The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Cannabis use in hepatitis C

    Cannabis use should be discouraged in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC), according to researchers in France.

    First, the details.

    • 315 patients with untreated CHC and having a liver biopsy were studied.
    • Detailed histories of recent marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco use were recorded.
    • The biopsies were examined using METAVIR — a scoring system that gives an indication of the activity or amount of inflammation and amount of fibrosis or scarring in the liver.

    And, the results.
    There were 6 predictors of marked steatosis (accumulation of fat in the liver).

    • Daily cannabis users compared to occasional users and nonusers
    • Viral activity grade of the disease (greater or equal to A2)
    • Genotype 3 (one of the genetic variations and stains of hepatitis C)
    • Body mass index (BMI) greater than 27 kg/m2
    • High blood sugar levels or diabetes
    • HCV RNA load in the blood (associated with a worse outcome of disease) or alcohol intake (greater than 30 g/day)

    The bottom line?
    Steatosis is important because a build up of fat in the liver worsens liver damage and makes CHC harder to treat.

    The authors concluded that daily cannabis smoking is a “predictor of steatosis severity during CHC.” And they recommend that “cannabis use should be discouraged in patients with CHC.”

    Among the 6 predictors of steatosis reported in this study, marijuana use is a comparatively easy risk factor to modify and thereby reduce the severity of this disease.

    7/6/08 11:05 JR

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