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Medical Marijuana Potpourri - Section 2
We will continue to discuss the emerging clinical applications for cannabis and cannabinoids. We will address the use of marijuana for the treatment of hepatitis C.
Editors' Note: Medical marijuana has become an important area of study in healthcare. Doctors and healthcare professionals must understand the medical, legal, social and political issues to best respond to their patients’ questions and attend to their needs. This content area is not intended to encourage or dissuade the use of medical marijuana, but has been created to provide a balanced portrayal of the research in this area. The Drug Enforcement Agency issued “The DEA Position on Marijuana” in January 2011, which is their most recent position statement and provides information about medical marijuana and issues related to the conflicts between federal and state law.
Hepatitis C is a viral disease of the liver that afflicts an estimated four million Americans. Chronic hepatitis C is typically associated with fatigue, depression, joint pain and liver impairment, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Patients diagnosed with hepatitis C frequently report using cannabis to treat both symptoms of the disease and the nausea associated with antiviral therapy.  An observational study by investigators at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) found that hepatitis C patients who used cannabis were significantly more likely to adhere to their treatment regimen than patients who didn't use it.  Nevertheless, no clinical trials assessing the use of cannabinoids for this indication are available in the scientific literature.