A new study shows that abusive alcohol users who also use cannabis are less likely to develop liver disease
A group of researchers set out to “determine the effects of cannabis use on the incidence of liver disease in individuals who abuse alcohol.”
They wanted to see if the observed anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis also affect the development of liver disease. The study was led by Adeyinka Charles Adejumo of North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts. In addition, Adejumo works at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Research into Alcohol and Liver Disease
During their research, the team analyzed the discharge records from the 2014 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. This was a Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS). It focused on patients 18-years and older with a current or past history of alcohol abuse. This amounted to a sample size of over 319,000 patients who abused alcohol.
Firstly, the researchers divided the sample group into “cannabis exposure groups: non-cannabis-users (90.39%), non-dependent-cannabis-users (8.26%) and dependent cannabis users (1.36%).” Then, they studied four distinct phases of the liver disease. These included: alcoholic steatosis (AS), steatohepatitis (AH), cirrhosis (AC), and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or essentially liver cancer.
The study revealed that among alcohol users, individuals who additionally use cannabis showed significantly lower odds of developing AS, AH, AC and HCC. Furthermore, dependent users had significantly lower odds than non-dependent users for developing liver disease.
The Prevalence of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is the most destructive drug. It causes an estimated 88,000 deaths per year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is also responsible for about one-third of all traffic fatalities. Consequently, this leads to 10,000 deaths per year.
However, regardless of statistics, the alcohol industry is still thriving. In the U.S., alcohol consumption is on the rise. As a result, researchers now estimate that 1 in 8 Americans are alcoholics. So, researchers continue to reveal the severity of this problem. For example, International Business Times reports on one relevant study:
Two large surveys in 2001-02 and 2012-13 have found that harmful levels of drinking are increasing among almost all demographics in the US. The number of people who had consumed alcohol in the past 12 months went up 11.2% in the time between surveys.
In addition, high-risk drinking went up by almost 30%. This means that at the present time, about 29.6 million Americans are putting their health at risk due to their drinking habits.
Increases in alcohol use, high-risk drinking, and DSM-IV alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the US population and among subgroups, especially women, older adults, racial/ethnic minorities, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged, constitute a public health crisis. Taken together, these findings show increases in many chronic comorbidities in which alcohol use has a substantial role.
The research thus concludes that the existing rate of alcohol use signifies that more of the public will suffer from multiple chronic conditions in the future.
By Kayla Christyne – Puff Puff Post