Study: Cannabis Use Likely Associated With Reduced Mental Decline In HIV Patients

MICHIGAN: Cannabis use is associated with reduced neuro-inflammation in HIV patients – a result that likely reduces cognitive declines typically associated with the disease, according to clinical data published ahead of print in the journal AIDS.

Investigators at Michigan State University evaluated the relationship between cannabis use and chronic brain inflammation in patients with HIV. Investigators reported that those subjects who consumed cannabis possessed a far fewer number of inflammatory white blood cells, known as monocytes, than non-users.

“This decrease of cells could slow down, or maybe even stop, the inflammatory process, potentially helping patients maintain their cognitive function longer,” the study’s lead author concluded in a press statement.

Data published in September reported that cannabis exposure is also associated with significantly higher CD4+ and CD8+ counts in HIV patients. Authors concluded: “THC positive patients [have] better HIV-related immune levels than their negative counterparts, despite not being statistically different on various demographic HIV-related covariates. … The current findings suggest a potentially beneficial role to marijuana, additional to symptom palliation.”


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “HIV-infected cannabis users have lower circulating CD16+ monocytes and IP-10 levels compared to non-using HIV patients,” appears in AIDS.

Study: Cannabis Exposure Associated With Improved Immunity In HIV Patients

PENNSYLVANIA:Patients with HIV who test positive for past cannabis exposure possess significantly higher CD4+ and CD8+ counts than do those patients who test negative for the substance, according to data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. CD4+ and CD8+ cells are a subtype of white blood cells that assist in the immune process.

A team of investigators from Virginia State University and the University of Florida Center for AIDS/HIV Research assessed differences in the lymphocyte count among HIV patients whose urinalysis tested negative for THC and those who tested positive for THC.

Authors reported: “After adjusting for demographic and HIV-related covariates, THC-positive patients had significantly higher CD4+ and CD8+ counts than their THC-negative counterparts. … The current findings are in line with previous research, reporting daily marijuana users have higher CD4+ cell counts and lower viral load than their non-using and infrequent using counterparts.”

They concluded: “This preliminary study shows THC positive patients having better HIV-related immune levels than their negative counterparts, despite not being statistically different on various demographic HIV-related covariates. … The current findings suggest a potentially beneficial role to marijuana, additional to symptom palliation.”

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Confirmed marijuana use and lymphocyte count in black people living with HIV,” appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.