While HIV/AIDS treatments have proven effective for treating the virus itself and have significantly extended the lifespan of patients, they produce a wide range of negative side effects. Studies have shown cannabis may able to reduce these side effects associated with the medications, so that patients can continue to undergo treatment without discomfort. A study from 2014 in Canada found 38.5% of its study participants used cannabis while undergoing treatment for HIV/AIDS. Of those users, 80% reported cannabis relieved HIV-related stress and pain.
HIV/AIDS patients often lose their appetites, which results in rapid weight loss. The loss of nutrients exacerbates other symptoms and puts patients in danger of risking infections. In 2007, a study found cannabis increased caloric intake and body weight in spite of the negative side effects of HIV medications like nausea and vomiting. HIV/AIDS patients also experience pain, specifically peripheral neuropathy. In one study that looked at cannabis in relation to HIV-induced nerve pain found, 50% of patients smoked cannabis three times a daily for five days. These patients reported a 34% reduction in pain, results that are similar to the pain relief provided by traditional oral drugs. Lastly, there is evidence to suggest cannabis may act as an immune modulator and anti-viral agent, however this information has not been concluded in human trials. Another longitudinal study over the course of a decade found cannabis use was associated with lower viral loads.
This information has been provided by MassRoots and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.