Hepatitis C is a viral infection that attacks the liver, sometimes leading to serious liver damage. It is usually transmitted through exposure to infected blood. All hepatitis C begins with an acute phase and, left untreated, can become a long-term infection known as chronic hepatitis C.
How Does Hepatitis C Develop?
Acute hepatitis C can be a short-term illness occurring within the first six months of being exposed to the hepatitis C virus. However, approximately 75-85% of people who become infected with the virus will develop chronic hepatitis C, which can cause serious health problems including liver damage, cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer, and even death. Symptoms can take years to appear.
While hepatitis C used to commonly be spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants, better blood screening means that most people today become infected with the hepatitis C virus by sharing needles to inject drugs. Other forms of transmission can include needlestick injuries in health care settings, infants born to a mother who has hepatitis C and getting a tattoo or piercing in an unregulated setting.
Managing Side Effects with Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana has been known to be particularly helpful in reducing the nausea associated with antiviral treatment. A small study reported in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology reported that moderate medical marijuana use could be benefit hepatitis C patients “by helping them maintain adherence to the challenging medication regimen.”
The information provided should not be used as a substitution for physician knowledge. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment with medicinal marijuana.