Can cannabis protect individuals from alcohol-related liver damage? Maybe. According to a study published in the journal Liver International, heavy alcohol users that use cannabis on a daily basis have reduced incidence of liver disease than those that do not.
To come to this conclusion, researchers analyzed data from the 2014 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project – Nationwide Inpatient Sample. Studying the discharge records of patients 18-years-old or older, researchers examined the four distinct phases of alcoholic liver disease in three different subsets of cannabis users: non-cannabis users, non-dependent cannabis users and dependent cannabis users.
Researchers found that alcoholics who also use cannabis have significantly lower odds of alcoholic steatosis, steatohepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Furthermore, dependent cannabis users were found to have significantly lower odds of developing alcohol-related liver disease compared to non-dependent users.
Researchers conclude that cannabis use is associated with lower incidences of alcohol-related liver disease but stop short of stating that one begets the other.