Study: Cannabis Use Associated with Reduced Fatty Liver Index Scores  in Patients Co-Infected with HIV/HCV

Marseille, France: The regular use of cannabis by patients co-infected with HIV and the hepatitis C virus is associated with lower fatty liver index (FLI) scores, according to longitudinal data published in the journal Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy

A team of French investigators assessed the relationship between cannabis use and FLI over a five-year period in 997 HIV/HCV co-infected patients. The fatty liver index (FLI) is an algorithm based on waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), triglyceride, and gamma-glutamyl-transferase (GGT) for the prediction of fatty liver disease.

Nearly thirty percent of participants in the study reported regular cannabis use. Compared with non-users, those subjects who consumed cannabis near-daily possessed a 55 percent lower risk of elevated FLI. 

Authors concluded: “Cannabis use is associated with a reduced risk of elevated fatty liver index in HIV-HCV co-infected patients. Further research is needed to confirm whether and how cannabinoids may inhibit the development of hepatic steatosis or other metabolic disorders in high-risk populations.”

Other studies have previously identified an associated between cannabis use and lower BMI as well as a lower risk of steatosis (fatty liver disease). Separate studies assessing its use among HIV/HCV co-infected patients has previously identified an association between marijuana use and reduced rates of diabetes as well as overall mortality

Full text of the study, “Cannabis use and reduced risk of elevated fatty liver index in HIV/HCV co-infected patients: a longitudinal analysis,” appears in Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy.