Breaking News: Cannabis Research Study Suggests Medical Marijuana Can Slow Spreading of HIV
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 02/17/2014 in Medical Marijuana Studies
Although the United States government does not condone (human-based) scientific research on marijuana due to its drug classification as a Schedule I substance – the most tightly restricted category of classifications, reserved only for drugs that have no accepted medicinal value – there has been an accumulation of substantial evidence portraying just how beneficial medical marijuana can be for treating a multitude of diseases that fluctuate from multiple sclerosis to Alzheimer’s. However, medical marijuana has now become one of several ingredients that medical researchers are taking a look at in order to determine a more in-depth approach to helping cease any further spread of the HIV infection.
While I’m pretty sure most of our readers – at least to a certain extent – are medical marijuana patients who are completely aware of the many benefits this plant offers as a medicine, let me take a second to inform those who are not. Medical marijuana is currently utilized (via capsule form) in alternative medicine as an appetite stimulant, an antiemetic (a treatment effective against nausea and vomiting), an antispasmodic (a treatment utilized for smooth muscle contractions) and even as an analgesic to help treat chronic and non-cancerous pain that was caused by traditional methods such as chemotherapy. Additionally, medical marijuana has been recognized as an effective facilitator in providing aid for the treatment of symptoms experienced by AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) convalescents.
Published this week in the Aids Research and Human Retroviruses medical journal, a story was circulated that was centered on a study conducted by Dr. Patricia E. Molina and her team at Louisiana State University. The seventeen-month inquiry itself was a fairly straightforward study. For about 517 days, Dr. Molina and her team of LSU researchers would administer a high concentration of THC to a male rhesus monkey aged between four and six) who tested RIV-positive. RIV is an animal model virus found in chimpanzees that near-replicates the human condition of HIV. Results were remarkable, as an examination of the monkey’s intestinal tissues before and after their “chronic” exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) would reveal a considerable decrease in any damage that occurred in the stomach’s immune tissues.
Results also portrayed a measurable increase in the monkey’s number of customary cells, referring to the cells that have not been affected by a retrovirus’s ability to carry out reverse transcriptase. Enzyme reverse transcriptase – commonly referred to as simply “RT” – is a necessary process for a retrovirus to carry out the replication of bodily cells. As a condition that is viewed similar to HIV, this animal model virus carries single-stranded RNA as its genetic material instead of the double-stranded (double helix) DNA that human cells carry.
(Above: Exceptional research conducted at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center suggests daily cannabis use could slow the spread of HIV. However, the bad news is that the experiment was conducted on rhesus monkeys, so it’s not entirely clear if this study would completely apply towards humans. Nonetheless, this is extremely promising research. HIV and AIDS patients have already raced to medical cannabis for help with appetite enhancement.)
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the principal psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant. As the primary psychoactive component, THC produces a process in the stomach that is known as microbial translocation. Although the name may sound like a tongue-twister, microbial translocation isn’t as complicated as it may appear on paper. This process is recognized as one of the earliest effects that the virus initiates, typically resulting in the rapid spreading of this virus, while killing off a significant part of bodily cells in the stomach and intestine. Microbial translocation single-handedly damages the stomach in such a way that it allows the virus to leak through the cell walls of the intestines and into a patient’s bloodstream.
As more and more research on the benefits of marijuana unfolds, a brief look back on past research that has showed this plant playing an integral part in providing therapeutic benefits. In one case, scientists at San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) also conducted research that suggested compounds found in marijuana may be effective in fighting some aggressive cancers. In another case, in 2012 there was a team of US researchers who published a study that found evidence of marijuana-like compounds being effective at combating HIV in late-stage AIDS patients.