In a large cross-sectional study of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, cannabis use was inversely associated with diabetes, according to research results presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases’ The Liver Meeting, held November 8 to 12, 2019, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Cannabis may benefit liver disease outcomes for individuals with chronic HCV infection. However, existing literature supports a lower likelihood among individuals who were co-infected with HIV and HCV and who reported using cannabis for developing insulin resistance. To better understand if use of cannabis is related to presence of diabetes in individuals with chronic HCV infection, researchers conducted a study of patients with HCV (N=9874) from a French national multicenter cohort. They assessed the relationship between presence of diabetes and patient characteristics at enrollment, including behavioral factors such as smoking, cannabis and alcohol use, and coffee consumption, using multivariable logistic regression models.

The median age of the study population at enrollment was 56 years (interquartile range, 50-64 years). Overall, 13.4% of patients had diabetes and 37.0% reported ever using cannabis. Lifetime cannabis use was inversely associated with diabetes, with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.71 (95% CI, 0.60-0.83) after adjustment for several variables.

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Behavioral characteristics that were linked to a greater odds of having diabetes included tobacco smoking (OR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.05-1.42) and alcohol abstinence (OR for nondrinkers vs drinkers, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.25-1.62). Conversely, heavy coffee consumption, defined as ≥3 cups per day, was associated with lower odds of having diabetes (OR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.74-0.98).

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“These results echo with previous ones suggesting potential benefits of cannabis use regarding metabolic and liver diseases,” wrote the researchers, adding that more research is needed “to elucidate a potential causal link and shed light on cannabis compounds and mechanisms involved in such a relationship.”

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Barré T, Nishimwe M, Protopopescu C, et al. Cannabis use is inversely associated with diabetes in chronic HCV-infected patients (ANRS CO22 Hepather cohort). Presented at: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases: The Liver Meeting; November 8-12, 2019; Boston, MA. Abstract 0739.

This article originally appeared on Infectious Disease Advisor