Did you ever manage to see a connection between CBD or cannabidiol and hepatitis C? Probably not, just as many of us who never imagined that such a connection is possible. In recent years, CBD is constantly surprising both the scientific and medical world, proving its efficiency as a treatment for a large variety of illnesses, in laboratories and clinical trials as well.
But even before there was any scientific evidence, those that used CBD products with the purpose of alleviating the symptoms of their illnesses stated that this compound extracted from the notorious cannabis works. They managed to set themselves free of traditional treatments and meds, which usually come along with a set of unwanted and uncomfortable side-effects, especially in the case of long-term treatments.
New Studies on CBD and Hepatitis C
A new study concerning the therapeutic effects of CBD may bring the much-needed beam of hope in the case of patients that suffer from hepatitis C. But, even so, several years may pass until an actual cure for the HCV virus, which is the one responsible for hepatitis C, will be developed. Still, this is good news and we can only hope that the cure will be available as soon as possible, giving so many patients out there the chance to enjoy a normal life.
Even if the HCV virus affects so many people, there isn’t any vaccine that could prevent the disease from developing. It is worth knowing that HCV is transmitted through infected blood in the majority of cases, like sharing the same injections for the administration of drugs, which is common in underdeveloped communities, or if the medical equipment in hospitals is not properly sterilized. But, it can also be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse.
Unfortunately, this virus affects the functionality of the liver, leading to liver failure, liver cancer, and cirrhosis. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 140 million people around the world have the HCV virus as a chronic condition and because of this virus and the disease triggered by it, called hepatitis C, about 700,000 people lose their lives every year.
HCV is widely spread – mainly in third world countries
Thus, considering these numbers, an effective treatment is needed more than ever so that all of these people have a second chance to live normal lives. What can one do in present days if he or she receives the diagnosis of being infected with the HCV virus? Counseling and education about the virus and its actions are recommended in all cases.
Also, one can deal with the infection by attending group therapy and by closely monitoring the liver with the help of periodic medical checks, but apart from this, there’s not much one can do. Of course, there is always the option of getting antiviral medication, but this kind of treatment is not accessible to everybody and may not treat the condition satisfactorily in all cases.
The discovery that CBD could help a patient with hepatitis C is great news for the medical world, which knows that the current treatment for this particular illness is hardly affordable by the patients that live in developing countries, due to the fact that the costs of a single session of treatment can be as high as $85,000. Thus, it is mandatory for affordable treatments to emerge on the market, so that even those with a precarious financial status could have the chance to enjoy the treatment.
But even if CBD is eventually transformed into a more accessible treatment, there are still many issues to cover when it comes to making it available to patients in the developing countries, such as countries in Central Asia and East Europe, where sharing syringes for drug administration is a rather common practice.
Having in mind that in America, the price of CBD oil can range anywhere between a couple of dollars and a few thousands of dollars, depending on the quality, provenience, and concentration of the oil, as well as the condition for which it is used, it is obvious that there will be serious issues with administering this treatment as well.
The discovery of an effective medicine is not the only hurdle
But, the first step that has to be made in order to turn CBD oil into hepatitis C treatment is for it to be approved by the World Health Assembly. This assembly has 192 members, each representing a particular country, and all of these members should agree when it comes to making CBD available throughout the world for the treatment of the HCV virus.
Even if CBD would be approved by the World Health Assembly, there is always the major issue of transporting the treatment. In third world countries, the drugs almost never reach their intended destinations as the transport “leaks”. This means that the drugs are stolen on the way to the hospitals that should receive them, making the treatment impossible to administer to the people that need it.
Let us take the ideal case in which the treatment, CBD oil, in this case, reaches its destination, a hospital or doctor’s office in one of these developing countries. You may think that this is good news, but it is not. The hospitals and other medical units in developing countries lack properly educated medical staff and may utilize medical equipment that is not sterile, so there is always the risk of the patients not receiving the treatment they need.
Unfortunately, the medical services in these countries are far from efficient and the medical staff that work in hospitals and clinics lack the attention needed when practicing such jobs. Doctors and the medical staff don’t spend a sufficient number of hours in hospitals and clinics, and even when they are present, they attend to only a small number of patients.
What do the studies say about CBD and hepatitis C?
The recent surge in interest in Medical Cannabis has led to interest in evaluating and validating the therapeutic potentials of Cannabis and its metabolites against various diseases including viruses. Preliminary screening of cannabidiol (CBD) revealed that CBD is active against HCV but not against HBV in-vitro. CBD inhibited HCV replication by 86.4% at a single concentration of 10 μM with EC50of 3.163 μM in a dose-response assay. These findings suggest that CBD could be further developed and used therapeutically against HCV.
The direct antiviral activity of CBD against the HCV indicates that the molecule has an effect against both the viral and non-viral hepatitis, otherwise known as autoimmune hepatitis. Autoimmune hepatitis is an inflammatory liver condition elicited by activated T-cells and macrophages.
Studies have shown that CBD, by interacting with the CB2 receptor, induces apoptosis in thymocytes and splenocytes inhibiting the proliferation of T-cells and macrophages which are responsible for either attacking liver cells or inducing the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines that cause autoimmune hepatitis in the liver.
These are actually pretty amazing results that shows that CBD inhibits the replication of HCV by 86.4%.
So yes, there are a few challenges concerning the application of CBD in the treatment of hepatitis C. But we cannot ignore the fact that the in-vitro study performed on CBD and its effects in treating the HCV virus has provided positive results. These results were both recognized by the scientific world and the media because the study represents the first step forward towards finding the first treatment for hepatitis C.