moms who drink

Weed May Protect Your Liver From Hard Drinking

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A couple of very interesting studies suggest that cannabis has protective benefits for your liver. Which is pretty good news for cannabis users who drink. While the studies themselves aren’t conclusive, they certainly present some fascinating research about cannabis and alcohol consumption. And once again, they show that cannabis is far more helpful than harmful.

While some states like California have laws on the books against infusing intoxicating beverages with cannabis, plenty of people consume both at the same time. And as it turns out, cannabis has protective benefits for the livers of drinkers who smoke weed.

The first study and largest study, published in February of this year, found cannabis users who drink had significantly lower odds of developing liver diseases. These diseases include hepatitis, cirrhosis, steatosis, and a type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma. Researchers at the National Institute of Scientific Research at the University of Quebec studied the medical records of more than 320,000 patients who reported current or past heavy alcohol use. Terence Bukong, a hepatologist and the study’s lead investigator, told Tonic, “We found that if people are using cannabis in the dependent manner, they actually are much more protected from alcoholic liver disease.”

Patients who abused alcohol but didn’t use cannabis had a roughly 90% chance of developing liver disease. For heavy drinkers who used cannabis lightly, the odds fell to about 8%. For regular or dependent cannabis users who drank a lot, the chances of developing liver disease were even lower, 1.36%.

The second study, published in October, came up with roughly the same data. Researchers studied 8,200 patient records. They found that the lowest prevalence of non-alcoholic liver disease was found in people who were moderate cannabis users.

So what could account for this correlation?

Researchers think it could be because of the link between cannabis use and lower fasting insulin levels. It could also account for why so many regular cannabis users are at a healthy weight, despite their often poorer diets. Lower fasting insulin levels protect the liver from fatty liver diseases. Liver disease is often associated with higher insulin resistance; too much fat accumulates in the liver and leads to impaired glucose metabolism.

So cannabis has protective benefits for drinkers, but it can also protect your liver from from poor diet. Seems as good a reason as any to partake! Happy 4/20 folks, toke responsibly.

(Image: iStock / jacoblund)