As the Marijuana industry continues to blow up across America, with over 30 states legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes and nine states (including Washington DC) legalizing it for recreational use – we are forced to question how dangerous cannabis is!
We know without question that alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances, yet it is legal across America. With statistics showing that approximately 88,000 deaths each year are attributed to this accessible drug, it is no wonder that cannabis advocates get so wound up by this topic!
Luckily, research is advancing at an incredible rate and there are some promising studies to show how cannabis can treat a variety of medical symptoms, including alcohol liver disease (otherwise known as ALD). In this article, we are going to look at ALD and how CBD can be a potential treatment for those currently suffering – so tune in, because the evidence just might surprise you!
What Is Alcohol Liver Disease (ALD)?
Alcohol Liver Disease comes as a result of excessive alcohol consumption, and it is more common than you might think! Statistics show, for example, that in 2009 alcohol-related liver disease was the primary cause of almost 1 in 3 liver transplants in the U.S.
Further, in 2015 there were around 78,529 cases of liver disease deaths, and out of these 78,529 individuals aged 12 or above, almost half (47%) of them involved alcohol.
As the years pass and alcohol becomes more readily available to the general public, these terrifying figures are only set to increase! So it begs the question of why alcohol is so widely accepted, while cannabis is still fighting an uphill battle to become recognized as more than just a psychoactive, high-inducing plant.
So we know just how common ALD is across America, but what actually is it? The process of ALD comes in four main phases, which are:
- Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AS)
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AH)
- Cirrhosis (AC)
- Liver Cancer (HCC)
When we consume alcohol, we are essentially drinking poison; our bodies are simply just not made to process such copious volumes of the chemical. So when we drink, our liver works overtime to filter out the alcohol. If you are drinking all day every day, then the healing process that the liver goes through is inevitably going to malfunction.
In essence, the liver cells become damaged beyond repair as a result of excessive alcohol consumption, and this then leads to inflammation and scar tissue of the liver as it attempts to heal itself and replace the dead cells.
Also, those who know about alcoholism will know that individuals build up a strong tolerance to alcohol (as they do with any addiction). This inevitably causes an increase in consumption, which piles the pressure on the body and speeds up the stages of ALD, with chronic inflammation of the liver usually leading to fatal cirrhosis (AC).
What Is CBD?
One of over 100 cannabinoids found within the marijuana plant, CBD is the non-psychoactive compound that has become so sought after in recent years for its incredible health benefits!
Not only will CBD not get you high, but it also has the ability to provide a powerful treatment for a list of some of the most debilitating health conditions. Across certain states of America, you can obtain medical marijuana for the following conditions:
- Chron’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
This list is by no means a reflection on the full extent of CBD, however. As more research is done into this incredible cannabinoid, we are finding even more situations where CBD may just be the best natural option for patients!
Does CBD for Alcohol Liver Disease Work?
The research that has gone into CBD for the treatment of ALD has been extensive, and extremely promising. It seems that there are many ways that CBD consumption can benefit the disease, both with the symptoms and also in terms of preventing it all together!
We know from years of research, for example, that CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory compound, and it is this property in particular that has provided such a powerful effect on ALD. A study was done in 2003 that showed how CBD could help reduce inflammation in a chronically damaged liver. The study (which was done on mice) revealed a significant reduction in inflammation when administered with the non-psychoactive compound.
Other than CBD’s incredible ability to reduce inflammation (which is one of the key attributes of ALD), however, it has also been shown to possess natural protective qualities which in some cases can completely prevent ALD from occurring! CBD is a well-known anti-oxidant, for instance, and a study published in 2014 revealed that it could prevent oxidative stress, which ultimately results in further liver damage as a result of excess alcohol consumption.
Perhaps one of the biggest studies done with regard to CBD for ALD was done in Salem, Massachusetts, and it was executed on a huge scale. 319,000 patients took part in the study, all of which had a past or current alcohol problem. The group was split into three groups, and the results showed as follows:
- Group 1: Non-Cannabis Users – Protection was still evident in this group
- Group 2: Non-dependent Cannabis Users – This group showed “significant lower odds” of developing all four stages of ALD, including Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AS), Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AH), Cirrhosis of the liver (AC), and even Liver Cancer (HCC)
- Group 3: Dependent Cannabis Users – This group of people (classed as alcohol dependent cannabis users) showed the lowest chances of all of developing liver disease!
The results from this study ultimately revealed that those most dependent on alcohol had the most significant protection from cannabis use. However, this is certainly not to say that people who abuse alcohol should also abuse cannabis. At the end of the day, the studies simply have provided a great eye-opener into the abilities of CBD and cannabis as a whole for treatment in this area!
While marijuana advocates the world over continue to fight the good fight to make cannabis legal across the board, there are still many states that hold incredibly tight laws. Unfortunately, this means that there are very few states that currently class ALD as a “qualifying” condition for medical marijuana use. As research plows on, though, we live in the hope that this will soon change!