Can Medical Marijuana Edibles Harm Your Liver

November 20, 2020

Medical Marijuana (MMJ) edibles are cannabis and cannabinoids which marijuana doctors suggest to their patients for the treatment of a number of different conditions including seizures, muscle spasms, multiple sclerosis, crohn’s disease, cancer, appetite loss, anorexia, glaucoma, epilepsy, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, cachexia, and more.

These are the edible products (food, drinkable or liquid edibles) containing a significant amount  of cannabinoids specifically tetrahydrocannabinoids or THC to induce a broad range of effects including euphoria, increased appetite, relaxation, and much more but marijuana doctors say that medical marijuana, also known as medical cannabis is not yet proven to achieve many of these situations, with a few exceptions.


Florida Marijuana doctors have claimed that the cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinols which are present in the medical marijuana edibles are proven to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and hepatoprotective effects in clinical studies. They appear to be very effective in the treatment and management of many liver conditions which were previously difficult to be treated conservatively. Evidences have shown that these cannabinoids and tetrahydrocannabinols have therapeutic potential in the treatment of various chronic liver diseases involving fatty degeneration and inflammatory changes thus promoting the liver health. This is why the cannabinoids have found a great favor in many clinical fields generating considerable clinical interest and research.


Although it is clear that these edibles are helpful for certain conditions but the medical marijuana edible consumers can be curious that how it can affect their liver health or if they should simply avoid consuming these edibles to protect their liver from serious harms. As the liver is the key organ involved in the process of digestion, detoxification, enzymes synthesis, and protein synthesis, Do these edibles overburden the liver even more? Although some studies have shown that the medical marijuana edibles can harm your liver and can pose serious risks for the liver health but when we talk about this issue, unfortunately there is very little data available about it so the researchers are unable to figure out that how these effects can be analyzed based on the different consumption methods including oral ingestion, smoking, and dabbing etc.


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Marijuana doctors say that the liver issues have been noticed in the people who take marijuana edibles on regular basis but they suggest that more studies should be focused on this specific issue to answer many questions about the liver health. Even those researches which have addressed these liver issues linked with marijuana edibles, most of them were focused on rodent studies instead of human subjects.


A chief medical marijuana doctor in Florida says that “there is no enough study available on this specific question so she is not aware if marijuana edibles are damaging for the liver cells (hepatotoxic)” but she says that the increased use of medical marijuana edibles may cause end-stage cirrhosis increasing the factors like steatosis, ascites, fibrosis, and others. There is a lot more controversy surrounding the marijuana edibles and cirrhosis but the marijuana doctors suggest that the patients should avoid consuming it much.


Despite the positive anti-viral effects of medical marijuana edibles, people with chronic hepatitis C should also be cautious. A study was conducted in 2008 which showed that the folks who consume medical marijuana edibles on daily basis have much higher prevalence of fatty liver related with chronic hepatitis C. Marijuana doctors say that it also causes the suppression of anti-viral immunity in hepatitis C patients along with the increased risks of steatosis. However, it all depends on what amount has been consumed.


The relationship between the liver health and the use of medical marijuana edibles is somewhat much complex and can be more depending on the condition of the liver. For most of the healthy people, marijuana edibles should not cause the complications of the liver but those who are suffering from severe liver complications, they must ensure that these edibles are helping instead of damaging the liver health.


Studies have found that these edibles can be damaging for the liver just like alcohol and other drugs. A research was conducted at a University for Medical Sciences which revealed that the high doses of cannabinoids given to the mouse led to the death of most of the subjects under study. The research was concluded that the mouse died because of the liver issues as the cannabinoids had caused hepatomegaly i.e. increase in the size of the liver as well as increased the concentration of liver enzymes like alkaline phosphatase, alanine transaminase, and aspartate transaminase. Within the duration of 24 hours, 75% of mice subjects had either died or were on the verge of death within a few days but it was noticed that the dose given to the mouse was incredibly higher than the amount ingested by the human consumers, in fact 100 times more than what Florida marijuana doctors suggest to their patients. These issues are worthy enough to be noted and should not be simply ignored.


Another risk factor which is related with the marijuana edibles and liver health is the drug interaction. If medical marijuana edibles are taken with certain medications, they can cause the edibles to become less or more influencing as the cannabinoids can interrelate with the drug metabolizing enzymes of the liver. Marijuana doctors say that certain medications like ketoconazole, fluconazole, voriconazole, fluvoxamine, itraconazole, fluoxetine, verapamil, and clarithromycin are more likely to have these interactions. These medications have a tendency to highly increase the concentration of cannabinoids in the blood thus influencing the positive efficacy of these edibles.


In short, anybody who is taking cannabinoids in higher doses and on regular basis might find themselves on the road to the severe liver conditions. This is why it is highly recommended to consult with the doctors before taking marijuana edibles in order to promote the liver health specially if some liver disease is already present.


We hope you enjoyed this read. For more information on medical marijuana and the next steps on securing your cannabis card from a marijuana clinic near you just visit our Lake Mary office or our newly renovated offices in Orlando, Winter Park, Longwood, Altamonte Springs and the Maitland area.