Marijuana has been promoted as an effective treatment – even cure – for an array of maladies. Many of these claims remain unsubstantiated and anecdotal in nature. But now, a Louisiana State University study published in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses has brought some empirical evidence to the discussion.
Specifically, the study found that THC – an active ingredient in cannabis – administered daily over 17 months, helped cure monkeys infected with an animal form of the HIV virus. Scientists found that damage to immune tissue in the primates significantly decreased over the period of time that the THC was administered.
“These findings reveal novel mechanisms that may potentially contribute to cannabinoid-mediated disease modulation,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Patricia Molina, wrote.
Molina was at the head of similar research back in 2011. That study also found that infected monkeys treated with THC had a significantly better chance of surviving. In 2012 a report pointed to evidence that marijuana-like compounds can fight HIV also helped with late-stage AIDS patients.
The results of Dr. Molina’s latest study, however, were even more profound than she had imagined. “When we started the study, we thought [THC] was going to increase viral load [the amount of the HIV virus that is present in the gut],” Dr. Molina explained.
Instead, it did the opposite, “It adds to the picture and it builds a little bit more information around the potential mechanisms that might be playing a role in the modulation of the infection,” Molina continued.
Mason Tvert, the Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), chimed in, saying that Dr. Morina’s research is a step forward.
“There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the efficacy of marijuana in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions,” he tells The Daily Beast. “This is not the first time researchers have identified the benefits marijuana can provide to people with HIV.”
A 1999 study by The Institute of Medicine, similarly concluded that marijuana is a “promising treatment” for “nausea, appetite loss, pain, and anxiety.”
Tvert says that findings like these will only continue as more research on the plant is conducted. “Marijuana’s ability to stimulate appetite has proven to be a life-saver for patients suffering from HIV wasting syndrome, which can result in dangerous levels of weight loss,” Tvert explained. “Research like this will continue to come out, and it is only a matter of time before more states and our federal government stop blocking HIV patients from accessing this valuable medicine. Unfortunately, there are still many people who are very sick and do not have time to wait.”
(Article by M.B. David)
Original source of the article: http://politicalblindspot.com/study-finds-marijuana-stops-spread-hiv/