1. What does SSTB mean? See our glossary of acronyms.
    Dismiss Notice

Fatty liver disease and cannabis?

Discussion in 'Medical Discussion' started by MinnBobber, Aug 14, 2017.

  1. MinnBobber

    MinnBobber Well-Known Member

    my neighbor was just diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and was told he needs a liver transplant :(

    I've been quick searching and trying to learn about the disease and cannabis therapy of course.
    Does anybody have any info about the disease and cannabis treatment for it?

    One very intriguing study showed that THCV and CBD were effective in preventing and treating it.
    And the consensus seems to be that cannabis, in general, is good for tuning up liver functions.
    Are there any strains high in THCV and CBD?

    Another study showed a 15% reduction in getting the disease for light cannabis users and a 50% reduction in
    getting the disease for heavy cannabis users.

    MN med cannabis program does not include fatty liver disease :(
    Thanks for any info
  2. invertedisdead

    invertedisdead trance-form

    This can be healed completely with extreme dietary change, but most people are so opposed to that I'm skeptical to even mention it.

    If it was me though, and my life was on the line (I just lost a buddy to this) I would be on a strenuous juicing regiment. Definitely juicing some medical cannabis for the THCA healing properties and enzymes of the plant in its raw form.
    Genki88 and grokit like this.
  3. Squiby

    Squiby Well-Known Member

    THCV is most abundantly found in African Sativa Landrace strains such as Durban Poison, Red Congolese, Power Plant etc. There are some hybrids that also contain CBD such as CBD Durban, but if it were me, I would stick to the pure Landrace strains for the THCV content and suppliment that with a high CBD Strain such as Cannatonic.
  4. OldNewbie

    OldNewbie Well-Known Member

    For the love of God, DON'T ENCOURAGE HIM TO USE CANNABIS!!!!!!

    I don't think it would effect any real change in the course of the disease, but don't have a clue. HOWEVER, there are not a ton of livers out there and when the liver is done, we are done. (Absent a transplant.) While each region has its own criteria for how to triage and how to allocate a matching liver, almost all will have continuing illegal drug use as a disqualifyer for transplant. All it would take is one blood test showing some THC metabolite and your friend might not have another chance for a life-saving transplant in the time he has left.

    Some states that have a medical marijuana program have recognized transplant center's substance abuse policies might have an inappropriate and disproportionate impact on marijuana users. Some of these medical-legal states (Like mine, California) have passed laws to protect patents from denying a patient a place on the list solely due to a positive test for the use of medical marijuana unless the drug use is clinically significant.

    A terminally-ill person waiting for a life-saving transplant is not going to want to be arguing about if the use was "medical" or if the use was clinically significant to have a chance to be on the list at all. There is no legal requirement to ignore use when choosing the patient who might be most successful with a transplant.

    We can try to change things and argue it is not fair. But, until there are enough organs to transplant to all who need one, there will be choices made. Like it or not, marijuana use will not help you in the eyes of those making that choice. At best there is an argument you should not be summarily denied.
  5. Baron23

    Baron23 Well-Known Member

    Thank you. I was reading this thread and wondered when a bit of reality would be inserted. This is spot on and there was recently a well publicized case of a young man dying because he was bounced from a transplant at the last minute due to MJ positive test.

    By the by, the Mayo Clinic doesn't believe that this condition is curable. Manageable perhaps, but is sounds like your friend has a great deal of damage already, hence the need for transplant, I'm sure diet to reduce load on liver (and no, I don't know what that may be but vegan occurs to me...or at least no more big ass prime ribs) but I don't think it will help your friend avoid a transplant if he's at that point already.
    raelalt likes this.
  6. C No Ego

    C No Ego Well-Known Member

    raw cannabis with thc bred into it when ingested acts like cbd does @ the receptors... it is the thca or the acid form of the thc molecule that the cb-2 receptor recognizes just like cbd... maybe even thcva or raw land race genetics would be even better... probably the only way to really get that is to go to the country those strains grow in... using plant genetics that are bred end up different than the original land race they are bred from because of soil content or grow medium
    MinnBobber, Ozyzj, CarolKing and 2 others like this.
  7. MinnBobber

    MinnBobber Well-Known Member

    In a way, I could not disagree more. My mission would not be to "encourage him" but to "inform him" so he could make an informed decision about his own health situation.
    The available research and real life stories seem to show that cannabis can be very effective for fatty liver disease so it might be the best option. If cannabis could help avoid a transplant, that would certainly be awesome.

    I'm not even sure at this point if I dare approach him with the topic as we are not a legal state and I don't know his "bias" on cannabis----if he thinks all cannabis users are illegal vermin and should be reported to LEO or ???......
    That's a big issue for me in this situation.

    And @OldNewbie , it's not so black and white as transplant or cannabis. Looking at the transplant list for MN, there are about 300 on it. A chart shows an average: after 3 years on the list, about 50% will have received a transplant .
    That needs to be figured into HIS decision.
    And, of course, he's need to investigate IF they do drug testing / banish you from the list for ingesting cannabis?????

    The bad news is even if he likes the cannabis option after answering all the important questions, the f#cked MN program does not allow his condition. So, he'd have to do it on the down low---trip to CO or ??? etc so that's a tough tough hurdle for a newbie.

    Because I know the value of cannabis, if it was me, the best therapy/source/option would likely be a trip to CO and it sounds like the shopping list(based on research and real life experiences) would be:
    - ?? a lot of leaves and trim for THCA daily juicing
    - strong THCV strains like Durban Poison and other African landrace for their THCV
    - probably the strongest CBD/THC strain, like a 4:1 20% CBD : 5% THC, or closest to that.

    juice the THCA
    Vape the THCV and CBD/THC

    I have not seem him but my wife said she could hardly look at his face as it's really a bad color as are his eyes etc.
    Bye for now
    C No Ego and Squiby like this.
  8. OldNewbie

    OldNewbie Well-Known Member

    Yes. You should probably have him investigate as to if what you inform him of is going to lead to his death or not.

    Minnesota IS going to test for drugs. The issue will be what the individual transplant center is going to do with that information.

    The University of Minnesota transplant team's list for liver transplants have about 1,400 people on the list die a year because a liver was not available or they were otherwise unable to transplant. ( http://mnimed.org/assets/pdf/hospitals/fairview/Adult_Liver_Fact_Sheet.pdf )

    Minnesota is in region 7 of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation network. The numbers of organs available and the number currently on the wait list is at https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/members/regions/region-7/ .

    In January I went to the University of Minnesota/Fairview Transplant Center for an evaluation. In order to be completely honest with all the doctors I made them aware of the fact that I smoke marijuana and have for quite some time. I also made them aware that the use of marijuana has helped me with the decline of my appetite due to end stage of renal disease. With the exception of the hospital shrink, no one seemed to have a problem with it and even commented that my smoking had nothing to do with my kidney.

    Blue Cross Blue Shield approved the evaluation but [after] having received the paperwork from Minnesota has declined my transplant, stating “Kidney transplantation has not been shown to be more beneficial than other alternative treatments for patients with ongoing substance abuse. Thus, I recommended denial of kidney transplantation” (Ronald Hunt MD - Medical Director).
    From a law review in 2011, http://repository.law.umich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1091&context=mjlr
    Organ transplant candidates are often denied life saving organs on account of their medical marjuana drug use. Individuals who smoke medicinal marijuana are typically classified as substance abusers, and ultimately deemed ineligible for transplantation, despite their receipt of the drug under a physician's supervision and prescription. ​

    Remember, that is for legal use. Illegal use is often defined as abuse simply because of the illegality.

    The "good" study to not focus on cannabis use/abuse in determining who to transplant. The goal is to change current policy. https://www.theroc.us/researchlibrary/Marijuana Use in Potential Liver Transplant Candidates.pdf

    In an article explaining the issue at http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/31/health/medical-marijuana-organ-transplants-explainer/index.html , it shows each transplant center can choose the criteria (with review of the policies by other organizations).
    The policies of most transplant programs, which determine who gets on a waiting list, are evaluated through UNOS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, among other agencies.
    "The decisions for a center to accept anything -- (for example) some people say I'm not going to transplant anybody over the age 50 or 60 -- they're allowed to do that," said Dr. John Fung, chief of transplantation surgery and director of the Transplantation Institute at the University of Chicago Medicine.
    Other than protecting against racial or gender discrimination "no rule says you have to transplant any given population," Fung said. "But each center basically evolves their own criteria," he said.​
    "My views have gone more towards allowance of a patient with medical marijuana, documented for a good medical reason, to be allowed to take it without getting penalized for it," Fung said. "I would still say that that is the minority view."

    In the future, UNOS's Klassen said that he thinks more transplant programs will continue to evaluate and evolve their policies to address the changing climate around medical marijuana.
    "There is an increasing acceptance of medical marijuana as an acceptable and relatively commonly prescribed medication," Klassen said. "I think programs are incorporating that into their assessment of patients."​

    The MINORITY VIEW is that use of MEDICAL MARIJUANA for a documented GOOD MEDICAL REASON should not be penalized for it. The neighbor is NOT using medical marijuana NOR is a study or two equal to a good medical reason.

    Marijuana is not the neighbor's chance at life, a transplant is.

  9. MinnBobber

    MinnBobber Well-Known Member

    In your opinion.
    It's way too early to make that call as the whole picture needs to be analyzed.
    - Will MN test and bounce a patient for cannabis positive test?
    - What's the actual expected wait time and what's his prognosis ? If the expected wait time is 3 years for a transplant and his prognosis is living only 1 year without a transplant, then the cannabis option seems like the only logical path to take if he wants to live. Spock would go for it :) There are an estimated 17,000 on liver transplant lists in the US with 6,000 transplants being performed each year.
    - all other relevant facts need to be considered.

    I was very surprised that good data/info was already out there, all pointing to cannabis being a healthy supplement for the liver and for cannabis being a proper medical tool to be used for fatty liver disease. As always, it's not the only tool but one that's in the medical toolbox. With a strong indication that THCV and CBD are important, that's a huge advantage in finding the right profile.
    grokit and Squiby like this.
  10. C No Ego

    C No Ego Well-Known Member


    keep in mind........ as a spot treatment directed to where the molecules are needed ( the liver)... with first pass metabolism of THC in the liver the THC turns into delta 11 hydroxy because of that first pass metabolism... I do not know how thcv or any of the other actives will convert or what they may convert to after first pass but could be something to look into... the acid forms of those molecules too= what will they convert to? the delta 11 hydroxy conversion is what makes the sensations so much greater when using an edible and how it lasts a long time too... some peoples liver does not convert it over as well and with a compromised liver that could be the case... after an edible he would know if he can metabolize the thc efficiently from the way he feels... this first pass metabolism really has only been shown to happen with decarboxylated thc in an edible form... tinctures and vaping etc... do not have the first pass effect etc...
    grokit likes this.
  11. OldNewbie

    OldNewbie Well-Known Member

    End-stage liver disease (ESLD) is a term synonymous with advanced liver disease, liver failure, and decompensated cirrhosis. It is a progressive illness that develops after inflammatory changes in the liver lead to fibrosis and disruption of liver structure and function. The only existing cure is liver transplantation, an option that only a minority of patients will receive. Remaining therapies are palliative in nature.​
    Squiby and MinnBobber like this.
  12. MinnBobber

    MinnBobber Well-Known Member

    ESLD is likely a "prematue prognosis" in his case, so the claim that the only existing cure is tranplantation does not really apply. One accepted criteria for ESLD is a 6 month life expectancy and life expectancy on the list goes well beyond that, as they give averages like, after 3 years on the list approx 50% will have received a transplant, so many are not in ESLD.

    One needs to assess the level of fibrosis, has cirrhosis happened, has it progressed to NASH (Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitus) etc . Anything shy of ESLD (end stage) and I'd be all over cannabis as a treatment and even in the ESLD stage -- "what's the harm" , the worst that can happen is that it doesn't cure/help it. Note: the policy of whether a + cannabis test bounces you from transplant would have to be factored in.

    Cannabis has shown to reduce/destroy cancer tumors, bring back lost memory in lab mice, and tune our ECS system so why wouldn't it help with any stage of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?

    Absent a BS policy about a + MJ test, it's absolute insanity to do a transplant first, before trying the least intrusive method of cannabis therapy. Obvious exceptions would be something like you have 4 weeks to live without transplant---where there is no time to try cannabis.
    C No Ego likes this.
  13. OldNewbie

    OldNewbie Well-Known Member

    I agree there is a difference between end stage liver disease where a doctor tells the paitent he needs a transplant and fatty liver disease where the doctor tells the paitent that if he doesn't take care of himself he might need a transplant someday.

    I disagree the policy to deny because of marijuana use is insane. There is a possibility it is wrong. But, that is only a possibility as the reason we got to where we are is through any of a number of expert decisions in any number of transplant committees. The policy is not going to change quickly or enough to help your friend if he decides to use marijuana illegally.

    I often argue for a living and I won't continue past this as my position is clear. I suggest if he goes down this path, he gains the assistance of an attorney who specializes in the legal issues of transplantation. That attorney will be expensive. But, he will have the expertise and knowledge to navigate the system and try to find a doctor who is the exception to the general rule and will prepare briefs to litigate if he is denied. The reason for the attorney now is that once neighbor can actively seek out transplant, the clock is ticking and time is short. Without adequate preparation, it would be hard to even challenge the decision in a timely manner before death.

    On a personal note, try to understand all the neighbor is going through. I can't tell you the number of nights I was up with my wife when well-meaning neighbors would tell her of their aunt who did this thing successfully and the uncle who did that other thing unsuccessfully. Seriously ill people are looking for a rope as they bargain with God for their life. Neighbors who wanted to help would have done far better if they brought over a treat and sat down and listened to her over trying to tell her things they thought important. She was cancer and the same issue was not a problem. In this case, if I lost my spouse because they could not get a required organ because of marijuana use that was suggested by neighbor, I would sue the neighbor into the stone age.

    Would I win? I wouldn't care as my goal would be to hurt the person who I felt, in my illogical grief, killed my spouse.
    MinnBobber and Baron23 like this.
  14. MinnBobber

    MinnBobber Well-Known Member

    Yes, it's a tough issue, complicated by insane cannabis laws.
    In an ideal (or reasonable) world, cannabis would be an option to avoid transplantation AND an option to be used along with transplanting , when transplanting became necessary. Cannabis has shown great benefit in helping to avoid organ rejection but the current legal situation RE cannabis and transplants SUCKS.

    As mentioned, a lawyer would be a good idea IF he ever seriously considers cannabis.... and IF I dare to even mention it as it's tough in a non-legal state :(
    OldNewbie likes this.
  15. grokit

    grokit well-worn member

    the north
    I have read that the ban on cannabis users from the liver transplant lists isn't because of the legal status of cannabis per se. It's more about the supposed fact that patients that are also cannabis users are more likely to be exposed to fungal pathogens, that can compromise their ability to assimilate the new liver.

    Squiby and MinnBobber like this.
  16. MinnBobber

    MinnBobber Well-Known Member

    So instead of one BS reason, they substitute another. Cannabis has been shown to reduce organ rejections in all types of organ transplants. One of its biggest benefits is helping the ECS fine tune our immune system. That's why it can help if your immune system is too active (auto-immune diseases) or if it is too weak and doesn't zap enough of the bad guys.

    If I needed a transplant, knowing what I know about the relative risks, I'd absolutely want cannabis therapy as it would be a valuable tool, amongst other med tools. Others might opt to not go that route
    Squiby and grokit like this.
  17. OldNewbie

    OldNewbie Well-Known Member

    There are many potential reasons why cannabis is disfavored for liver transplants. There is a legitimate debate in the transplantation community related to medical marijuana. The statistics are not clear--especially when people are more than just one thing. Also, transplant rejection is not equivalent to transplant failure. All rejections are a failure, but all failures are not necessarily rejections. Even if we were to find organ transplants were less likely rejected (Basically an auto-immune response to the invader.) in cannabis users, there would still need to be a lot of work to determine if it is beneficial or harmful to the results we seek.
    Baron23 likes this.

Support FC, visit our trusted friends and sponsors