MMJ Medical Marijuana vs HIV and AIDS

At the time when HIV/AIDS broke out in the early 1980s, America was in the middle of a "war on drugs" campaign that included arresting people for marijuana possession. Research was suppressed on the medical benefits of cannabis until the 1990s when the drug began to be embraced by medical professionals as a treatment for certain health disorders, including HIV/AIDS. Today cannabis helps these patients in multiple ways as described below.
In 1999, the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine released a report commissioned by the White House that stated nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety can each be treated with marijuana. Each of these symptoms is also related to HIV/AIDS. People with the disease require more calories to maintain their weight, so marijuana also helps restore appetite to prevent weight loss. One of the best ways cannabis helps treat AIDS is by giving patients the munchies so that they are motivated to maintain their weight. 

HIV/AIDS occurs in three stages, with the final stage having the most accelerated weight loss. This stage can be accompanied by extreme fatigue, fever, diarrhea, pneumonia and depression. There is no question that cannabis at least helps. 

Another reason HIV/AIDS patients use marijuana is because it is effective at reducing pain, nausea and vomiting. These problems tend to be side effects from antiretroviral therapy (ART), which many patients abandon in favor of cannabis. The medical journal Neurology published a study in February 2007 that suggested marijuana effectively reduced chronic pain in patients with little side effects. Over the past decades, many myths about marijuana side effects, such as it causes cancer, have been debunked through credible research. 

At one time some medical experts feared that cannabis damages the immune system, but a study at San Francisco General Hospital found the opposite, that marijuana may help the immune system. The study observed 50 patients with AIDS that suffered severe foot pain due to the disease or the conventional medication they took for it. The group was split into 25 marijuana smokers and 25 placebo users. For five days they ranked their pain on a scale of 1 to 100. In the pot group, 13 of the 25 patients reported a reduction of pain by at least 30 percent, whereas only 6 of the 25 placebo users experienced such pain reduction. 

The top HIV/AIDS organizations, such as the American Academy of HIV Medicine, support the idea of seriously ill patients having access to medical marijuana. The medical industry is beginning to accept that conventional medicine may even make patients feel worse, which is partly why marijuana is finally being taken seriously again as a medicine.  

A study at Louisiana State University points to daily cannabis intake as having an impact of slowing down HIV. Researchers gave monkeys daily doses of THC over a 17-month period. The result of the study was reduced tissue damage in the stomach, where HIV infections are common. The findings are similar to a previous 2011 study, also led by Dr. Patricia Molina, that THC helps reduce the infection. Medical experts now believe that cannabis helps treat AIDS and can even save lives. 

Furthermore, a 2012 study published in the medical journal PLoS One points to cannabinoid drugs such as marijuana being defenders of the body and fighting HIV even in late stages. The study found that cannabinoid receptors could block the spread of HIV throughout the body. The idea that cannabis helps treat AIDS is no longer a pipe dream: it's reality.

via: the Medical Marijuana Association

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