Complications of Hepatitis C infection are primarily related to the development of advanced fibrosis, and whether cannabis use is a risk factor for more severe fibrosis is controversial.
Dr Julie Ishida and colleagues from California, USA used baseline data from a prospective cohort study of 204 persons with chronic Hepatitis C virus infection for analysis.
|Cannabis use frequency was occasional in 45%|
|Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
The outcome was fibrosis score on biopsy, and the primary predictor evaluated was daily cannabis use.
The median age of the cohort was 47 years, of which 69% were male, 49% were white, and the presumed route of infection was injection drug use in 70%.
The median lifetime duration was 29 years, and the average daily use of alcohol was 2 drink equivalents per day.
The research team found that cannabis use frequency was daily in 14%, occasional in 45%, and never in 41%.
Fibrosis stage, assessed by the Ishak method, was F0, F1 to F2, and F3 to F6 in 28%, 55%, and 17% of subjects, respectively.
The team found that daily compared with non-daily cannabis use was significantly associated with moderate to severe fibrosis in univariate, and multivariate analyses.
The researchers found that other independent predictors of F3 to F6 were 11 portal tracts, and lifetime duration of moderate to heavy alcohol use.
Dr Ishidas' team concluded, "Daily cannabis use is strongly associated with moderate to severe fibrosis, and Hepatitis C virus-infected individuals should be counseled to reduce or abstain from cannabis use."