Studies show cannabis can reduce liver damage caused by alcohol

Cannabis is most often used within a medical setting to provide pain relief for chronic conditions like cancer and ease the symptoms of severe forms of epilepsy. However, new research is constantly uncovering more uses for medicinal cannabis in a huge variety of settings.

A recent study has shown that compounds found in cannabis may be able to reduce the amount of liver damage caused by excessive alcohol consumption. The study, which was published in December 2022, showed that cannabinoids reduced levels of toxicity in the liver caused by ethanol. The study even suggests that cannabinoids could potentially become part of a treatment plan for impaired liver function or hepatotoxicity.

The study involved investigating the effects of cannabinoids on ethanol-induced liver toxicity in rats. The researchers divided the rats into seven groups, with each group being treated with different combinations of ethanol and cannabinoids.

The study found that those groups of rats who were given higher doses of cannabinoids displayed less inflammation when compared with those rats who were given only ethanol and no cannabinoids. Rats treated with cannabinoids showed a ‘remarkable decrease’ in the levels of COX-2, CD-14, and MIP-2 inflammation markers.

Past studies into cannabis and liver health

This isn’t the first study to suggest that cannabis is capable of mitigating some of the negative effects of alcohol on the liver and other vital organs. Many studies from the past few years have shown that CBD is an effective treatment for alcohol use disorder.

A study from 2019 showed that CBD could reduce drinking in people with alcohol use disorder and even reduce the symptoms of alcohol-related steatosis and fibrosis of the liver. Another study conducted by the University of Colorado looked at the relationship between cannabis use and alcohol intake in participants enrolled in an alcohol treatment programme and found that, on the days that participants consumed cannabis, their alcohol intake was much lower than on those days that they had no cannabis.

All of these studies suggest that medicinal cannabis could be hugely useful for patients overcoming alcohol addictions or managing long-term liver damage as a result of alcohol consumption. While attempts to create effective treatments based on cannabinoids are in their early stages, these promising studies indicate just how widespread medicinal cannabis could be within the next ten years.