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Disease Overview

There are very few diseases that can cause the shock and dismay people have when they test positive for HIV/AIDS. Standing for human immunodeficiency virus, HIV is the virus that causes the onset of AIDS. HIV attacks the body’s CD4 cells. Over time, the virus multiplies and gradually destroys a vast number of these cells in our bodies.

Since CD4 cells are in charge of the body’s immune function, their reduction over time inhibits the capacity to fight diseases. Once the CDT count falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter, an individual acquires AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). With this condition, even the easiest of diseases for healthy individuals to combat becomes extremely difficult for to manage. In fact, many people who contract AIDS succumb to diseases such as malaria whose treatment is readily available.

Currently, 1.2 million people are living in the United States infected with HIV/AIDS. Sadly, more than 12 percent of this population are unaware they have the disease. As such, they cannot take any measures to prevent its spread to others. Additionally, the disease’s prevalence continues to increase each year.

Immune system organsTreatment Methods

Currently, there is no complete cure for HIV. Instead, medical practitioners focus on control and management of the disease. With proper treatment they can prevent the virus from progressing to AIDS. To inhibit the virus’ adverse effects on the body, patients must follow a strict regimen of antiretroviral drugs. Antiretroviral therapy is quite effective in the management of the AIDS virus. Unfortunately, however, the medication causes adverse effects such as vomiting, nausea, fatigue, weak bones and cardiovascular disease. It also causes the tissues of the muscles to break down, leading to an HIV-positive individual’s appearance of wasting away. Additionally, patients suffer from decreased appetite and extensive weight loss.

Marijuana’s effects on the HIV virus

HIV’s effects on the quality of life of an afflicted individual may cause living to be undesirable and extremely uncomfortable for some HIV-positive people. However, medical marijuana can reduce many of the painful symptoms of HIV. Additionally, cannabis can also inhibit further spread of the disease.

In one study, researchers discovered that the activation cannabinoid receptor-2 reduced the effect of HIV infection on CD4+ T cells. Marijuana is a rich source of cannabinoids, which are known to activate this receptor in the central nervous system. As such, the intake of medical marijuana each day can reduce the damage the virus causes on CD4 + T cells. This reduces the impact of the disease and stops it from causing extensive damage to our immunity.

Researchers conducting another study also observed that cannabinoids produced an increased appetite in HIV positive individuals. The participants in the experiment also reported significant decreases in muscle pain, anxiety, and nausea. This showed that the medication could be used hand in hand with antiretroviral therapy to reduce the adverse effects of ARVs. Additionally, scientists have discovered that HIV-positive individuals who smoke marijuana experience reduced pain associated with HIV compared to their counterparts who did not ingest cannabis. In one study, scientists found that the levels of pain decreased substantially – by 34 percent for normal levels of pain and by 72 percent for chronic pain.

It is clear that medical marijuana can help HIV-positive individuals cope with the effects of the disease effectively.

If you have any further questions about medical marijuana, we encourage you to contact us.