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Study: Cannabis Exposure Associated With Improved Immunity In HIV Patients

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Cannabis Improved HIV Immunity

Petersburg, VA: Patients with HIV who test positive for past cannabis exposure possess significantly higher CD4+ and CD8+ counts than do those patients who test negative for the substance, according to data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. CD4+ and CD8+ cells are a subtype of white blood cells that assist in the immune process.

A team of investigators from Virginia State University and the University of Florida Center for AIDS/HIV Research assessed differences in the lymphocyte count among HIV patients whose urinalysis tested negative for THC and those who tested positive for THC.

Authors reported: "After adjusting for demographic and HIV-related covariates, THC-positive patients had significantly higher CD4+ and CD8+ counts than their THC-negative counterparts. ... The current findings are in line with previous research, reporting daily marijuana users have higher CD4+ cell counts and lower viral load than their non-using and infrequent using counterparts."

They concluded: "This preliminary study shows THC positive patients having better HIV-related immune levels than their negative counterparts, despite not being statistically different on various demographic HIV-related covariates. ... The current findings suggest a potentially beneficial role to marijuana, additional to symptom palliation."

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, "Confirmed marijuana use and lymphocyte count in black people living with HIV," appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.