According to a survey published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, HIV patients experienced a great deal of relief from anxiety, pain, and depression, and also had significantly increased appetite when using medical marijuana in combination with their regular treatment. The HIV patients also reported feeling an overall increase in pleasure when taking medical marijuana.
HIV is affecting millions of people on the planet, and the numbers kept on growing. At the end of 2018, the virus was affecting 37.9 million people. But, thanks to thousands of key population networks and community health workers – most of whom are affected by HIV or living with the virus, 79% of these HIV positive patients have received testing, 62% of them have received treatment, and there are 53% that have suppressed HIV into a state that has reduced chances of contagion or infecting others. On World AIDS Day 2019, the World Health Organization highlighted the difference brought about by these HIV support communities to end the global epidemic while calling out the need to strengthen more primary health care with medical cannabis.
Ever since the dawn of the HIV epidemic, HIV patients have been using or self-medicating with marijuana to ease complications of the disease such as symptoms of HIV wasting syndrome and associated side effects from antiretroviral drugs. While there is already a new generation of drugs to help greatly reduce these complications, HIV patients still embrace medical marijuana as a means to alleviate the weight loss, nausea, pain, and depression that usually accompanies the virus. There has even been a few evidence that suggests long-term benefits with medical marijuana and HIV, that it may be effectively slowing or even preventing the virus from progression.
So, what are the facts supporting medical marijuana and HIV? Are there studies that support the claim that marijuana is a welcome helping hand for people dealing with HIV?
According to a survey published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, HIV patients experienced a great deal of relief from anxiety, pain, and depression, and also had significantly increased appetite when using medical marijuana in combination with their regular treatment. HIV patients also reported feeling an overall increase in pleasure when taking medical marijuana.
Medical Cannabis and HIV
The early 1980s to mid-1990s have seen the greatest number of HIV-related deaths and illnesses in the United States. The first-generation of medicines for HIV wasn’t very effective and had bad side effects. HIV patients living during those days also experienced illnesses such as HIV wasting syndrome, Kaposi’s sarcoma, and AIDS dementia. The so-called HIV wasting syndrome was, in fact, the condition that started the link between medical cannabis and HIV. Due to limited treatment options for HIV at that time, doctors presumed that the appetite-increasing effects of marijuana could be very beneficial to those HIV patients experiencing unexplained and profound weight loss. This symptomatic treatment from medical cannabis was cut off when marijuana became banned in clinical settings during the mid-1980s to early 1990s, so the doctors prescribed another medicine called Marinol. Marinol is actually just a synthetic form of THC – the most active ingredient found in marijuana that gives us the high when smoking or ingesting marijuana. While this new drug, Marinol proved successful, a lot of HIV patients still preferred marijuana’s instant hit.
Aside from marijuana’s appetite-stimulating properties, a painful nerve condition associated with early-generation HIV drugs called peripheral neuropathy was another reason HIV patients supplement with medical marijuana. There have been various different studies on the analgesic effects of medical marijuana in treating peripheral neuropathy. One study, in particular, published in Neurology journal, has shown results on measuring the effects of smoked marijuana versus a non-THC marijuana placebo on HIV patients with peripheral neuropathy. The results show that 34% of HIV-associated peripheral neuropathy was reduced by smoking marijuana, while only 17% with the placebo group and more than half of those that took medical marijuana reported an improvement. This proves to show that medical cannabis is greatly comparable to current oral medications for HIV-associated peripheral neuropathy.
Another area where medical marijuana should prove to be a breakthrough with more research effort is put in, is the allegation that marijuana may, in fact, slow disease progression in HIV patients. There has been a study conducted at Louisiana State University in 2014 highlighting the correlation between lower levels of viral activity and better survival rates in SIV-infected monkeys and daily doses of THC (the active ingredient of marijuana). SIV is the simian form of HIV, and the monkeys taking THC has shown a significant spike in CD4+ T-cells. According to this study, medical marijuana in the form of THC has decreased immune tissue damage of the gut- HIV infection’s primary site. By doing this, marijuana showed a decrease in HIV progression significantly and helped maintain a healthy immune response.
Another Cannabis and HIV study yet to come is one from the University of Florida – with an approved budget of 3.2 million US dollars from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for a five-year study on Marijuana and HIV. This is a great deal for HIV patients, providing a chance to unlock marijuana’s natural healing powers and prove the effectiveness of previous related studies. Medical marijuana has been proven successful in treating symptoms of other ailments – both mental and physical, and a breakthrough against one of the world’s widespread could mean a better life for our family and loved ones infected with HIV.
Aside from the effects of medical marijuana on different ailments caused by HIV, it also helps a great deal against the mental health effects. Suffering from HIV comes with extreme stress and anxiety for most people, even leading to depression in some. Medical marijuana has proven effective in greatly reducing these conditions and helping keep the calm. With the legalization of marijuana and medical marijuana in different states in the country, access to medical marijuana is very easy. HIV patients need not fear taking medical marijuana under the advice of a physician or certified medical marijuana professionals. Medical Marijuana stores such as Enjoymint Delivered offers a variety of medical marijuana products for the needs of the HIV patient. Understanding some of the HIV patients’ need for discretion for sensitive health issues, Enjoymint Delivered delivers only high-quality and professionally handled marijuana products straight to the patients’ doorstep. The medical marijuana professionals in Enjoymint Delivered also provide advice and product reviews, and recommendations to a doctor online. Enjoymint Delivered aims to push awareness and provide amazing health benefits from the soil of the Earth to HIV patients. Enjoymint Delivered stands as one with the medical marijuana professionals, enthusiasts, researchers, and patients to fight this debilitating virus.