While a cure for HIV and AIDS has not yet been developed, cannabis may provide temporary relief of symptoms (e.g. nausea, neuropathic pain, and depression). Although research on cannabis is limited, some studies claim that it can have positive effects on your health. Denbinobin, a cannabis component, may slow down the replication of the virus. Further study is necessary, but research suggests cannabis can assist HIV/AIDS therapies.
How Cannabis Benefits HIV and AIDS Patients
The number of HIV patients in Canada increased by almost ten percent since 2011, but given the legality of medical cannabis use in the country, patients can use it for some relief. Here’s a list of how cannabis can help manage HIV-related symptoms:
- Stimulates Appetite – Loss of appetite and body weight are common symptoms of HIV/AIDS. A 2005 survey conducted on 523 HIV-positive patients found that 27 percent (or 143 respondents) who used cannabis were better able to manage their symptoms, while 97 percent of those respondents experienced improvement in appetite. The study also found that cannabis increased caloric intake and fat consumption, helping patients gain weight.
- Alleviates Nausea – As HIV progresses, patients can experience additional bouts of nausea due to gastrointestinal issues, central nervous system disorders, or hepatorenal dysfunction. Cannabinoids and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) may be effective suppressors of nausea in HIV patients.
- Improves Mood – HIV patients are likely to experience anxiety and depression due to negative physiological, psychological, and social pressures. Both cannabis and dronabinol improve the mood of the patients by stimulating a “feel good” effect.
- Alleviates Chronic Pain – HIV patients can feel chronic pain in different, complex sources, including joints, nerves, and muscles. One Canadian study demonstrated that respondents given a standardized cannabis product (12.5 percent THC) in the form of flowers, concentrates, or edibles over one year experienced reduced chronic pain. Compared to pharmaceutical opiates, cannabis can provide safer, long-term pain relief.
- Reduce Peripheral Neuropathic Pain – HIV patients are more at risk of peripheral neuropathy. This complex and chronic condition is caused by the virus itself, certain medications, vitamin deficiency, or any complications/infections. Cannabinoids may provide relief to HIV patients suffering from peripheral neuropathic pain.
Healthcare professionals advise that patients with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, undergo treatment right away to manage the disease and prevent permanent damage to the immune system. If left untreated, HIV can increase the risk of chronic infection, destroying the immune cells and leaving the body prone to further complications (e.g. pneumonia, cancer, liver failure). Although there is still no definitive cure, treatments that may lessen its adverse effects are available.
For patients interested in cannabis as a possible additional treatment for HIV, call the Clinic Network Canada Inc. at 1-855-462-3646. Our medical staff works with each client’s doctor to establish a treatment plan to suit their needs.