Marijuana Found Beneficial In The Treatment of Hepatitis C
From my experience with my husband who has Hepatitis C, marijuana was the only thing that got him through his treatments. My husband has been in remission for over 20 years now, so he is one of the success stories. Although marijuana did not cure the Hepatitis C itself, it did allow him to finish the treatment that did.
Treatment for Hepatitis C involves months of therapy with two powerful drugs, interferon and ribavirin, which have severe side effects, including extreme fatigue, nausea, muscle aches, loss of appetite and depression. My husband was treated with interferon and ribavirin for 12 months, and it literally almost killed him because of the horrendous side effects. Because of those side effects, many patients do not finish treatment and the virus ends up destroying their livers. My husband’s personal experience confirms marijuana is of a great benefit in surviving the treatment, however, there is also scientific data available that confirms that marijuana can greatly benefit those patients being treated for Hepatitis C.
A 2006 a study performed by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco found that marijuana helps to improve the effectiveness of drug therapy for Hepatitis C. Patients that smoked marijuana every day or two, like my husband who smoked every day, found that not only did they complete the therapy, but that the marijuana even made it more effective in achieving a "sustained virological response," meaning there was no sign of the virus left in their bodies. This is also my husband’s experience. More published scientific evidence is as follows:
Diana L. Sylvestre, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, et al. stated in the Oct. 2006 article "Cannabis Use Improves Retention and Virological Outcomes in Patients Treated for Hepatitis C," published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: "Our results suggest 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."
Dean Edell, MD, a physician and radio show host, stated in a Nov. 30, 2000 article "I'm Getting Treatment For Hepatitis C. Will Marijuana Help Me Or Harm Me?" in response to a letter from an individual with Hepatitis C using marijuana, posted on HealthCentral.com: "People...have used marijuana to fight nausea with no negative consequences and any anti-nausea drug that the doctor gives you will also be metabolized by the liver. I feel more secure with your liver trying to handle marijuana. Marinol, the FDA-approved pill form of marijuana has shown no toxicity to the liver. I would estimate marijuana to be as safe as anything else. Interferon and ribarvirin is a pretty hefty combination that can be curative in a significant percentage of cases. It's basically all we have for Hepatitis C. Interferon can make you pretty sick, but ribavirin is fairly easy on you. They are both antiviral drugs."
There is more scientific evidence out there that shows the benefits of marijuana for those being treated for Hepatitis C, but due to the volume of documentation, I am unable to include it all in this article. In conclusion, not only from a personal experience but from scientific research, marijuana has been found to be of a benefit to those being treated for Hepatitis C.