Hepatitis C and Medicinal Marijuana

According to the Mayo Clinic, Hepatitis C (HCV), or Hep C, is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation and can lead to severe liver damage. Because the liver regulates chemicals in the blood, an infected liver can spread the Hep C virus further through the blood.

Visiting Ozark MMJ Cards, you may be asking how marijuana and hepatitis C may interact and if there is potential treatment there.

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How Common Is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is shockingly common. About half of the people who have it do not know they do. Baby Boomers (born between 1945 and 1965), in particular, are at risk for HCV. As such, it is advised that adults 18 to 79 years old get HCV screenings.

HCV is caused by exposure to the HCV virus through contamination. There are several forms of HCV, known as genotypes, around the world. Common risk factors include exposure to individuals with HCV or exposure to needles and fluids from such individuals.

What are the symptoms of Hep C, and how can marijuana help reduce them?

Hepatitis C Symptoms

Hepatitis C carries several symptoms that can affect the quality of life of the infected. The scary part about HCV is that it seemingly lies dormant for a time until it does enough damage to the liver that the infected finally notice. Long-term HCV infection is considered chronic, while an initial infection with HCV is considered acute.

Signs and symptoms of HCV include:

  • Belly pain
  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swollen legs
  • Hives, rashes, and itchy skin
  • Jaundiced skin
  • Easy bleeding and bruising
  • hepatic encephalopathy (slurred speech, confusion, drowsiness)
  • Fluid buildup in the belly

There are other associated symptoms with HCV, both in acute and chronic stages. Unchecked HCV can lead to serious complications such as liver scarring, liver cancer, and liver failure. What can medical marijuana do for Hepatitis C, however?

How Can Medical Marijuana Help?

When it comes to marijuana and HCV, there is plenty of evidence to suggest there are benefits to managing the side effects of HCV and HCV medications. While marijuana does not treat the infection, it can relieve specific side effects of the disease or traditional medicinal treatment. One article, for example, suggests that cannabis use may reduce risk factors of cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver. Another study in the early stages showed that cannabis could reduce liver damage in mice.

A common way cannabis may aid in treating symptoms of HCV is that cannabis has been known to reduce nausea, whether the nausea is a symptom of HCV or medications taken to treat HCV. The two cannabinoids found in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), bind with cannabinoid receptors present in the liver and create an anti-inflammatory effect.

How Ozark MMJ Cards Can Help

In the state of Arkansas, there are 18 qualifying conditions for medicinal marijuana. Hepatitis C is one of those 18 qualifying conditions. If you seek to introduce medicinal marijuana into your treatment of chronic HCV or reduce the side effects of HCV medication, Ozark MMJ Cards is here to help.

Contact us to begin your certification for medicinal marijuana today.

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