Medical Benefits AIDS


A study published in 2004 showed that roughly a quarter of all AIDS patients were using cannabis as a means of pain or anxiety relief, to curb nausea, and to help improve their appetites, but this should not come as a surprise because it is widely recognized that medical marijuana's anti-emetic and analgesic properties are beneficial in the treatment of HIV and AIDS-related symptoms.

Several different organizations, including the U.K House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, the Australian National Task Force on Cannabis, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) have reviewed the use of cannabis for AIDS treatment. The IOM's research, specifically, came to the conclusion that, "For patients such as those with AIDS or who are undergoing chemotherapy and who suffer simultaneously from severe pain, nausea, and appetite loss, cannabinoid drugs might offer broad-spectrum relief not found in any other single medication."

AIDS Wasting Syndrome

Before the invention of protease-inhibitor drugs, AIDS wasting syndrome was a common complication of HIV infection, causing extreme weight loss and cachexia (loss of weight and appetite, fatigue, and muscle atrophy), which symptoms serve to increase the debilitation of patients who are already living with compromised or failing immune systems and (in some cases) other opportunistic infections (i.e. pneumonia).

Because the common side effects of cannabis use include an increased appetite, as well as the relief of other AIDS symptoms, either medical-grade marijuana or cannabinoid drugs (drugs synthesized from cannabis), are frequently employed as alternative treatment in the United States, Canada, and Europe. In those parts of the world, such as Africa, where marijuana is not readily available or affordable, the wasting syndrome is still a significant risk for AIDS patients, and has entered the cultural vernacular as the "slim disease."

In the 1970s, human clinical trials began to catalog the ability of cannabis to stimulate both weight gain and increased food intake in healthy volunteers. In a randomized trial using actual AIDS patients, THC, a component of cannabis, was shown to significantly increase appetite and decrease nausea, as compared to the effects of taking placebos. While unwanted effects were usually moderate to mild, the trials showed that patients' moods improved, as well as their weight. These results made the case for the use of cannabis as an HIV/AIDS treatment, as determined by the American Institute of Medicine.
In addition to studying the effects of cannabis alone, a safety trial conducted by the University of California at San Francisco determined that inhaled marijuana does not interfere with the function or efficacy of protease inhibitors.

Use for Pain Relief

Since those original studies, cannabis-based drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the form of Dronabinol, also known as "oral THC" or "Marinol," to be used as an appetite stimulant and anti-emitic for AIDS and cancer chemotherapy patients, and trials involving its use as a pain relief therapy are continually under way, especially since a recent study showed that over 30% of HIV/AIDS patients suffer excruciating pain in response to their anti-retroviral drug therapies.

As research into the medical benefits of cannabis continue, so will the ways it will be used to treat pain and other illnesses.

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Guest | Jun 2, 2012
This is an awesome article! I love your views on this subject and I think a lot like you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Guest | Apr 24, 2012
What a miracle. Marijuana is just one great drug :)
Guest | Nov 9, 2011
Im with the guy on ron pauk
| Jul 13, 2011
The fact that people can now choose to smoke mmj or keep taking their heavy hardcore narcotics , like oxys, is great. The mmj community needs to make it well known that mmj has these benifits and its not always "stoners" getting their rec.
Guest | May 23, 2011
If you want to get rid of government intrusion on this issue, Vote for Ron Paul in 2012.
Kushie Q | May 1, 2011
Just another time when we see the benefits of MMJ. For patients that truly are in need, give them what ever they need to survive. The pain, the suffering should be a thing of the past. But if a little weed helps them, why should anyone, anywhere tell them differently.
MrDoc | Mar 31, 2011
I love the fact that cannabis helps people from sore bodies, to glaucoma, to myself, to people with harsh diseases such as AIDS. Taking opioid pain pills can definitely cause more problems for people with immune deficient bodies but at the point of being in so much pain, I believe it is worth the quality of life to take pain pills. I have an immune deficient body and take them in combination with cannabis which I use much more to alleviate pains/aches from Lupus. I would imagine that smoking would affect AIDS patients in the same fashion, reducing pain/aches and just a option of relief that doesn't require digestion or food in your stomach so you don't burn a hole in your gut.
CannabisGril | Mar 21, 2011
Miracle Marijuana is what it should really be called ;)
lindzzz | Mar 15, 2011
This is another example of why marijuana really is a natural miracle. Instead of taking harmful opioid pain pills, a person with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome can use marijuana without any adverse effect on their organs, which are already in a precarious state. The article states that about 25% of AIDS patients used medical cannabis in 2004, and I would imagine that this number is much larger now because experiments are constantly showing more and more benefits of medical cannabis. How much more proof does the federal government need before they comprehend that marijuana needs to be legalized?