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Cannabis Use May Maintain AIDS / HIV Patients Cognitive Function

Marijuana not only helps1 people with AIDS combat nausea, enhance their appetite, alleviate their muscle spasms, chronic fatigue and pain, but it has been discovered in a research study2 that the chemical THC can potentially slow the down the progression of mental decline which can occur up to 50% of patients.

Despite the typical stereotype that the average weed smoker isn’t quite the sharpest mind in room, this new study points that chemicals found in the Cannabis plant may in fact help in maintaining a good cognitive function, for HIV patients at the very least.

HIV Cognitive Functions & Chronic Inflammation

The decrease of cognitive functions may happen partly because of the chronic inflammation occurring in the brain of the HIV patients, an inflammation caused mainly due to the immune system being stimulated constantly to fight off this disease.

Cannabis acts as an anti-inflammatory agent

It has been found that compounds in the Cannabis plant are able to act as anti-inflammatory agents by decreasing the number of of monocityes (inflammatory white blood cells) and lowering the number of proteins they release. Decreasing these cells count might slow down, perhaps even stop, the inflammatory process and in doing so it can help in maintaining for a longer period time a good cognitive function.

In the study3 lead by Norbert Kaminski, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University, the HIV patients who did not use Marijuana had a very high level of inflammatory cells compared to those who used it. Those that smoked Marijuana had their levels much lower, very close to the ones of a person not infected with HIV.

hiv marijuana cure

The investigations will continue on how these cells interact and cause inflammation, especially in the brain. Future discoveries on this subject could have connections to other diseases related to the brain such as Parkinson’s and Alheimer’s, as the very same type of inflammatory cells are involved.

Studying more about this type of interaction will hopefully help in creating new therapeutic agents for helping HIV patients to maintain their cognitive function.

Because of the use of antiretroviral drugs, HIV patients can live much longer, however the drawback is that as they live longer they become in time more prone to develop neurocognitive disorders which carry an association with chronic inflammation in the brain. In order to block or at least slow down the rate in which the cognitive function declines, more work is required to identify the precise molecules in Cannabis responsible for this effect.

Despite these great findings, the research does have certain limitation, as they did not isolate the factors of how often the patients in the study were using Marijuana and its potency, nor how far their HIV have progressed.

Hopefully as modern science advances there will be found more alternatives which may help at the very least in coping with this disease, and preventing other complications such as degeneration of cognitive functions. Perhaps one day, even a cure will be made public, even though that will mean the loss of a market of billion dollars recurring from the same patients each month. If you have want to discuss this topic I invite you in the comments area below.




3 Original Study DOI: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000001704

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