A group of researchers from Louisiana State University published a study last week in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses which suggests that cannabis/marijuana can help stop the progression of the AIDS/HIV disease, and its associated symptoms of chronic pain, nausea, fatigue, and more. The specific compound that halts the spread of HIV compounds into other healthy cells is none other than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or the principle psychoactive constituent in cannabis plants.
Millions of people suffer HIV/AIDS, but as if this weren’t enough, they often are ostracized from the community and treated with disdain, as artfully demonstrated in the latest blockbuster movie, The Dallas Buyers Club.
The research supporting this claim has only been conducted on primates thus far, but it is incredibly promising. AIDS causes an immunodeficiency syndrome which attacks your own immune system. Scientists treated a group of infected primates with as much as 0.64 mg/kg of THC per day for 17 months, and:
“Tissue from monkeys treated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) expressed fewer signs of HIV.”
Tissue samples were also taken from the gut, since this is a very important part of our immune response, accounting for up to 80% of our total immunity.
The study abstract reports:
“Our studies have demonstrated that chronic Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) administration results in a generalized attenuation of viral load and tissue inflammation in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected male rhesus macaques. Gut-associated lymphoid tissue is an important site for HIV replication and inflammation that can impact disease progression…Our results indicate that chronic THC administration modulated duodenal T cell populations, favored a pro-Th2 cytokine balance, and decreased intestinal apoptosis. These findings reveal novel mechanisms that may potentially contribute to cannabinoid-mediated disease modulation.”
“These findings reveal novel mechanisms that may potentially contribute to cannabinoid-mediated disease modulation,” Dr. Patricia Molina, the study’s lead author, wrote. The report goes on to explain that while HIV spreads by infecting and killing off immune cells, the monkeys that received the daily THC treatments maintained higher levels of healthy cells.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.