Medical Marijuana and HIV / AIDS

What Is AIDS / HIV?

HIV human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus  that causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive.  Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS is the end-stage condition for patients with HIV. This disease process leads to the breakdown of the immune system and ultimately ends in death. There are a variety of medical conditions to occur in patients with HIV/AIDS that decreases he natural immunity to opportunistic infections and cancerous growths.  Combined, there are called AIDS related illnesses. The spectrum of these diseases can be very irritating to seriously deadly.  

HIV attacks the human immune system by destroying T-cells in a patients blood.  The standard therapy for HIV is very toxic, similar to the the toxicity for cancer treatments. The mainstay of treatment is anti-retroviral drugs like lamivudine (3TC), zidovudine (AZT), and other protease inhibitors.  These drugs cause considerable nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue that lead to significant weight loss. This combination of health issues is called HIV/AIDS wasting syndrome, which is a significant factor in the death of many HIV/AIDS patients. due the the fact that the human body is rendered defenseless to infections and cancers that it can usually protect itself against.  Opportunistic infections that often impact HIV/AIDS patients are tuberculosis, cytomegalovirus, pneumocystis pneumonia, toxoplasmosis and Kaposi’s sarcoma.

HIV / AIDS patients are usually prescribed antiretroviral drugs to help defend the body and delay the AIDS onset.  Despite the very useful impact for the prolonged survival of hIV?AAIDS patients, the side effects are severely intolerable.  These side effects include, but limited to, severe nausea, anorexia, unbearable pain, vomiting, and neuropathic pain. The vast majority of patients use medical marijuana to help mitigate the side effect profile of these medications and to help with AIDS related symptoms.  

Medical Marijuana and HIV / AIDS Related Illness


Medical Marijuana is known to be very effective for the side effect profile of antiretroviral medications and the general HIV?AIDS symptoms.  While the use of Marinol has been approved for intractable nausea and vomiting, marijuana is widely known for its anti-emetic properties and pain control values.  

Medical marijuana is one the most efficacious remedies for wasting syndrome. Patients can become very weak and fatigued, as the precipitation of significant weight loss, nausea, and vomiting progresses.  Fortunately marijuana helps to maintain a healthy appetite, decrease nausea, and vomiting, and allows patients to absorb the necessary nutrients to help the body function and increase the bioavailability of the ingested antiretroviral drugs.  


Medical marijuana is already known to be very effective with helping to control pain, decrease nerve pain, as well as decrease the use of narcotics and NSAIDs.  This is significantly beneficial for he this populaiton, as they need all of the body’s functions to be at a higher level, so minimizing the negative impacts on he liver, kidneys, and heart is important.  


While most of the medical marijuana for AIDS research and documentation has confirmed its benefit for wasting syndrome, nausea, vomiting, and pain, it is also known to help other medical conditions within the HIV?AIDS spectrum of illness.  There is equivocal evidence that cannabis can assist patients who have been diagnosed with depression / anxiety, depression secondary to a medical condition, and constipation. When appropriately recommended, Medical Marijuana (cannabis) can significantly beneficial for the mental well-being, health, and strength of HIV/AIDS patients.   

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