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PLoS One. 2017 Oct 19;12(10):e0186702. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186702. eCollection 2017.

Inverse association of marijuana use with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease among adults in the United States.

Author information

1
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, United States of America.
2
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul Metropolitan Government Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
3
Department of Internal Medicine, Healthcare Research Institute, Gangnam Healthcare Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS:

The impact of marijuana on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is largely unknown. We studied the association between marijuana and NAFLD utilizing cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2005-2014 and NHANES III (1988-1994).

METHODS:

Suspected NAFLD was diagnosed if serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was > 30 IU/L for men and > 19 IU/L for women in the absence of other liver diseases (NHANES 2005-2014). In NHANES III cohort, NAFLD was defined based on ultrasonography.

RESULTS:

Of the 14,080 (NHANES 2005-2014) and 8,286 (NHANES III) participants, prevalence of suspected NAFLD and ultrasonographically-diagnosed NAFLD were inversely associated with marijuana use (p < 0.001). Compared to marijuana-naïve participants, marijuana users were less likely to have suspected NAFLD (odds ratio [OR]: 0.90, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.82-0.99 for past user; OR: 0.68, 95% CI: 0.58-0.80 for current user) and ultrasonographically-diagnosed NAFLD (OR: 0.75, 95% CI: 0.57-0.98 for current user) in the age, gender, ethnicity-adjusted model. On multivariate analysis, the ORs for suspected NAFLD comparing current light or heavy users to non-users were 0.76 (95% CI 0.58-0.98) and 0.70 (95% CI 0.56-0.89), respectively (P for trend = 0.001) with similar trends in ultrasonographically-diagnosed NAFLD (OR: 0.77, 95% CI: 0.59-1.00 for current user; OR: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.51-0.97 for current light user). In insulin resistance-adjusted model, marijuana use remained an independent predictor of lower risk of suspected NAFLD.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this nationally representative sample, active marijuana use provided a protective effect against NAFLD independent of known metabolic risk factors. The pathophysiology is unclear and warrants further investigation.

PMID:
29049354
PMCID:
PMC5648282
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0186702
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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