Study: Marijuana May Lower Alcohol’s Impact On Liver
IN HEALTH — 12 JAN, 2014
New research suggests a compound in marijuana can protect alcohol drinkers from liver disease.
Investigators at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York have found evidence that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, can prevent the accumulation of fat caused by alcohol – known as fatty liver disease.
Over time, elevated fat levels in the liver can lead to more severe problems such as hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Published online Jan. 4th in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, the researchers conducted the study by injecting mice with ethanol twice a day for 5 days to model the impact of binge drinking on the liver. Mice in the test group were given CBD prior to ethanol.
The results confirmed that CBD could prevent fat accumulation and other signs of liver injury. Molecular analysis pointed to multiple factors, including CBD’s anti-oxidant properties and its ability to stimulate pathways involved with fat breakdown.
The authors add that CBD can act as both an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, and has been suggested to block the progression of arthritis and type 1 diabetes, among other things.
The hope is to develop a potential drug for the prevention of fatty liver disease, they write, noting that CBD has recently shown promise in blocking alcohol-induced brain damage as well.
The study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)