What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis literally means “liver inflammation”; it refers to any conditions that produces inflammation of liver tissue. There are 5 different types of hepatitis: A, B, C, D, and E; hepatitis D only occurs when hepatitis B is already present.
There are more than half a billion individuals - 500,000,000 - diagnosed with some form of hepatitis throughout the world; hepatitis causes over 1 million deaths each year. Symptoms often include upper-right abdominal pain, fatigue, poor appetite, and yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).
Hepatitis can be sexually transmitted (Hep B), spread through infected blood or bodily fluid (Hep B, C, and D), and caused by stress, shock, or toxicity, i.e. chronic alcoholism. Furthermore, because hepatitis represents a spectrum, some forms are easily treated and resolve on their own, especially cases of hepatitis A, while others are severe and can even progress to liver cancer.
All cases of hepatitis result from an inflammatory reaction induced by some sort of injury or damage to liver tissue. The resultant inflammation can sometimes cause more damage than the underlying cause, and these cases are usually less severe and some are even self-eradicating. Other cases cause enough chemical damage through inflammation and sclerosis (formation of scar tissue in cirrhosis) that fulminant liver failure occurs. A worst case scenario is untreated cirrhosis morphing into hepatocarcinoma, or a tumor of the liver cells.
Can CBD relieve causes/symptoms of hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a condition unique in its complexity because it characterizes a primary symptom (liver inflammation) that can be caused by literally hundreds of different stimuli. CBD is a versatile compound, and when it’s combined with other cannabinoids like cannabigerol and cannabichromene, it can unleash a powerful therapeutic effect on many different body systems.
By bolstering the activity of endocannabinoid receptors, and subsequently the mechanisms that the receptors control, these cannabinoids don’t exert one single effect like most drugs. Instead, they cause hundreds of more subtle changes that restore balance by overriding whatever destabilized the system in the first place.
The liver can be thought of as a blood filter. Everything that you consume, whether inhaled, swallowed, absorbed by skin, or even injected into your veins, is passed through your liver. The purpose is to remove toxins and degrade compounds that are not needed in your body any longer. For this reason, anything that is toxic becomes concentrated in liver tissue. This is the point where your circulatory, digestive, and immune systems all intersect.
Anti-Inflammatory properties of CBD
Maintaining chemical and functional balance throughout the body, or homeostasis, is the ultimate purpose of the liver. For this reason, homeostasis within the liver is vital for life. CBD coupled with other cannabinoids exerts a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, increasing the durability of liver tissue and allowing it to continue clearing toxins and waste from your blood. The inflammation that CBD prevents is the defining component of hepatitis. By delaying this process, liver tissue is preserved.
Antioxidant properties CBD
CBD is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are incredibly important for our health because what they prevent - oxidation - is a very destructive process that occurs as a byproduct of liver enzymes breaking down waste and poison in the blood. Oxygen is an highly reactive element. It is required for any kind of flame or combustion to take place. In a similar way, it reacts violently with many compounds in the body.
The liver breaks down large molecules that circulate in the blood and begins the process of degradation which the kidneys complete by producing urine. This process produces a large number of compounds called free radicals. Free radicals can be thought of as the opposite of antioxidants: they are highly reactive chemicals that harm our cells and initiate inflammation and other destructive processes. In fact, the immune system uses the rapid production of free radicals a method of eradicating parasitic or cancerous bodies. CBD causes the breakdown of these dangerous compounds before they can react with a more important molecule; perhaps a strand of DNA, or a dopamine molecule in a synapse.
By binding with free radicals, CBD prevents them from binding with a more vital cellular structure. Because of the nature of the liver’s purpose, that of a filter, free radicals accumulate there and exert damage on hepatic cells. For this reason, cannabinoids act as a buffer between the liver cells and the harm that their own byproducts can cause to them.