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Public Health


Manoj Sharma


The quantity of marijuana use, the length of time it was used, and the age of initiation of the drug are at the core of the discussions about the potential health effects of marijuana use on the liver. Results of recent studies regarding how the drug affects human health have resulted in a number of conflicting conclusions. Nevertheless, based on these findings, marijuana users are being denied liver transplants. The objective of this study was to identify predictors of the health effects of marijuana on the liver and provide guidance in the care management of marijuana users. To address the inconsistencies in the research findings, this study was designed to investigate possible associations between the quantity of marijuana use, the duration of use, and the age of initiation as they relate changes in liver enzymes. Data from a random sample of 702 participants obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed in a least square linear regression model. The study found that the quantity of marijuana use has a significant effect on the serum total bilirubin (TB) level with an apparent detrimental effect on the serum level of TB, R2 = .106, F(3, 19) = 4.859, p < .05, 95% CI [-.896, -.175]. The duration of use significantly affects the serum level of alkaline phosphatase, R2 =.074, F(4, 18) = 4.661, p < .05, 95% CI [.00, .004] and total protein, R2 = .077 F(4, 18) = 3.401, p < .05, 95% CI [-.013, .000]. The age of initiation failed to have a significant health effect on any liver enzymes. This study has the potential to improve care management for marijuana users by helping to accelerate the diagnosis process and by improving the policy of liver transplant denial for marijuana users.