Analysis: Cannabis Consumers Less Likely to Be Diagnosed with Liver Cancer

Cleveland, OH: Adults with a recent history of cannabis use are twice less likely to be diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma (the most common type of liver cancer) than are those with no history of use, according to data published in the scientific journal Cureus.

A team of researchers affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic and with Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC assessed the relationship between cannabis consumption and HCC in a cohort of over one million subjects.

Investigators reported that those who reported current cannabis use were “55 percent less likely to have HCC compared to non-cannabis users.”

Authors concluded: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first and largest population-based cross-sectional study of hospitalized patients to explore the association between cannabis use and HCC. … Due to the cross-sectional structure of our study, we are unable to draw direct causation effects. Hence, we suggest prospective clinical studies to further understand the mechanism by which various active ingredients, especially CBD in cannabis, may possibly regulate hepatocellular carcinoma development. ”

Cannabinoids possess anti-cancer activity in cellular models and a limited number of case reports have documented antineoplastic activity in patients. Observational data has also shown an association between cannabis use and a reduced risk of head and neck cancers.

Numerous human studies have also shown an inverse relationship between cannabis consumption and various types of liver diseases.

Full text of the study, “Lower rates of hepatocellular carcinoma observed among cannabis users: A population-based study,” appears in Cureus.

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