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.

Marijuana May Stop The Spread Of HIV, Study Finds

LOUISIANA: Marijuana has long been used to effectively treat symptoms associated with HIV, such as chronic pain and weight loss. But a growing body of research suggests the plant may be able to stop the spread of the disease itself.

Adding to these findings is a Louisiana State University study published last week in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. For 17 months, scientists administered a daily dose of THC, an active ingredient in cannabis, to monkeys infected with an animal form of the virus. Over the course of that period, scientists found that damage to immune tissue in the primates’ stomachs, one of the most common areas in the body for HIV infection to spread, decreased. [Read more…]