Cannabis use is associated with lower levels of fatty liver (steatosis)

This was a cross-sectional study designed to determine if there is a correlation between cannabis use and liver steatosis (fatty liver) and fibrosis (liver scar tissue, or stiffness). It was published in the journal PLOS One in May 2023.

The data came from 2622 participants in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) who received a complete non-invasive vibration controlled transient elastography (VCTE) test between 2017 and 2018. This test allowed certified technicians to assess parameters that indicate liver steatosis and fibrosis.

Included were 1287 males and 1335 females with an average age of 40 (range: 20-79). 

The self-reported cannabis use history of participants:

  • Never (45.9%)
  • Past (35%)
  • Current (19.1%)


Over 41% of the participants displayed signs of some liver steatosis. The participants who had never used cannabis were about 3.4 times more likely to show evidence of liver steatosis than current users.

About 7.5% of participants displayed signs of some liver fibrosis, however there were no significant differences between the 3 cannabis use groups.

Results and conclusions:

The prevalence of steatosis was 50.3% in participants who never used marijuana, 35% in participants who were past users, and 14.7% in current users.

past and current users had a lower prevalence of liver steatosis

current marijuana use is inversely associated with steatosis

The association between marijuana use and liver fibrosis was not significant


The full text article is here at PubMed.