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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Feb;31(2):149-156. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000001263.

Marijuana is not associated with progression of hepatic fibrosis in liver disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Department of Internal Medicine, Hermann Memorial Hospital, Houston, Texas.
2
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
3
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.
4
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA.
5
Health Sciences Library, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

An estimated 22 million adults use marijuana in the USA. The role of marijuana in the progression of hepatic fibrosis remains unclear.

AIMS:

We carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the impact of marijuana on prevalence and progression of hepatic fibrosis in chronic liver disease.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

We searched several databases from inception through 10 November 2017 to identify studies evaluating the role of marijuana in chronic liver disease. Our main outcome of interest was prevalence/progression of hepatic fibrosis. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and hazards ratios (HRs) were pooled and analyzed using random-effects model.

RESULTS:

Nine studies with 5 976 026 patients were included in this meta-analysis. Prevalence of hepatic fibrosis was evaluated in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and hepatitis C and HIV coinfection by two, four, and one studies. Progression of hepatic fibrosis was evaluated by two studies. Pooled OR for prevalence of fibrosis was 0.91 (0.72-1.15), I=75%. On subgroup analysis, pooled OR among NAFLD patients was 0.80 (0.75-0.86), I=0% and pooled OR among HCV patients was 1.96 (0.78-4.92), I=77%. Among studies evaluating HR, pooled HR for progression of fibrosis in HCV-HIV co-infected patients was 1.03 (0.96-1.11), I=0%.

CONCLUSION:

Marijuana use did not increase the prevalence or progression of hepatic fibrosis in HCV and HCV-HIV-coinfected patients. On the contrary, we noted a reduction in the prevalence of NAFLD in marijuana users. Future studies are needed to further understand the therapeutic impact of cannabidiol-based formulations in the management of NAFLD.

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