Study Finds Marijuana May Stop The Spread Of HIV

A Louisiana State University study published last week in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, indicates that a daily regimen of THC may have a significant impact on the progression of HIV.

Huffington Post reports:

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.

“These findings reveal novel mechanisms that may potentially contribute to cannabinoid-mediated disease modulation,” Dr. Patricia Molina, the study’s lead author, wrote. The report goes on to explain that while HIV spreads by infecting and killing off immune cells, the monkeys that received the daily THC treatments maintained higher levels of healthy cells.

The High Times adds:

These findings are consistent with a 2011 study led by Dr. Molina that points toward monkeys being treated with THC experiencing an overall reduction in infection, as well as improved chances for survival.

At the time, these were unexpected results, clarifies Dr. Molina.

“When we started the study, we thought it was going to increase viral load, we thought it was going to decrease lymphocyte counts much more dramatically, and we did not see that. If anything, it looks like there might be some beneficial immunomodulation, particularly at the early stages of infection.”

For years, there has been much skepticism about the use of marijuana in patients with HIV/AIDS. This is mostly due to speculation that cannabinoids put constraints on the function of the immune system.

Yet, medical experts say they are now enthusiastic to learn more about how marijuana, specifically its effect on the CB2 receptor, can be used as a life saving treatment for those suffering with HIV/AIDS.