effects of the drugs used to treat it, making treatment easier for patients to endure. It helps them to manage the pain caused by the disease, as well as its many other horrible symptoms.
It makes no difference how you consume cannabis, whether you inhale, ingest, or absorb it. Results are the same. Extremely promising. A few studies now credit marijuana for helping patients get through their treatment safely. This data proves cannabis capable of making antiviral drugs tolerable. As a result, patients are able to complete their treatment and enjoy improved quality of life.
However, results are mixed. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, HCV typically infects those who already have a prevalent history of cannabis use. Further, this particularly study suggests that adding cannabis to an overall treatment strategy for HCV is not necessarily the reason folks stick to it better than those who do not use cannabis during treatment.
What is more, the study showed cannabis having no effect on the end goal of using antivirals or on liver biopsies. However, it found no dangerous effect either, showing no evidence whatsoever of any more liver damage occurring. This in direct contrast to results of the previous study. Despite this, many other studies exist, hundreds, showing the many benefits of cannabis on treating these particular symptoms.
Using Marijuana in Conjunction with Hepatitis C Medication
Marijuana remains illegal in some states. Although hemp is now legal federally, marijuana is still illegal. While this still dampens research somewhat, scientists are making huge strides in not only the discovery of new properties in new compounds, but also in finding new therapeutic pathways for them. The goal is to improve existing treatments, making them shorter, more bearable, and with higher efficacy.
In the case of HCV, the first line of defense is always antiviral. There is no way of skirting around this. Conventional treatment involves taking courses of drugs 72 weeks long. Antivirals cause flu-like symptoms. They also cause anemia, or neutropenia. New drug combinations for antivirals could shorten this treatment to 12 weeks, in the process reducing the worst of their horrible side effects.
HCV-associated nausea is the most intense and most common side effect of antivirals. This is why doctors typically prescribe antiemetic drugs too, to help control nausea. For those too sick for pills, such drugs, including Zofran, Phenergan, Compazine, Trilafon, and others, come available as suppositories too. However, marijuana is famously antiemetic. Further, for those feeling queasy, it is even smokable.
Cannabis therapy is not the only way that Hepatitis C patients can manage nausea. Some foods might trigger such a response, in which case eliminating them from your diet would prove helpful. One of the biggest and most effective ways of controlling nausea is to eat small amounts often. This is easier to keep down than eating too much in one sitting.
Risks of Cannabis for Hepatitis C
As with pharmaceuticals and most other substances, there are some risks with cannabis. For example, cannabinoids can affect medication efficacy, which is why your doctor should adjust doses before starting cannabis treatment. Efficacy is vital. Failure to consider contraindications could potential increase bleeding, make you dizzy, influence blood sugar, and even lower blood pressure.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a 2013 study investigating the effect of cannabis on the livers of HCV patients gathered over 700 participants averaging between them seven joints every day. It found no link whatsoever between liver fibrosis and cannabis use. None. In fact, no amount of weed has any notable effect, not even increasing usage to 10 joints a day.
Then, a study published in 2006 by the U.S. National Library of Medicine supported earlier findings that cannabis helps HCV sufferers comply more easily with treatment protocols. It showed them completing their treatment courses easier. Further, the research team noted, “any potential benefits of a higher likelihood of treatment success appear to outweigh any possible risks.” Study continues unabated.
If you suffer the debilitating effects of HCV, then remember to talk to your doctor before starting cannabis treatment. You can search Google for “weed delivery near me” to find products most helpful to you, but note that some methods of consumption take longer to work than others do. For example, inhaling cannabis will provide the fastest relief. Eating it might take a few hours yet.