Approximately 250,000 people have to deal with an acute or chronic disease of the liver, whether or not caused by alcohol abuse and an unhealthy lifestyle. However, research shows that cannabis not only relieves pain and inflammation, but also helps restore liver function.
The liver is one of our most important organs. Among other things, he plays a crucial role in absorbing food and keeping our bodies clean. Thus, a healthy liver is vital, and its functions include:
- Detoxifying the body
- Process (convert, store or [re]use) nutrients
- Enabling blood clotting in the event of injury
- Making bile for better absorption of dietary fats
- And much more
Causes of liver disease
There are several reasons why a liver gets sick. Age-related factors often play a role, as do autoimmune diseases or heredity. Lifestyle can also play a role, and excessive alcohol and drug use can damage the liver.
However, one of the most amazing abilities of the liver is that it can heal itself. A healthy liver regenerates cells, even if it is damaged. If liver damage or disease is too severe or persists for too long, the liver loses this ability. In such a case, it creates scar tissue, causing the liver function to deteriorate sharply.
The first phase of these scars is called ‘fibrosis’. The final stage is called ‘cirrhosis’. Cirrhosis can lead to a number of debilitating symptoms, such as severe fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, itching and even yellowing of the skin. However, research shows that weed can help. In fact, it could even treat both the cause and symptoms of the condition.
The role of the ECS
The ECS is a hugely important mechanism in the bodies of both humans and animals. It concerns an extensive network of receptors and all kinds of body’s own substances that communicate with them.
These receptors (CB1 and CB2) are located throughout the brain, body, all organs and central nervous system. Together they form a signaling system that promotes health and balance between all processes in the body.
The special thing about the active ingredients in cannabis is that they are very similar to the body’s own substances that communicate with the ECS. In fact, if a dysfunction occurs in the ECS, plant cannabis in marijuana (such as THC and CBD) can offer a solution.
This certainly also applies to the liver. This organ is full of cannabinoid receptors.
The science behind cannabis and the liver
In 2005, researchers from the Hebrew University Medical School discovered that the body’s own cannabis help modulate inflammatory responses and changes in blood vessels. The research shows that cannabis are crucial for neurological functioning. And that they are beneficial for people suffering from liver diseases such as cirrhosis and fibrosis. The study’s researchers concluded:
ECS appear to be involved in various aspects of acute and chronic liver disease, including vascular changes, modulation of inflammatory process and neurological function.
A 2011 study published in the journal Cell Death and Disease revealed that CBD (cannabidiol, one of the many cannabis in marijuana) plays an important role in treating liver disease. For 8 months, mice were given all kinds of concentrations of different cannabis.
Amazingly, the researchers found that CBD induced cell death in HSCs, or hepatic stellar cells. HCS are responsible for developing scar tissue in the liver. Thus, CBD killed the harmful cells that lead to the progression of this liver disease.
Admittedly, this study had no human subjects. Nevertheless, the results are telling, especially when we look at the study as a whole.
In another study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, scientists examined the effects of CBD on a neuropsychiatric disorder, caused by acute or chronic liver failure. During this study, mice were injected with saline or thioacetamide. Thioacetamide is a substance that induces liver fibrosis in mice. Then they were given CBD.
The researchers found that CBD alone restored neurological and cognitive functioning in these mice. In fact, CBD was able to restore normal liver function in mice with liver failure.
Medicine of the future
Now imagine if the same study had been conducted in humans. Then we would probably be much further along in our understanding of cannabis as a treatment for liver disease. Hopefully, there will soon be clinical trials of cannabis in liver disease. Chances are that this will lead to a natural medicine. The medicine of the future.
Also Read: What are psilocybin microdoses?