Information about Hepatitis C:
Nearly 150 million people worldwide have Hepatitis C, a virus that can lead to liver damage.
Although the severity of symptoms can vary, many people die each year from Hepatitis -C-related diseases. Medications to treat Hepatitis C can cure up to 90% of those infected, but for those it cannot, lifelong medications and a modified lifestyle are the treatment plan.
Medical marijuana can be used to help relieve the symptoms caused by Hepatitis C while also taking antiviral medicines. CBD oil provides a safe way to reduce discomfort without potentially feeling high. This article explains what Hepatitis C is, and which of its symptoms marijuana can help ease.
What is Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a disease that infects and affects the liver. It is spread via a virus from person to person. It is particularly tricky to notice because most people don’t have any indication that they have hepatitis C until there’s already liver damage. Hepatitis C can also lead to liver failure and is also the leading cause of liver cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
In a few cases, people will have the virus for a short while, and then they heal from it. This is considered acute hepatitis C. In most cases, however, it develops into a chronic, long-term problem. This is “regular” hepatitis C.
The good news is that, when treated properly, people living with hepatitis C can live long lives that are full and active. For that reason, it’s important to catch the disease early enough so that there isn’t any permanent liver damage for the rest of the patient’s life.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis C
When someone first contracts hepatitis C, they don’t have any symptoms. In some rare cases, however, symptoms may occur. The following symptoms are possible hepatitis C symptoms:
- Very tired
- Joint pain
- Stomach pain
- Itchy skin
- Sore muscles
- Dark urine
- Jaundice in the skin and eyes (usually not until later, after the other symptoms are going away)
If a person has hepatitis C for a while and it develops into chronic hepatitis C, there are some other symptoms that they may start to notice. These symptoms include:
- Upset stomach
- Lowered appetite
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
If hepatitis C develops into cirrhosis (which causes liver scarring), there are a few other symptoms that the patient can expect to see. They include:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
- Dark yellow urine
- Easily bruising or bleeding
What causes hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus. It is spread from person to person through their blood — if an infected person’s blood comes in contact with someone who has it, they could contract hepatitis C. There are a variety of scenarios that could lead to this taking place.
For example, sharing needles can easily transmit hepatitis C from person to person. It is the most common way for the disease to be spread in the United States. Usually, this happens with the injection of illegal drugs.
People who have received a blood transfusion or an organ transplant before the year 1992, could have gotten hepatitis C from it. That’s because before 1992 blood donations and organ donations weren’t screened specifically for hepatitis C. Nowadays, however, they all are screened for it.
Those who have received a shot that had infected blood on it could contract hepatitis C. This most commonly occurs in developing countries and other environments where shots are used for more than one person at a time.
Another possible way to contract Hepatitis C that is more common in the Western world is at a tattoo parlor. Getting a tattoo or piercing can also cause hepatitis C, especially if the needle used somehow already had infected blood on it. This can happen if the needle was not properly sanitized during the cleaning between customers.
Sometimes a mother can spread hepatitis C to her baby when it’s born. There have been cases of health care workers getting exposed to hepatitis C-infected blood as well, causing them to contract the disease. Unless you have many sex partners, contracting hepatitis C through sexual contact is not very likely.
Hepatitis C cannot be contracted through saliva, breathing, sharing foods, kissing, coughing, or sneezing.
Conventional treatment for hepatitis C
Many people typically take antiviral medicine to treat their hepatitis C, although it’s not necessarily the right choice for everyone. A combination of antiviral medications is usually the route most people take. One such combination includes dasabuvir, ombitasvir, paritaprevir, and ritonavir.
The success of these medicines and combinations of medicines largely depends on the condition of the liver, the type hepatitis C present, and how serious the infection is. In general, those with hepatitis C must focus on maintaining good health and preventing infections.
In addition to putting your liver at risk, hepatitis C can also cause serious side effects. Some people feel tired, sick, or even depressed due to the virus. Maintaining a good quality of life is a challenge when infected with Hepatitis C even with the proper combination of antivirals. Other medications can provide relief for these related symptoms; however, they may also further impact the liver and cause other undesired side effects.
Medical marijuana is an excellent alternative method for maintaining a higher quality of life while living with hepatitis C.
Types of hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus is the same in all cases of it, but it materializes in different ways in people’s bodies. For example, for the first six months of a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus, it is considered acute hepatitis. Most people have hepatitis C for longer than that. When the condition is long-term, it becomes chronic hepatitis C. Therefore, “Regular” Hepatitis C often leads to chronic hepatitis C.
Chronic hepatitis C is simply the longer lasting stage of hepatitis C. Chronic hepatitis C used to be treated with a combination of shots and pills, but the side effects were unpleasant. Now, a combination of pills is most commonly prescribed.
There are also differences in the genotype of hepatitis. In the United States, you would typically only find genotype 1, genotype 2, and genotype 3. The other ones, genotype 4, genotype 5, and genotype 6, are hardly ever seen within the United States.
Effects of CBD on hepatitis C
These are three common symptoms of patients with hepatitis C, making medical marijuana a great option for hepatitis C patients.
Additionally, the antiviral therapy that is typically prescribed to patients with hepatitis C causes nausea. This can be offset with medical marijuana, which is often used for the treatment of nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss.
CBD as treatment for hepatitis C
One study showed that medical marijuana can be extremely useful in making people with hepatitis C feel better, even when they are on antivirals. These antiviral drugs are often associated with nausea and other unpleasant side effects. However, this study, which involved investigators at the University of California in San Francisco observing patients with hepatitis C, found that patients were far more likely to stick to the treatment if they were using marijuana than if they weren’t.
Chronic liver disease was the topic of another study. Specifically, it looked at the endocannabinoid system (which we all have in our bodies) and its connection and involvement with liver disease. It highlighted the need for new and more effective therapies and the therapeutic implications that are involved in using medical marijuana to help with liver disease.
Ultimately, it showed that there is potential in this area, and that there is much more to learn around the endocannabinoids and how they participate in both chronic liver disease and acute liver disease.
CBD oil to treat hepatitis C
CBD oil can be extremely useful for the treatment of hepatitis C symptoms, as well as in conjunction with typical medicines that are taken to treat hepatitis C. Hepatitis C symptoms include fatigue, depression, nausea, joint pain, muscle pain, and itchy skin. All of those symptoms are often successfully treated with medical marijuana — and CBD oil is one of the easiest ways to take it.
Additionally, a CBD oil-based topical medication can work well to heal itchy skin. Many people swear by CBD oil (and hemp oil) to heal their itchy skin from a variety of causes, and this is no different.
Grow your own marijuana to treat hepatitis C
Although CBD oil and medical marijuana may not be able to cure hepatitis C (that we know of), they certainly can help improve the quality of life of people who are living with it. Growing strains of marijuana that are especially geared toward the treatment of hepatitis C symptoms (strains high in CBD, for example) can be an excellent way to have your own, all-natural medication whenever you need it. Medical marijuana can help patients of all kinds experience less pain, sleep better, and eat better.