HIV/AIDS weakens the immune system, making those living with the virus more susceptible to infections and cancers. Current treatment options include antiretroviral drugs that help prolong survival. Cannabis may be helpful in treating the debilitating symptoms and unwanted side effects like pain, nausea, appetite loss, wasting syndrome, and emotional decline.
One study published in Aids Research and Human Retroviruses found THC lowers the number of HIV particles, also known as the viral load, and prolongs survival in patients. A study from NIH revealed the activation of CB2 receptors inhibits the ability of HIV to spread to specific cells, which reduces the frequency of infected cells by 30-60%. One study published in PubMed found cannabis inhalation reduced neuropathic pain by 34% without serious adverse side effects. This suggests cannabis would be effective in relieving the numbness or pain patients experience in their hands and feet, one of the most common neurological complications of HIV infection. Another study in PubMed found 97% HIV/AIDS patients reported cannabis improved their appetites. Lastly, a JAIDS study found patients were 3.3 times more likely to continue with their treatment regimens if they supplemented their medications with cannabis, which reduces their side effects.
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