The two studies showed heavy drinkers who concurrently use cannabis are at a reduced risk of alcoholic-induced pancreatitis and alcoholic gastritis.
Those who partake in heavy alcohol drinking and also use cannabis are at a reduced risk of developing pancreatic gastritis and alcoholic gastritis compared to heavy drinkers who don’t use cannabis, according to a pair of new studies published in the journal Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research.
For the two studies, a team of researchers from the United States and Canada accessed nationwide samples to collect and compare the prevalence of alcohol-induced pancreatitis and alcoholic gastritis in adults 18 years and over.
Cannabis Use and Alcohol-Induced Pancreatitis
Alcohol-induced pancreatitis refers to progressive and sometimes irreversible damage of the pancreas gland caused by prolonged hazardous alcohol drinking.
In acute pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas lasts for a short period of time, causing mild to severe discomfort before resolving. Chronic pancreatitis is long-lasting inflammation of the pancreas. Both can be life threatening, and cause harm to other vital organs.
In the new study, researchers accessed discharge records data from 2012 to 2014 of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. They identified three populations: those with gallstones, individuals with alcohol use disorder, and non-alcohol users with no gallstones from 2012-2014. The groups were compared with respect to cannabis use.
“Our findings suggest a reduced incidence of only alcohol-associated pancreatitis with cannabis use,” the researchers concluded.
The investigators found that cannabis use did not appear to have any impact on the risk of developing gallstone-related acute and chronic pancreatitis, prompting them to speculate that cannabis may be interacting with alcohol in the pancreas in unknown ways to prevent inflammation.
Previous studies have linked cannabis use to less severe acute alcohol-related pancreatitis symptoms.
Full text of the new study, “Reduced risk of alcohol-induced pancreatitis with cannabis use,” is accessible through Wiley Online Library.
Cannabis Use and Alcoholic Gastritis
Alcoholic gastritis is caused when excessive alcohol use irritates or even erodes parts of the stomach lining, leaving it exposed to digestive acids.
To compare the prevalence of alcoholic gastritis in heavy drinkers who use cannabis and those who do not, researchers accessed hospital discharge records of adults from 2014 of the National Inpatient Sample.
The researchers found that heavy drinkers who concurrently consumed cannabis had a 25 percent decreased probability of developing alcoholic gastritis compared to non-cannabis heavy drinkers.
“We reveal that risky alcohol drinking combined with cannabis use is associated with reduced prevalence of alcohol-associated gastritis in patients,” the study authors wrote.
“Given increased cannabis legislation globally, understanding if and how the specific ingredients in cannabis plant extract can be used in the treatment of alcoholic gastritis is paramount. In this regard, further molecular mechanistic studies are needed to delineate the mechanisms of our novel findings not only for alcoholic gastritis but also gastritis from other causes.”
Full text of the new study, “Reduced prevalence of alcoholic gastritis in hospitalized individuals who consume cannabis,” is available to purchase through Wiley Online Library.
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