Hepatitis C Community
13.3k Members
29837 tn?1414538248

Marijuana Helps with Hep C Therapy

Started my 5th therapy three weeks ago and feel 90% normal. Swim 12 lapse in the pool daily, great appetite, sleep eight hours and not angry. Could this be the answer?


The Washington Post - Wednesday, September 13, 2006; Page A02

Marijuana can improve the effectiveness of drug therapy for hepatitis C, a potentially deadly viral infection that affects more than 3 million Americans, a study has found. The work adds to a growing literature supporting the notion that in some circumstances pot can offer medical benefits.

Treatment for hepatitis C involves months of therapy with two powerful drugs, interferon and ribavirin, that have severe side effects, including extreme fatigue, nausea, muscle aches, loss of appetite and depression. Because of those side effects, many patients do not finish treatment and the virus ends up destroying their livers.

Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco and at an Oakland substance abuse center tracked the progress of 71 hepatitis C patients taking the difficult therapy. Tests and interviews indicated that 22 smoked marijuana every day or two during the treatment period while 49 rarely or never did.

At the end of the six-month treatment, 19 (86 percent) of those who used marijuana had successfully completed the therapy -- meaning they took at least 80 percent of their doses over at least 80 percent of the period. Only 29 (59 percent) of the nonsmokers achieved that goal.

Similarly, 54 percent of the marijuana users achieved a "sustained virological response," the gold standard goal of therapy, meaning they had no sign of the virus in their bodies six months after the treatment was over. That compared with only 18 percent of those who did not smoke pot.

While it is possible that the marijuana had a specific, positive biomedical effect, it is more likely that it helped patients by reducing depression, improving appetite and offering psychological benefits that helped the patients tolerate the treatment's side effects, the team reports in the current issue of the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology.
69 Responses
Avatar universal
Wow. 3 weeks in and no sx.  hope that holds for you...and just make sure you have lots of munchies on hand  :)

I was a little confused on the article..is it saying that more people that smoked pot SVR"d   just because they were more inclined to do all meds ..on time and finish tx or that given all people that did all meds on time and finished treatment  there was a better SVR rate with pot.. hope that is clear....proly not...maybe I will try some pot and clear that up  :)

Anyway good luck and this is your time!
Avatar universal
VIc or INCI ?
939577 tn?1319639899
I had to sign a statement with my gastro saying I would NOT use this and if I did they would drop me as a patient!
190885 tn?1333029491
the first week on tx i did try a little pot and it did help...then after week two i was too sick for any extra drugs...i do know it can help but i think being anemic and smoking pot don't mix too well......i think its great for folks that can handle it.. i hope you do well this time and good luck....billy
1669790 tn?1333666195
If this helps you get through trt and helps you get to the end, then nothing wrong with that.  Just no driving please. lol
29837 tn?1414538248
Get a different Gastro. My Gastro IS the one who suggested it and has given me a prescription for the past 4 years. I start Victrelis in one week, Starting at 3.2 million count. Stay tuned...

939577 tn?1319639899
good luck Magnum
29837 tn?1414538248
Keep in mind I do exactly 4 good hits through a VAPORIZER (to dramatically cut down on carcinogens) about one hour before going to sleep. I watch some TV until I feel drowsy, then nod off. I don't drive doing it, don't party with others, etc... This is purely to make the sides easier and tolerance in general as well. Let's just say that I'm shocked at how good I feel.

I want to add one more thing. Spoke to the pharmacist from the company that supplies my meds. He said take at least 20 grams of fat with every Riba dosage. In other words, I take 3 Ribas in the morning with breakfast and 3 at night with dinner. I mentioned Adams Natural Peanut Butter, which has 12 grams per serving (one tablespoons). He said eat 1.5 tablespoons of peanut butter with every pill dosing and that will do it. DO NOT pour out the oil that floats on top when you open the container. Mix it in well with the rest of the peanut butter. That oil is an integral part of the fat. His explanation is that the fat embellishes the adsorption of the Riba to a maximum degree. Otherwise, it's up to you...

980756 tn?1313449508
it makes treatment so much easier!!!!!!
1747881 tn?1546179478
But Jay you live in a state that doesn't have MMJ. LOL sorry just had to point that out, I was born and raised in TX now I live in CO where MMJ is very popular. Unfortunatly I am in a trial and can't take advantage of the wonderful cure all.
Avatar universal
Of course, you would be on medical leave, right?  For those of us who would want to continue working, pot on the job is a NO NO.
419309 tn?1326506891
For those with progressing cirrhosis, please approach marijuana with caution.  Although in many states medical marijuana is legal and frequently prescribed, organ transplantation guidelines universally exclude illicit drug use INCLUDING marijuana.  Treatment for cirrhotics has the potential risk of accelerating decompensation and use of marijuana would remove the possibility of transplant in the event of liver failure. Certainly most people undergoing treatment would not need to be concerned about transplantation listing, but for Stage 4s, it's a risk/benefit equation that should be considered and discussed with your physician. ~eureka
Have an Answer?
Top Hepatitis Answerers
317787 tn?1473362051
683231 tn?1467326617
Auburn, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Answer a few simple questions about your Hep C treatment journey.

Those who qualify may receive up to $100 for their time.
Explore More In Our Hep C Learning Center
image description
Learn about this treatable virus.
image description
Getting tested for this viral infection.
image description
3 key steps to getting on treatment.
image description
4 steps to getting on therapy.
image description
What you need to know about Hep C drugs.
image description
How the drugs might affect you.
image description
These tips may up your chances of a cure.
Popular Resources
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child
This article will tell you more about strength training at home, giving you some options that require little to no equipment.
In You Can Prevent a Stroke, Dr. Joshua Yamamoto and Dr. Kristin Thomas help us understand what we can do to prevent a stroke.
Smoking substitute may not provide such a healthy swap, after all.