Study Shows Cannabis Could Help Reduce Diabetes Risk in Hepatitis C Patients

Patients with Hepatitis C have an increased risk of developing diabetes. Can cannabis help prevent that?
Study Shows Cannabis Could Help Reduce Diabetes in Hepatitis C Patients

A recent study looked at how cannabis can help those previously diagnosed with hepatitis C avoid risk of diabetes. It revealed that those who use cannabis are less likely to develop diabetes as a result of the hepatitis C. 

The research came from the Journal of Viral Hepatitis, and was conducted by French researchers who wanted to understand the correlation of cannabis use with preventing diabetes. The study looked at over 10,000 subjects who had been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) prior to the study. Their research showed that the subjects who claimed to use cannabis were just about half, or 49 percent, as likely to have diabetes as those who were not regular users. Even those who had used cannabis in the past had a reduced risk of diabetes compared to those who had never used it. However, the strongest correlation was with those who self-identified as regular users of cannabis. 

This is important information to gain because chronic hepatitis C raises the risk factor for insulin resistance, meaning those with HCV are more likely to develop diabetes than those who are not Hep-C positive specifically because of their condition. They can be more at risk to develop the condition even if they watch other factors that could contribute to it, so research is actively being done to help medicate this risk. 

“Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a risk factor of insulin resistance, and HCV-infected patients are at a high risk of developing diabetes. In the general population, research has shown the potential benefit of cannabis use for the prevention of diabetes and related metabolic disorders,” the study explained in detail. 

“We aimed to test whether cannabis use is associated with a lower risk of diabetes in chronic HCV-infected patients. Chronic HCV-infected patients were selected from the French national, multicenter, observational ANRS CO22 Hepather cohort. Cross-sectional data collected at cohort enrolment were used to assess the association between patients’ clinical and behavioral characteristics and the risk of diabetes.”

Other Factors Associated With Diabetes

The study also found a few factors that could lead to a higher risk of diabetes for Hep-C positive people. It pointed to factors like gender, tobacco use, homelessness, fibrosis, poverty, and increased BMI as things that make one more likely to develop diabetes because they have hepatitis C.

The authors concluded, “The association between cannabis use and diabetes was maintained in the stratified analysis. In this large cross-sectional study of chronic HCV-infected patients, cannabis use was associated with a lower risk of diabetes independently of clinical and socio-behavioral factors. Further studies are needed to elucidate a potential causal link and shed light on cannabis compounds and mechanisms involved in this relationship.”

Previous research on cannabis and HCV/hepatitis C conducted in 2015 and published in Clinical Infectious Diseases revealed similar findings, showing a lower risk of insulin resistance overall. This is more proof that using cannabis can help those with Hep-C fight off diabetes. It could help pave the way for more medicinal cannabis offerings for those hoping to avoid developing the condition.

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