Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. It most commonly occurs due to a viral infection, although it can be due to non-viral causes, the most common of these is due to the effects of alcohol. Viral hepatitis is transmitted through blood-to-blood or sexual contact. These include Hepatitis B, C and others. Hepatitis A is a viral infection that can be transmitted orally through contaminated food, and is usually self-limiting. The liver is an organ that is active in metabolism of alcohol and drugs. Long, repeated use of these substances can cause liver trauma and lead to hepatitis. As the liver becomes less functional, the nutrients that it helps to metabolize become less available and low blood sugar and fatigue result. Hepatitis causes non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, malaise, anorexia and nausea. Liver/abdominal pain may also occur. As the disease progresses the liver fails to do its job of detoxifying the body’s metabolic products and symptoms of toxicity, such as brain encephalopathy may occur.
Standard medical treatments:
Interferon – promotes anti-viral response
Avoidance of liver metabolizing substances such as alcohol
Treatment of secondary medical conditions such as encephalopathy
Supportive and alternative treatments:
Nutritional – limit protein and fat
Raw food detoxification with morning “liver flush”
Vitamin C – immune booster and helps prevent spread of virus
Zinc – deficiency occurs in hepatitis
Liver cellular extract
Glutathione infusions – strong antioxidant
Milk Thistle – supports liver tissue and relieves nausea
Greater Celandine – liver support
Licorice – minimizes spread of hepatitis B
Minor Bupleurum – slows Hepatitis C and relieves nausea
Castor oil packs
Hepatitis and Cannabis
Research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco medical school and the
Organization to Achieve Solutions in Substance-Abuse (OASIS) conclude that: “Modest
cannabis use may offer symptomatic and virological benefit to some patients undergoing
HCV treatment by helping them maintain adherence to the challenging medication
regimen.” Hepatits C patients who used cannabis in combination with their conventional medical treatment were three times more likely to have an undetectable viral level six months after the end of treatment. Some patients use cannabis to counter the effects of stringent anti-viral treatments, such as nausea or lack of appetite.
The endocannabinoid system may moderate aspects of chronic liver disease and cannabinoids may reduce inflammation in experimental models of Hepatitis. Cannabinoids have been found experimentally to be helpful especially in the case of auto-immune Hepatitis. Other clinical reviews have reported a positive association between daily cannabis use and the progression of liver fibrosis (excessive tissue build up) and steatosis (excessive fat build up) in select hepatitis C patients. Therefore, patients who use cannabis as a replacement for other drugs (which in themselves would put stress on the functioning of the liver) should be monitored for these effects (fibrosis or steatosis), and be moderate in their use of cannabis.