It’s recommended that men have no more than two alcoholic drinks a day, and wimmen have just the one. Binge drinking is consumption of at least five drinks in the space of two hours. This is equal to five bottles of beer, five shots or a bottle of wine.

Drinking alcohol can damage the liver, but taking cannabis makes this less likely. Photo: Matthias Ripp

Drinking alcohol can damage the liver, but taking cannabis makes this less likely. Photo: Matthias Ripp

Binge drinking is bad. It can impact health directly by causing cancer, high blood pressure, liver disease, memory problems, strokes and more. Effects can be indirect, such as unsafe sex or car accidents.

Whoa! A study!

Dr Adeyinka Charles Adejumo can be found at Massachusetts’ North Shore Medical Center. In 2018, he led a study of 320,000 problem drinkers. 10 percent of these folk used cannabis. This made alcoholic steatosis 45 percent less likely. Alcoholic steatosis also goes by the name “fatty liver disease”. Additionally, there was 55 percent less chance of developing cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver. This can cause liver failure, with oft-fatal consequences. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common variant of liver cancer. Using cannabis made its occurrence 38 percent less likely. The heaviest cannabis users benefitted the most. Support for this came from further studies by the University of Quebec in Canada and Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea.

And it doesn’t take much

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that a mere seven weeks of binge drinking damages the liver. Their work appeared in the January 19 2017 online edition of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. The senior researcher was Frederic “Woody” Hopf, PhD, an associate adjunct professor of neurology at the university. He remarked that while alcoholic liver damage is commonly thought of as arising following years of heavy drinking, “… even a short period of what in humans would be considered excessive drinking resulted in liver dysfunction.” He added that this meant early intervention was necessary.

Why cannabis is good here

The reason cannabis is good in this instance is that cannabinoid receptors in the liver suppress the collection of fat. Earlier studies revealed that cannabis was a worthwhile treatment for liver disease. Cannabis comprises hundreds of compounds. The biggies are tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. The first gets you stoned while the second doesn’t but is most healthful. (See?) It’s unclear which compound was responsible, something now being looked at.

All about liver disease

Per NHS Choices, there are over 100 forms of liver disease. These affect about two million people in the United Kingdom every year. The principal causes are alcohol abuse, obesity and an undiagnosed hepatitis infection. Symptoms are rare until the disease has reached an advanced stage. Medication can be a remedy. The most extreme cases, however, necessitate a liver transplant.

So cannabis isn’t entirely good

Of course, there are other studies that found that cannabis users recovering from alcohol abuse relapsed faster. And if you have hepatitis C, another liver disease, it spreads faster if you’re a heavy cannabis user.

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