Hepatitis C is a viral disease of the liver that affects an estimated four million Americans. Symptoms associated with chronic Hepatitis C typically include fatigue, depression, joint pain and liver impairment, including liver cancer and cirrhosis.
Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver. It results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. Hepatitis C can be either acute or chronic.
Acute Hepatitis C virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the Hepatitis C virus. For most people, the acute infection leads to chronic infection.
Chronic Hepatitis C virus infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the Hepatitis C virus remains in a person’s body. Hepatitis C virus infection can last a lifetime and lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.
How Cannabis Can Help Relieve Symptoms
Patients diagnosed with Hepatitis C frequently report using cannabis to treat both symptoms of the disease as well as the nausea associated with antiviral therapy. An observational study by investigators at the University of California at San Francisco found that Hepatitis C patients who used cannabis were significantly more likely to adhere to their treatment regimen than patients who didn’t use it.
Preclinical data indicates that the endocannabinoid system may moderate aspects of chronic liver diseases and that cannabinoids may reduce inflammation in experimental models of hepatitis.