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In the 1980’s no disease caused a greater national health scare than that of HIV/AIDS.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by becoming infected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV attacks the body’s protective white blood cells. This leaves the body with little or no defense against dangerous infections such as meningitis, pneumonia, encephalitis, tuberculosis, chronic diarrhea, and even various cancers.

If you or a loved one has HIV or AIDS the primary treatment option involves a mixture of medications aimed at slowing down the progression of the disease. This treatment is known as High Active Antiretroviral Therapy. Additional medications may be prescribed to manage the symptoms, AIDS-related opportunistic infections, and side effects of other prescription drugs.

About one third of HIV/AIDS patients complain of severe pain and neuropathy from the antiviral medications. Other common adverse responses to the medications are anxiety, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss and a wasting syndrome – this is where they lose more than 10% of their body weight.

These side effects and symptoms can be so severe that patients frequently lack the energy to take their medications, and even when they do take them, often their digestive systems can’t handle it.

With the knowledge and scientific proof that chemicals in the cannabis plant can reduce nausea and vomiting, a growing number of HIV/AIDS patients have turned to medical cannabis to treat their HIV/AIDS-related symptoms. Patients that use medical cannabis have been reported to stick to their antiretroviral therapy regimens 3.3 times more than non-cannabis users.

A 2007 study by investigators at Columbia University reported that HIV/AIDS patients who smoked cannabis experienced increases in appetite and food intake and no impairment of cognitive performance. They concluded:
“Smoked marijuana … has a clear medical benefit in HIV-positive [subjects].”

Also a 2007 report in the journal “Neurology” stated that inhaling cannabis significantly reduced HIV-associated nerve pain compared to placebo. The researchers concluded that smoked cannabis was well tolerated and effectively relieved chronic neuropathic pain from HIV-associated neuropathy [in a manner] similar to oral drugs used for chronic neuropathic pain.

In 2008, researchers from UC San Diego reported that smoking cannabis significantly reduced the intensity of neuropathic pain in HIV/AIDS patients compared to placebo, when added to stable pain relievers.

The findings suggest that cannabinoid therapy may be an effective option for pain relief in patients with medically unmanageable pain due to HIV.

Additionally, in recent clinical trials, smoking cannabis has shown to be responsible for increased levels of appetite hormones in the blood of subjects with HIV infection.

So if you or a loved one is suffering from the pain and discomfort of living with HIV/AIDS, speak with your medical practitioner or dispensary technician to see which cannabis treatment option is best to combat those symptoms.

Visit our website for more medical marijuana information.