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Medical Marijuana and HIV/AIDS


AIDS is a chronic, life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Medical Marijuana and HIV/AIDS

According to the World Health Organization, over 500,000 Americans have died from HIV/AIDS and over one million US citizens are living with the disease. It is a chronic, life-threatening condition that is one of the most commonly cited reasons cannabis patients get medical marijuana. In fact, each medical marijuana state includes HIV/AIDS as a qualifying medical condition.

Patients living with HIV typically take antiretroviral drugs to prolong the onset of AIDS. But side effects of antiretroviral therapy—which include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and severe pain in the nerve endings (polyneuropathies)—are often unbearable. Other side effects of HIV/AIDS include wasting syndrome or cachexia and intractable pain. Many patients use medical marijuana to help manage their symptoms. According to 2005 study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes[1], more than 60% of HIV patients use cannabis as a medicine.

Medical Marijuana is widely recognized as an effective treatment for symptoms of HIV/AIDS as well as the side effects related to the antiretroviral therapies that constitute the first line of treatment for HIV/AIDS. Its value as an anti-emetic (stops vomiting) and analgesic (relieves pain) has been proven in numerous studies and has been recognized by several government-sponsored reviews.

For example, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM)[2],"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."

Columbia University published clinical trial data in 2007[3] reporting that HIV/AIDS patients who inhaled cannabis four times daily experienced "substantial ... increases in food intake ... with little evidence of discomfort and no impairment of cognitive performance." They concluded, "Smoked marijuana ... has a clear medical benefit in HIV-positive [subjects]."

In 2008, researchers at the University of California at San Diego[4] concluded that cannabis “significantly reduced neuropathic pain intensity in HIV-associated … polyneuropathy compared to placebo, when added to stable concomitant analgesics. … Mood disturbance, physical disability, and quality of life all improved significantly during study treatment.  … Our findings suggest that cannabinoid therapy may be an effective option for pain relief in patients with medically intractable pain due to HIV.”

If you suffer from HIV/AIDS and/or the side effects from HIV/AIDs treatments and are looking to find relief through medical marijuana, can help. We can connect you with hundreds of quality marijuana doctors across the country in all legal marijuana states and ensure you are in compliance with your state laws. Book an appointment today and let us help improve your quality of life!


[1] de Jong et al. 2005. Marijuana use and its association with adherence to antiretroviral therapy among HIV-infected persons with moderate to severe nausea. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 38: 43-46.

[2] J. Joy et al. 1999. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Washington, DC: National Academy Press

[3] "Dronabinol and Marijuana in HIV-Positive Marijuana Smokers: Caloric Intake, Mood, and Sleep," Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, Aug. 15, 2007

[4] Ellis et al. 2008. Smoked Medicinal Cannabis for Neuropathic Pain in HIV: A Randomized, Crossover Clinical Trial. Neuropsychopharmacology. (2009) 34, 672–680.


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