HIV/AIDS treatment has come a long way over the last decade or so. While modern therapy allows those with HIV/AIDS to live a long and mostly healthy life, the side effects of the treatment can be challenging to deal with. This is where medicinal cannabis comes in. A number of studies show that medical cannabis can improve many HIV/AIDS-related symptoms, including anorexia, weight loss, severe nausea and more. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found 97 percent of HIV patients reported improved appetite with medical cannabis treatment, while 94 percent experienced reduced muscle pain and 93 percent reported improvements to both nausea and anxiety.
Cannabis Use in HIV for Pain and Other Medical Symptoms
Despite the major benefits of antiretroviral therapy on survival during HIV infection, there is an increasing need to manage symptoms and side effects during long-term drug therapy. Cannabis has been reported anecdotally as being beneficial for a number of common symptoms and complications in HIV infections, for example, poor appetite and neuropathy. This study aimed to investigate symptom management with cannabis. Following Ethics Committee approval, HIV-positive individuals attending a large clinic were recruited into an anonymous cross-sectional questionnaire study. Up to one-third (27%, 143/523) reported using cannabis for treating symptoms. Patients reported improved appetite (97%), muscle pain (94%), nausea (93%), anxiety (93%), nerve pain (90%), depression (86%), and paresthesia (85%). Many cannabis users (47%) reported associated memory deterioration. Symptom control using cannabis is widespread in HIV outpatients. A large number of patients reported that cannabis improved symptom control.