Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a viral disease that leads to swelling (inflammation) of the liver.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors.

There are many different ways of contracting The hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Hepatitis C has an acute and chronic form. Most people who are infected with the virus develop chronic hepatitis C.

The following symptoms could occur with hepatitis C infection:

  • Abdominal pain (right upper abdomen)
  • Abdominal swelling (due to fluid calledascites)
  • Bleeding from the esophagus or stomach (due to dilated veins in the esophagus or stomach called varices
  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Itching
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Pale or clay-colored stools
  • Vomiting

Benedikt Fischer, PhD, Director of the Illicit Drugs, Public Health and Policy Unit at the Centre for Addictions Research at the University of Victoria, and Jens Reimer, MD, a Research Psychiatrist at the Center for Interdisciplinary Addiction Research at the University of Hamburg, et al., stated in their Oct. 2006 article “Treatment for Hepatitis C Virus and Cannabis Use in Illicit Drug User Patients: Implications and Questions,” published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: “In fact, there is substantial evidence that cannabis use may help address key challenges faced by drug users in HCV treatment (e.g., nausea, depression), especially when such treatment occurs in the context of methadone maintenance treatment which may amplify these consequences.

While further research is required on the biological and clinical aspects of the benefits of cannabis use for HCV treatment, and the effectiveness of cannabis use for HCV treatment needs to be explored in larger study populations, we advocate that in the interim existing barriers to cannabis use are removed for drug users undergoing HCV treatment until the conclusive empirical basis for evidence-based guidance is available.”