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Study finds that cannabis may not negatively impact liver transplant patients

Researchers Find Cannabis May Not Have Negative Implications After a Liver Transplant

Could cannabis use affect liver transplant patients negatively? That’s the question science has been aiming to answer through research efforts over the last few years. Questions about the safety of cannabis use after liver transplants have recently been reviewed again in scientific research efforts. Once again, research seems to confirm there may be no need for patients who have recently undergone a liver transplant to worry if they choose to use medical cannabis. Let’s take a closer look at the most recent findings, the prior findings, and what you should know.

The Latest Research on Cannabis Use After Liver Transplant

In January 2021, a new study was published in the journal of Clinical Transplantation by researchers from organizations like the Dumont-UCLA Transplant and Liver Cancer and the Division of Liver and Pancreas Transplantation. The study examined 900 liver transplant patients before and after the procedure to determine if cannabis use caused any difference. The researchers concluded there were no major differences in survival rates during the procedure, post-operative outcomes, or post-operative complications among cannabis users and non-cannabis users.

The study did note that there were significant differences between both users and non-users where demographics, pre-transplant ICU admissions, and more. At this time, larger studies may be needed to confirm the findings, but the researcher did state that the new findings may offer guidance for liver transplant patients looking to use medical cannabis.

Former Research on Cannabis and Liver Transplant Patients

In 2009, a comparative study found there were no added risks for liver transplant patients who chose to use cannabis. The researchers at that time stated that both users and non-users appeared to have similar rates of survival after the procedure. So, medical researchers have been examining cannabis use and its effect on transplant patients for at least over a decade.

The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases published a study in 2019 to determine how pre-transplant cannabis use could impact the outcome of liver transplant surgery. That particular study led to researchers noting that even though smoking tobacco could be detrimental to a liver transplant patient, cannabis use did not seem to affect the outcome of the surgery. It was further mentioned that there didn’t seem to be any major difference with respiratory problems or intubation in cannabis-using patients who had undergone a liver transplant.

How Science Can Benefit the Laws Surrounding Cannabis Use and Transplants

Previously, patients have been turned away from getting on the list to get certain organ donations if they were using medical marijuana. However, a few states like Maine and California have stepped forward to try to keep patients who needed an organ transplant from being denied inclusion on organ transplant lists simply because they used cannabis. Studies show cannabis use poses no major risks and could offer valuable ammunition for lawmakers who are trying to protect the rights of medical marijuana users. Hopefully, as time goes on, more of these established research efforts will mean patients who do use cannabis can be treated as if they were only using any other medicine. At Standing Akimbo, we wholeheartedly believe that’s how it should be.