New research was virtually presented at ACG 2020, the Virtual Annual Scientific Meeting & Postgraduate Course of the American College of Gastroenterology.
Experimental literature describes well the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis, including the hepatoprotective activity of THC in myofibroblast and stellate cells. To determine how cannabis use affects the prevalence and progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in obese patients, study investigators gathered data on nearly 880,000 obese adults in the 2016 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s National Inpatient Sample discharge records. They assessed the prevalence of steatosis, steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma and compared the prevalence of disease stage between cannabis users and non-users. Cannabis users had less steatohepatitis (0.4% vs 0.7) and cirrhosis (1.1% vs 1.5%) than non-users. Upon propensity matched analysis, cannabis use remained significantly associated with less steatohepatitis (0.4% vs 0.5%), whereas there was no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of NAFLD, cirrhosis, or hepatocellular carcinoma.