Reduced Risk of Hepatic Steatosis in HIV/HCV Coinfection With Cannabis Use

fatty liver, hepatitis
fatty liver, hepatitis
Daily cannabis use remained significantly associated with lower odds of steatosis even after adjustment for BMI, which is known to be inversely correlated with cannabis use.

Daily cannabis use was shown to be associated with a reduced risk for liver steatosis among individuals co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C, according to the results of a recent study published in the Journal of Viral Hepatitis.

In this analysis of patients from a French cohort of people co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C, the association of steatosis and cannabis use was evaluated. Ultrasound examination was used to determine the presence of steatosis, and self-administered questionnaires collected sociobehavioral data, including cannabis use frequency.

A total of 40.1% (n=336/838) of study participants had liver steatosis. Most participants did not use or only occasionally used cannabis (74.7%), followed by daily use (14.0%) or regular use (11.7%).

Daily cannabis use was more common among patients who were negative for steatosis compared with those who were positive (16.1% vs 10.7%; P =.08). After adjusting for body mass index, hazardous alcohol consumption, and current or lifetime use of lamivudine or zidovudine, daily cannabis use was correlated with a lower risk for steatosis (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.64; 95% CI, 0.42-0.99; P =.046).

Other factors associated with liver steatosis included high body mass index (adjusted OR 1.93; P =.02), current or lifetime exposure for lamivudine or zidovudine (adjusted OR 1.51; P =.01), and hazardous alcohol consumption (adjusted OR 1.73; P =.03).

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In an interview with Infectious Disease Advisor, Patrizia Carrieri, epidemiologist at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research INSERM UMR 912, Marseilles, France, and senior author on the study, concluded that, “although we hypothesize that the association between lower steatosis risk and cannabis use may be attributable to the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis, we must remain cautious about causality.”


Nordmann S, Vilotitch A, Roux P, et al; ANRS CO13 HEPAVIH Study Group. Daily cannabis and reduced risk of steatosis in human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C virus co-infected patients (ANRS CO13-HEPAVIH) [published online October 6, 2017]. J Viral Hepat. doi: 10.1111/jvh.12797