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Medical Marijuana and Viral Hepatitis

Medical Marijuana and Viral Hepatitis Research 

Individuals with viral hepatitis may develop depression and feel generally unwell. In many instances, patients who imbibe will continue to use alcohol. It is very important that individuals with hepatitis or liver disease of any sort do not ingest alcohol at all. Pre-clinical trials have shown that medical marijuana can alleviate addiction. Therefore, it can be a useful tool in treating alcohol users with hepatitis. It may also prevent depression in sufferers undergoing treatment for viral hepatitis. 

An established benefit of medical marijuana use over other medications is its level of toxicity. Some medications can further harm an already damaged liver. Marijuana research and anecdotal evidence going back thousands of years shows that marijuana has no lethal dosage. It cannot harm the body in the same way other medications can in users with viral hepatitis. In this way, it is the ideal medication for aiding in treatment and treating the symptoms of chronic pain and chronic illness associated with some forms of hepatitis. 

There is some research indicating that medical marijuana can relieve inflammation in Chron's disease and skin conditions. Research regarding medical marijuana, inflammation and hepatitis is sorely lacking. However, the potential is clearly there, which indicates the need for further research. If it can reduce liver inflammation as well as assist in treatment, it can be a very powerful drug in the fight against viral hepatitis. 

Medical Marijuana to Alleviate Hepatitis Treatment Side Effects 

As with chemotherapy, antiviral therapy is extremely difficult for the recipient. According to doctors, many patients with viral hepatitis discontinue treatment because it is painful and nauseating. Furthermore, it takes months to complete the treatment. Also as with chemotherapy, medical marijuana can help relieve the pain and nausea associated with antiviral therapy. This not only makes patients' lives more comfortable during treatment but it also makes patients more likely to finish treatment. This can save the lives of individuals who do not tolerate the treatment well enough to continue it without medical marijuana. 

A study conducted by Dr. Diana L. Sylvestre of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco showed that patients on cannabis were significantly more likely to stick with treatment for more than 80% of the time needed to complete it. Ninety-five percent of those on cannabis stuck with it compared to only 67 percent of those who did not take medical marijuana with their treatment. Furthermore, 36 percent more of the patients on medical marijuana were virus-free six months after treatment than those who did not take medical marijuana. This study shows that medical marijuana is likely as viable for antiviral treatment as it is for chemotherapy. It also showed just how much of a problem adherence to treatment is, given that one-fourth of the study participants dropped out of treatment. Only one of them was a medical marijuana patient.

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