CAN MEDICAL MARIJUANA HELP TREATING HIV?
Another sore subject attracted our attention – HIV. We tried to gather proving facts, that medical marijuana could be an effective remedy for this condition.
COULD BE HIV CONTROLLED?
HIV or human immunodeficiency virus and subsequent AIDS are destroying conditions, that already killed approximately 36 million since 1980s.
HIV attacks the immune system of a person, consequently various infections overwhelm the organism resulting in related to infections diseases and cancers.
That’s why it’s so complicated to treat HIV/AIDS, and still there is no cure for it. It’s only possible to control it with powerful and highly toxic medications as zidovudine (AZT), lamivudine (3TC) and antiretroviral therapy, or “ART”. Quite predictably they develop severe after-effects such as significant nausea, loss of appetite and weight, bone loss, chronic diarrhea and the loss of cognitive function.
MMJ vs. HIV-CAUSED CONDITIONS
The helpful remedy, that can alleviate the above mentioned conditions of the long-term drug therapy and the disease itself is, of course, medical marijuana.
According to 2005 survey conducted on 523 HIV-positive patients a large number of patients reported that cannabis improved symptom control. The astonishing indicators report, that for example 97% of patients improved their appetite, 93% could manage nausea, 90% nerve pain and 86% depression.
One more placebo-controlled within-subjects study, conducted in 2007 on the effects of smoked cannabis and dronabinol (a synthetic form of THC), showed increased daily caloric intake and body weight in HIV-positive marijuana smokers in comparison with placebo.
MMJ vs. HIV-CAUSED PAIN
HIV/AIDS is accompanied also by a debilitating peripheral neuropathy. This state is described as pain, twitching, paresthesia, muscle loss and impaired coordination. A series of
studies show that medical cannabis work wonders here also. For instance, citing published in the Journal of Pain in 2008 a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover study “cannabis can be effective at neuropathic pain, and may be an alternative for patients who do not respond to, or cannot tolerate, other drugs”.
A vast survey of 1,217 respondents conducted in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Colombia and Taiwan in 2007 aimed at revealing self-care methods of managing peripheral neuropathy found that among several behaviors that are often deemed unhealthy 67 patients reported the use of cannabis to improve their symptoms.
Between May 2003 and May 2005 the inpatient General Clinical Research Center conducted one more randomized placebo-controlled trial “to determine the effect of smoked cannabis on the neuropathic pain of HIV-associated sensory neuropathy and an experimental pain model”. According to it the first cannabis cigarette reduced chronic pain by a median of 72% in comparison with 15% placebo. Among fifty patients completed the entire trial, pain was reduced by over 30% in 52% of the cannabis-using group and by just 24% of the control group. We were also drawn to a short, but extremely important sentence: “No serious adverse events were reported”.
To continue pain issue some words about analgesic effect of medical marijuana for HIV/AIDS patients should be said. A survey, conducted in 2005, shows, that “94% of respondents experienced relief from muscle pain as a result of using cannabis; 90% also reported improvement in neuropathy (nerve pain) and 85% in paresthesia (burning, tingling and prickling sensations)”. Numerous studies to prove that point were also conducted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the United Kingdom’s (House of Lords) Science and Technology Committee, the Australian National Task Force on Cannabis, and others.
Some giving hope and promising discoveries about potential efficacy of medical marijuana in treating HIV and AIDS were found in the study, the results of which were published in 2008. It reports, that therapeutically potential denbinobin, that can be extracted from a variety of Cannabis sativa, can work against certain HIV-1 compounds. As HIV replicates, there are many different forms of HIV. However, there are also two separate viruses: HIV-1 and HIV-2. The most common type found around the world is HIV type 1, so when someone refers to HIV, then they are probably referring to HIV-1.
The recent Daily Chronic’s report says that a new study conducted in Michigan State University, investigated the influence of cannabis and chronic brain inflammation in patients with HIV, shows that HIV-infected consumers of cannabis had far less inflammatory white blood cells. This may be significant in preserving the cognitive function longer.
MMJ AND HIV-CAUSED NAUSEA
Nausea is a common side-effect of numerous diseases, especially severe ones, that are treated with the strongest therapies and drugs. No wonder, that HIV-patients state it as a top symptom along with cancer patients going through chemotherapy.
It’s well-known, that intake of a man-made drug on the basis of cannabis Dronabinol (Marinol) to withstand weight loss is also very efficient in reducing of nausea. But as different people are prone to the same treatment in different ways, no wonder that the majority chooses the natural way of consuming medical marijuana to alleviate vomit. Such strains as Big Bud, Cheese, Super Silver Haze and Girl Scout Cookies are considered to be helpful to combat with gastrointestinal issues.
MMJ AND IMMUNITY
Found in our organism cannabinoid receptors, that compose the endocannabinoid system, mainly CB1 and CB2 connect cannabinoids of medical marijuana and our body. They are responsible for the series of functions, one of which is maintaining immunity.
One of the first, Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers, found out, that activating an antagonist cannabinoid receptor CB2 leads to the suppression of the infection in resting immune cells, that are essentially important for HIV to spread. Thus, it’ll block the development of HIV and alleviate its symptoms.
Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia researchers evaluated the influence of synthetic THC agonists on HIV-infected macrophage cells. It was estimated, that for about a week consumption of synthetic cannabinoid agonists result in a significant release of HIV reproduction.
A November published study determined, that the number of lymphocytes in HIV-infected objects consumed marijuana is higher, rather than in those, who don’t use it. As it’s known, lymphocytes are responsible for maintaining immunity.
What’s more important, published in January of 2017 An Evidence Review and Research Agenda on The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids summoned the majority of studies on the relations of MMJ and immunity function of the organism and pointed out, that researches are scarce and quite narrow specifically, but no adverse effects of medical cannabis is found, and this may also be a good presupposition for further research and use of medical marijuana to alleviate some conditions.
HOW CAN MMJ BE HELPFUL FOR KSHV?
Speaking about HIV-1, another serious disorder should be mentioned, such as kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). Put it into primitive words, it’s a tumor virus. KSHV is not pathogenic in most otherwise healthy individuals, but is highly oncogenic in HIV-1 infected people. There was a study, published in 2012, showing, that “Cannabidiol (CBD), a plant-derived cannabinoid, exhibits promising antitumor effects without inducing psychoactive side effects”. As tumors are known for replicating and enormously increasing, KSHV is not an exception. Of course cannabinoids don’t heal it completely, but reduce tumour’s proliferation, thus increasing the lifetime of a HIV patient. This study estimates the importance of further research, as the results are really inspiring.
By the way, those who have been victims of HIV, widely use CBD oil to treat a persistent skin rash or flaky skin again due to the same reason: CBD controls abnormally growing cell multiplication and possesses a calming effect.
STATES THAT APPROVED MMJ FOR HIV
Almost all the US states approved HIV as a medical condition for the treatment of HIV/AIDS:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
- Maryland (MMJ may be prescribed for patients of any disease or condition that causes chronic pain)
- Washington D.C. (any condition can be approved for MMJ as long as a DC-licensed physician recommends the treatment).
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