Heavy Cannabis Users Who Drink are Much Less Likely to Suffer Liver Diseases
You may have seen headlines recently about a new study that boldly claims that any alcohol consumption whatsoever is detrimental to your health. The report, ominously titled The Global Burden of Diseases, took data from between the years 1990 and 2016 spanning 195 countries and ultimately concluded: “Our results show that the safest level of drinking is none.”
Well, probably the safest level of bacon cheeseburgers is “none” as well but c’mon buds, we gotta live a little, right?
Well, as usual, along comes cannabis to solve yet another health concern.
Another study, released just last month in a peer-reviewed journal called Liver International (you should see the centerfold!), touts cannabis use as a potential offset for the many dangers of sustained alcohol consumption.
They begin with some background, establishing that “abusive alcohol use has well‐established health risks including causing liver disease (ALD) characterized by alcoholic steatosis (AS), steatohepatitis (AH), fibrosis, cirrhosis (AC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).”
They acknowledge that cannabis use is on the rise globally due to a sweeping legalization movement and they recognize that cannabis is already known in the medical community to have anti-inflammatory properties.
But the aim of the study was to determine what effects cannabis use can have on the incidence of liver disease in individuals who abuse alcohol.
With major moves being made into the cannabis industry by some of the largest alcohol distributors in the world, the buzz is all about cannabis-infused beer.
But in January of this year, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control declared that such infusions are, and will continue to be, unlawful in the state forcing everyone to fall back to the old-fashioned infusion – chasing bongloads with swigs of beer.
But seriously, it’s not a bad idea.
The conclusion of a study just published in Liver International reads: “Our findings suggest that cannabis use is associated with a reduced incidence of liver disease in alcoholics.”
By analyzing the discharge paperwork of 320,000 anonymous patients who had demonstrated a past or current record of alcohol abuse, researchers determined that heavy drinkers who don’t use weed have a 90% chance of contracting liver disease, whereas for those who do take occasional tokes the risk drops to 8%...
But wait for it…
For heavy cannabis users who also drink a lot, the risk of alcohol-related liver disease drops to just 1.36%!!
Similar, smaller-scale, studies have backed up these findings. Critics can fairly argue that the data is flawed as the cannabis in the equation is not a controlled variable – some of the patients studied surely smoked mids, while others were only down for top shelf, while others still may have relied only on CBD, or edibles, or…or…or…
But to us, that just speaks to the strength of cannabis in general. The anti-inflammatory properties may vary slightly between Blue Dream and Extreme Cream, but both still provide a healing benefit and studies like these further prove that point.
The researchers behind the study are hesitant to shout these results from the rooftops, claiming that they still do not fully understand the biological processes that are causing such variance in risk aversion.
But, they also claim to not yet know the side effects of cannabis use, so here’s where we can put on our lab coats and help them out.
Side effects of cannabis use may include: Happiness, thoughtfulness, a heightened sense of humor and overall euphoria, a stronger appetite for food and knowledge, a great night’s sleep.
This study is a big deal. Not only does it show a distinct correlation between “heavy” cannabis use and lower risk of alcohol-related disease, it takes it a step further.
The data showed that even though the average cannabis user has a worse diet than a non-user – munchies etc. - cannabis users are less likely to be obese. This isn’t just a vanity thing either, it highlights a link between weed use and the potential for lower fasting-insulin levels, which could also protect the liver from non-alcoholic and dietary liver diseases.
Hey buds, you only live once.
We say eat well and drink well but then you owe it to yourself to smoke well too!