Marijuana Offers Sweet Relief For HIV / AIDS Patients
Wikipedia defines AIDS/HIV as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/Human Immunodeficiency Virus. During the initial infection a person may experience a brief period of influenza-like illness. This is typically followed by a prolonged period without symptoms. As the illness progresses it interferes more and more with the immune system, making the person much more likely to get infections, and tumors that do not usually affect people who have working immune systems. AIDS/HIV also damages a person’s immune system, often leading to immunodeficiency, a condition where the immune system can no longer fight off common germs and pathogens.
Studies conducted around the world have shown that there are multiple health benefits of marijuana for those suffering from AIDS/HIV. Marijuana has been identified to help reduce the following symptoms in HIV patients: nausea, lack of appetite, nerve pain, anxiety, depression, and sleeping problems.
In 2007, investigators at Columbia University published their clinical trial data showing that HIV/AIDS patients who inhaled cannabis four times daily experienced substantial increases in food intake with little evidence of discomfort and no impairment of cognitive performance. They concluded that smoked cannabis has a clear medical benefit in HIV-positive patients.
Also in 2007, The American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM) stated in Reason Magazine on Oct. 8, 2007 that: "When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients."
In 2008 researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that marijuana significantly reduces HIV-related neuropathic pain when added to a patient's already-prescribed pain management regimen and may be an "effective option for pain relief" in those whose pain is not controlled with current medications. Mood disturbance, physical disability, and quality of life all improved significantly during study treatment.
More recently in 2012, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers have discovered that marijuana-like chemicals trigger receptors on human immune cells that can directly inhibit a type of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) found in late-stage AIDS, according to new findings published online in the journal PLoS ONE. It is said to be the first study to reveal how the marijuana receptors found on immune cells -- called cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 -- can influence the spread of the virus. "We knew that cannabinoid drugs like marijuana can have a therapeutic effect in AIDS patients, but did not understand how they influence the spread of the virus itself," said study author Cristina Costantino, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "We wanted to explore cannabinoid receptors as a target for pharmaceutical interventions that treat the symptoms of late-stage AIDS and prevent further progression of the disease without the undesirable side effects of medical marijuana."
This is all good news for sufferers of AIDS/HIV. Persons with AIDS/HIV can be encouraged. Although there is no cure so far, at least most of the symptoms of AIDS/HIV can be minimized from the use of marijuana.